Homebound: Who We Are

Homebound 6Homebound: Who We Are is my knitted artwork currently on show at Glasgow's Tramway Arts Centre. Using site-specific materials I have created a piece asking how we understand ourselves, how we become who we are, and how big a part gender & geography play.

I was inspired to make this piece by my own journey as a knitter, as a woman, and as an immigrant. I am myself but I am also previous generations of ordinary women crafters. My mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother and my great-great-grandmother are all represented by this piece.

Homebound 1

It was important to me that I only used yarn I already owned and which was tied to specific geographical areas. I used yarn from a farm just a few miles from where my great-great-grandmother lived. I used yarn from the Faroe Islands because my paternal grandmother is Faroese. I used yarn spun locally to Glasgow because I live here now.

I used undyed Aberdeenshire yarn for the hand. I have family living in Aberdeenshire now and I wanted to include them in the piece.

The hand is very significant to me - and my partner helped me construct the hand, so he is included in this piece too - as it is the giver and holder of identity. Not only does it hold all the strands together but the strands also spring from the hand. As a crafter I make things with my hands; my hands turn ideas in my head into reality. People much cleverer than I would be able to tell you about the notion of creation. The hand holds that concept for me.

Homebound 5As you can see, photos are included. I have found photos of all five generations.

As I was looking through the photo albums I was struck by how gender-segregated my family seemed. The women were all pictured holding babies or wearing nice dresses or cooking. The men were all pictured sitting at tables drinking beers or playing football or standing next to cars. I rarely found pictures of women and men together - except wedding photos or pictures of couples dancing.

I found several photos of both women and men wearing knitwear. I could only find two photos of anyone knitting. One of them was of me.

Finally, the title. I chose Homebound because while it means two mutually exclusive things (travelling//constriction) my project suggests there is an additional meaning lurking within the word, a meaning linked to the notion of creating. Home-bound – to bind or to tie or to make within the home.

I am really excited about this piece and I want to thank the people behind Loop: Garterstitch100 for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their amazing event. It has been an incredible journey for everyone concerned - me included.