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Releasing the Tension: Making Meaning Through Mindful Knitting

Turney, J (2007) Releasing the Tension: Making Meaning Through Mindful Knitting. In: New Craft - Future Voices, University of Dundee: Conference proceedings.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
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Since 2000, a wealth of texts relating to knitting as a spiritual or contemplative practice have been published. Many of these texts centralise the ways in which knitting has significantly contributed to a sense of well-being, of over-coming difficulty, grief, loss and illness. The over-riding conclusion appears to extol knitting as a therapeutic, contemplative practice, which creates for or engages the maker with a clear mental space that transcends the failure of the body and the general pressures of the world. In essence, knitting can save your soul, your body, and help you to heal yourself.

The move away from knitting as a functional practice to one of spiritual elevation, highlights new approaches to domestic craft activity. Although these crafts have a long historical association with disability and therapeutic recovery, this has rarely been celebrated within popular or academic investigation. The intention of this paper is to outline the ways in which everyday creative practices can act as a form of self-help, of addressing physical and mental well-being within a framework of 'new age' thinking, whilst adhering to cultural norms emanating from theories of Individualism. Can we therefore state that it is possible to 'knit ourselves better'?

Focussing on the practice of amateur knitters and drawing from oral history research, studies in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and cogitative and behavioural therapy, as well as populist knitting texts, the paper highlights the socio-economic climate from which this new celebratory thinking emerges, questioning the meaning of making in the 21st century. The purpose therefore of this study, is to provide an inter-disciplinary critical framework for the analysis of knitting that is not reliant on aesthetics, the object's use value, financial worth or artistic merit, but on the less tangible and subjective values of well-being, emotion and self-expression.

Divisions: Bath School of Art and Design
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2012 04:45
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2014 09:12
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/245
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