Friends know me for being a bit obsessed with knitting. They are no doubt amazed that I haven’t written a piece about it till now! For many people knitting is seen as an old lady sort of thing to do. Take it from me there are men that knit and loads of women young and old. Knitters develop a skill that is both creative and useful and many use its repetitive, meditative action to focus and keep calm. Some have even used this craft to help restore a serious health condition. Kate Davies, a really successful knitting designer and blogger, writes about how rewarding knitting has been for her after having a stroke. Knitting taught her post-stroke hand to recover its function and be creative.
When someone practices the skill of art: painting, sculpture or photography, they are valued and able to show in an art gallery but the craft skills: knitting, embroidery, weaving or patchwork are often less valued, particularly in this country. Both sectors are creative, need technical skill, and time to perfect their skill but a painting can be worth hundreds of pounds and a beautifully crafted jumper comes much cheaper. The added advantage of a craft like knitting is that it is useful. A jumper can be both beautiful and can keep you warm. Grayson Perry, well known artist has been able to bust the boundary between arts and crafts. He often uses huge pots and tapestry to be the basis of his art but I suppose he is primarily using these to make a visual statement. I have got pictures on my walls but nowadays I increasingly want my art to also be useful, a beautiful knife, plate or piece of knitwear and a big part of the pleasure I get from the knitting is that I can make it myself.