Angela Eames/story 2

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Stories written in relation to earlier works

Wool Series

Wool-winding
Whilst she had been at art school in Corsham, knitting had been a derogatory term, used to describe an approach to painting which was considered to be inane, mindless, even therapeutic. If work demonstrated an unthinking approach then the perpetrator was deemed to be guilty of knitting. Why malign knitting? Was the idiom being used to signify something more disquieting? She wondered for the first time, whether the activity of painting was a male preserve. It had never occurred to her before that this might be the case. She could accept that the acquisition of knitting skills was to some degree prescriptive but this was true of stretcher-making, colour theory and knowledge of material processes in general. Surely what was compelling about the whole business of thinking and doing was the fact that one might possibly make some contribution to an inclusive human society, acknowledging and embracing gender issues. A tall order but one she felt worth striving for. She had learned to knit when she was five years old but she had also begun to learn how to manipulate wood, fabric, mud and other wonderful stuff. It was probably at the same time that she started to draw or at least to manipulate a pencil on paper. She remembered that she had often stood with arms outstretched, palms facing inwards, supporting a hank of wool, whilst her mother wound balls of wool. Wool-winding became a ritualistic event prior to the knitting of a new jumper or cardigan. The handmade jumper was a unique object. Many years later, she purchased a second-hand knitting machine and a wool winder. This simple mechanical device enabled wool to be wound, so that the yarn could be drawn up from the centre of the ball, threaded through the thin overhanging wires at the back of the machine and fed down to the needle bed. It occurred to her that she had probably been more fascinated by wool-winding than by the knitting process itself. Numerous intervening years of drawing might have contributed to this supposition. She had always had the feeling that when one made a mark on paper with a pencil, one was actually adding physical matter to that surface. The tracery of intersecting or rather overlaid graphite lines on paper was rather like a kind of flattened out spaghetti junction - in fact an aerial view. Lines passed over other lines, three dimensions were compressed to two dimensions. A ball of wool on the other hand, was a truly three dimensional line drawing. Jumpers are made from shaped, sheets of woollen line. The line itself has three-dimensionality. Fancy that, she thought, we all wear drawings. How could she explore the computing environment and wind her balls of wool? Further, would she be able to wind truly four dimensional balls of wool and if so, what would they be and what would they look like? This became her challenge and her obsession. She surmised that her early experiences of knitting had been fruitful as well as formative.


Fig 1

Figs 1 and 2 - Pearl
digital print, 24insx12ins

Copyright © 2004 A Eames

Fig 2

Figs 1 and 2 - Plastic
digital print, 24insx12ins

Copyright © 2004 A Eames

Fig 3

Figs 1 and 2 - Lace
digital print, 24insx12ins

Copyright © 2004 A Eames

Fig 4

Figs 1 and 2 - Aluminium
digital print, 24insx12ins

Copyright © 2004 A Eames

Fig 5

Figs 1 and 2 - Rubber
digital print, 24insx12ins

Copyright © 2004 A Eames

Fig 6

Figs 1 and 2 - Snakeskin
digital print, 24insx12ins

Copyright © 2004 A Eames

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