Thursday, 19 February 2009


If you find Love completely Awesome, then you'll love our show 'Love is Awesome' hosted by our very own Felicity Ford, at no.10 Gun Street, Reading this month.
Here is Felix, finishing a jumper, next to her hand made posters.
Our anti - valentine show opened on February 14th with a shower of cake, bubbles, rubber stamps and love. Busy fingers and ears made Valentines cards, wrote songs, chatted and listened to Felix's sound pieces, inside cosy cocoons of knitted headphones - knitted with yarn from the Analogue Amnesty.  Her knitted speakers where playing bird song on what felt like the first day of spring. Here is Felix's photo of her speakers dangling and chirping in the green stairwell.
My knitted relics are in one of the front rooms.
Relics only seem to be kept if the love is awesome.  I was struck by the need to knit relics after seeing a stone carving at St Magnus's Cathedral in Orkney.
 A stone hour glass was keeping time, while a big stone hand came out of the sky holding a stone crown. The skull and cross bones was watching a lady praying. Perhaps if she prayed for long enough she would be crowned before she died. Or the hand was looking after the crown for the skull who used to wear it.  Was she faced with death, talking to ancestors, or waiting for someone to be delivered come home from sea. With many questions about the piece, I decieded to explore it with knitting.
Knitting for me is about time. It takes time, it defines a time, it is used as a meditation to process what is going on at the time. 
When I look at my knitting, I can usually remember, which train I was on, who was driving the car, what film I was watching, why I was ill, or what opportunities were on the horizon at the time the piece was made.
I started knitting relics, in Herdwick, which is my favourite yarn from the Lake district. It is has friendly roughness and looks like the local stone the glaciers pushed around there thousands of years ago.
 Making a giant glove for the hand was re-assuring. It waved big, pointed at things, took my hand, showed me the way and aided my gesticulation . 
Crowning myself in knitting was fantastic. I stormed the streets and got what I wanted! 
The yarn was so strong the hourglass managed to stand up on it's own, with no support. 

I did not know where to start with making the skull, but it soon became an absent friend, who is obviously not forgotten.
The skull and the crown began to have an interesting relationship. I loved holding the skull under my arm and scowling with a crown on my head - that's quite a powerful look. 
Then I arranged the crown and the scull on the mat and wondered whether the skull ate a crowned queen or the crown turned the entire scene into stone. I wondered that the crown might belong to the most feared woman known to the gods, Medusa, daughter of Zeus, with hair made of snakes, who with one look, turned everyone to stone before they had finished eating their sandwiches. 

I called my piece 'Relics of an Awesome picnic'. You can never repeat the weather, mood, company, taste and ambiance of a picnic.  You know love is awesome when you find yourself at a beautiful picnic, and bound by the universe to remember the time you had- because it seems to end so quickly- which was why I made a half eaten sandwich. These are relics of an awesome picnic, always remembered where only the love lasts for ever; which I think is awesome.