Knitted Textile banner | 3m x 16m (approx) | machine knitted cotton and acrylic
PART OF THE CRUSADER MILL COLLECTION
A large machine knitted textile made from left-over yarns from a local knit factory, depicting a close-up digital pattern of knitted stitches. The pieces have been knitted on a hacked domestic machine (Brother KH 950i). The light blue background and flowing length suggest a waterfall, which is intended to be installed at a great height, snaking onto the floor. The work was created with yarns left by Unique Knitwear Ltd, a local knitwear manufacturer displaced by the sale and redevelopment of Crusader Mill. As a result, they were forced to downsize, scrapping machines and throwing away many hundres of cones of yarn.
A film of the Unique Knitwear factory moving it’s machines can be seen here - 'SOCIAL FABRIC'
Manchester is going through a shift as housing developers buy up mills, displacing existing industries. This forces manufacturers to relocate - reshape. At the same time, these factories have been slow to adapt while the industry has changed around them – department store buyers close, online fashion takes over, competition with Asian production. The knitwear industry in the UK must compete with cheaper labour abroad, but also must increasingly faces competition for city centre production space. Land is more valuable to developers, who are happy to fetishise the industrial heritage of a building (attractive to buyers) whilst displacing present day textile production. This displacement has knock on effects, as factories go under, or downsize in order to survive the move. New, these yarns would have been worth a lot new, but in the rush to relocate, space is at a premium.
July 2019 - 'Design Revolutions: Radical Responses' - International Association of Societies of Design Research conference 2019, Manchester School of Art, Manchester, UK