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A knitting and listening workshop with Felicity Ford AKA KNITSONIK
March 10, 2018 @ 10:30 am - 1:30 pm

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March 10, 2018
10:30 am - 1:30 pm
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The Museum of English Rural Life
The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road
Reading, Berkshire RG1 5EX United Kingdom
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A close-up of smocking stitch on a smock from the MERL collection

What to expect: This workshop speaks to the farmers’ smocks in the collection of the MERL. Participants will work a small square of smocking stitch in Herdwick wool yarn grown on Fornside Farm in the Lake District. Thoughts on the wool, its texture, and its relationship to the working Lakeland landscape will be recorded along with the very quiet sounds of knitting. A half-hour long interview with Pam Hall – the shepherd of the flock from which the yarn comes – will play during the workshop.

Skill level: participants must know how to follow a pattern and be comfortable with knitting textured stitches.

Materials: 100% wool Aran weight yarn will be supplied along with bamboo double-pointed needles; if you prefer to work with different needles, please feel free to bring your own.

Number of places: 8

About the ‘Knit a song of…’ workshops

This workshop and the other Knit a Song of… workshops have been devised by local knitwear designer and sound artist Felicity Ford. Come to all four, or just to one; in each session, you are warmly invited to explore the dual creative processes of knitting and listening that underpin Felicity’s KNITSONIK (knitting + sounds) practice. In each workshop, a specially selected yarn and a related set of sound recordings are used together. Small knitting projects materially engage with textiles produced by working agricultural landscapes, while sounds foreground the textures, animals, people and places that lie behind those textiles. Through interconnected practices of knitting and listening, objects from the MERL collection will be contemplated: sheep bells, shepherd smocks, Shetland knitting and UK silk production. Short recordings made at the end of each session will document thoughts and experiences so that the sounds of the knitters who participate in these workshops can be woven into a final sound piece, Knit A Song of Stitches.

The workshops and their accompanying audio are part of a larger endeavour by Felicity Ford entitled ‘Exploring Yarns and Sheep-Related Artefacts through Knitting and Sound.’ This has been commissioned by the MERL for the project Making, Using and Enjoying: The Museum of the Intangible. The project is funded by the Arts Council England (ACE) Designation Development Fund.

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