Cast-offs at ICCA

I am excited to share a new project that has been in the works for a few months now. Cast-offs is a site-specific installation of hand knitting that I have conceived for the grounds of the Inverness County Centre for the Arts (ICCA) in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia for the exhibition Interlacing Conversations August 30 to September 20, 2015.

Interlacing Conversations: Traditional and Contemporary Fibre Arts explores intersections of traditional and experimental fibre arts. The exhibition celebrates projects made possible through collaboration and exchange across geographical and cultural distances.

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This project will be composed of more than fifty hand-knit, flat wool ”drawings” of hats, socks, long underwear and mittens. These will then be flown from poles set into the landscape surrounding the Inverness County Centre for the Arts. Knitters in Cape Breton and Alberta will lend their hands and ingenuity to the creation of individual pieces that will contribute to a riot of colour on the wind.

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One of the most challenging aspects of the project – apart from its scale – is coming up with legible patterns for my team of knitters. I have knit for years but will admit the task seemed rather daunting at first. After reminding myself that the pieces do not actually have to fit anyone (They are all one and a half to two times adult scale.) the process became a little easier. Add to this a quickly approaching exhibition deadline – yes we are opening at the end of August?! – and things snapped into focus pretty quickly.

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At once humorous and poetic (were these blown from the laundry line or off someone’s back?) this work strives to evoke a sense of whimsy and fragility against the backdrop of a dramatic and ever-changing landscape. These works will fray, fade and even tear away from their moorings providing a material metaphor for perseverance and ultimately our own mortality in a landscape much older than ourselves. Cast-offs is a companion piece to Air over land which will also be exhibited for Interlacing Conversations.

Knitting in earnest begins this weekend as I share the knitting patterns with knitters in both provinces. (Thanks for your patience everyone!) Anyone who may be interested in contributing email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you more information.

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I will post more about the Interlacing Conversations at the Inverness County Centre for the arts soon but for now I have knitting patterns to proof read!

30. June 2015 by Mackenzie Kelly-Frère
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