The Knitty Gritty

Now That I have finally managed to narrow down what it is about Cancer’s and Tumour’s that I would like to focus on, it’s probably a good idea to start making something.

I can knit, sure, but that doesn’t make me some sort of professional knitter. For the kind of work that I want to be doing, I need shapes, 3D knitted shapes, and by the standards that I am currently working at then I have a long way to go. I think the answer to this dilemma is to crochet rather than knit. By doing this I will be able to create 3D shapes rather than 2D knitted shapes, this will just take some practise.

With the colours I will be using bright and warming colours like I’ve previously mentioned. I plan to make these shapes a reasonable size; big enough to hold in both hands and get to know it well, feel and smell and play around with it, but not too big so that it becomes over-powering and intimidating. I plan to be working with the material I have found by looking under the microscope, mostly focussing on Cancer Cells. The image I have found that has inspired me the most, both in shape and in colour is the one below.


This is a microscopic photograph of a cancerous cell. I find it ever so intriguing and aesthetically beautiful, the shape reminds me almost of a toy, more specifically a dog toy. Now then, a toy is something to enjoy. I’m not saying that I want to make tumour toys, but its the impression that this image gives off without having prior knowledge isn’t something intimidating for frightening. After a little while I began to try to design how I would begin to use wool to make this cancer cell into something more comforting. Using watercolour in my sketchbook I very roughly and quickly sketched out how I imagined this knitted tumour to come out like. I added notes beside it to get a better understanding as to how I could use the material in different ways to create this shape.


As you can see I want the orange and blue to fade into each other as the shape begins to thin out in the middle. When doing this with wool it would be a case of gradually introducing the other colour when it is time to do so. On the blue area, there are orange spots covering the surface area. These spots are growths that come off of the surface area, and these would be made separately to the main body and then added afterwards. To make these shapes I plan to crochet small flower like shapes, which I will record later on. By using crochet to make the main body shape, I will have to be extremely conscious of how I work with the wool, how often I increase the stitch in order to create a well-rounded shape and then be able to decrease the stitch in a similar and consistent way in order to then begin to make the other spherical shape. By being conscious of how I work the wool and my stitch techniques I will get a better chance of creating a symmetrical shape like the cell from the microscope. The mock-up on the other side of the page next to the blue and orange one is another image of a cancer cell. This one is slightly different to the other as it is in two sections, joint together by what looks like stands. This one appealed to me as it offered lots of room for experiment when working with wool. The colours I would be using are again lovely and calming, with the main body having a mix of pastel yellow and orange, with blue lumps (similar to that last one) and the strands that are connecting each body would also be blue. Something else that is rather interesting about this cell is that from the main body, there are also excess parts of matter that seem to connect the cell to something else, another surface. It almost looks like rope that is pulling the cell apart, or just keeping in strained to the ‘ground’. I find this pretty interesting as like I said before there is a lot of room there for experiment with using my materials. This then allows me to bring in some of those questions that Amelia and Martyn asked me in my tutorial. The main one of these would be ‘where’. Where would I see this piece of work going? If I were to place this piece in an exhibition environment, there is potential there to experiment with placing and composition, for example if this were to be on a plinth, I could have the strands that connect the main body to another surface coming away from the plinth and then travelling down the side of it too. However if this piece were to be elsewhere, for example if it were able to be picked up and moved and played around with, these parts would be loose and therefore dangling about, this could have two effects, 1) It would make the piece more interactive and the viewer would be getting a very personal experience with it as they are able to get up close and personal with it. 2) It could be rather inconvenient having loose bits that are floating around, there is potential for the cell to be ruined. This is all just brain food that I am slowly eating away at, maybe I am yet again getting a little too ahead of myself, and maybe I should actually get making and see if any of these things are possible.


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