This thesis explores, broadly, contemporary enthusiasm for craft, making and its geographies. It engages with knitting and the spaces that the practices, politics and skills of this particular form of vernacular creativity play out. Politically, it is interested with knitting as being taken for granted and how this is intimately related to its complex geographies of domesticity and its relating of public and private spaces. Methodologically, it engages with how to research ‘making’. Using feminist, participatory and embodied geographies, the thesis explores ways of researching making, the role of researcher skill and enthusiasm in researching amateur creativity, and the ways that exploring craft and knitting involves particular forms of storytelling. The empirical research for the thesis is based in the UK, principally in London and the North West of England. The thesis develops its concerns across three core empirical chapters. Firstly, it explores knitting festivals and events where craft consumption takes place. This section explores the affective atmospheres of knitting festivals, their spaces, practices and the people who attend them. It engages with broader classed and gendered geographies of consuming differently or ethically. The second empirical chapter explores knitting groups and engages critically with contemporary celebrations of making as connecting. Through various case studies it explores what it means to make together, examining knitting groups as spaces of care, friendship and therapy. It also explores the value of making alone and introversion in the context of a contemporary buzz around making and communities. The final empirical chapter explores yarnbombing as an urban intervention and knitting as activism. It asks questions about gender, craft labour and the material of producing this knitted street. These chapters represent a critical engagement with making and particularly knitting and its collaborative, interventionist and alternative geographies. The thesis concludes by sketching out the ‘knitted geographies’ of craft, creativity and materiality that sustain enthusiasms for making within communities and spaces.
|Award date||1 Jun 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|