Thursday, 31 December 2015

Full of Beans for 2016?

In the last days of 2015 I finally made a token part of what was supposed to  be this year's grand project. Honour is somewhat asuaged if not completely satisfied.
The United Nations declared 2015 to be the International Year of Light for many reasons including the anniversary of James Clerk Maxwell unifying electricity and  magnetism in his famous equations. Having worked in his birthplace at 14 India Street Edinburgh among all sorts of memorabilia, I have long harboured ideas of celebrating his work in textile form. 2015 was  the obvious time to do it but life happened instead.
In October 2014 I attended fashion technology conference in Berlin. Inspired by things I learned there I was going to hack an old electronic knitting machine in order to knit red, blue and green portraits of Maxwell in the style of his invention of colour photography. I also envisaged a Victorian gentleman's jacket embellished with braided emboidery symbolic of intertwined light waves.
My big mistake was to apply for grant funding. If successful I'd have a decent budget for the project but it meant I couldn't get started until the results were announced in March. In the meantime the day job and family life were getting increasingly demanding so by the time I found I hadn't got any funding, I'd missed out on other supportive events and the project faltered. Shorter term ideas filled the time and took over.
Anyway, on 28th December, I finally got to grips with the hacking of the knitting machine and the next day I got the software working and made some test pieces. Yesterday I knitted one portrait of Maxwell in scrap wool to resrmble a sepia toned photograph. You can see all these items in the image collage in this post.
Now, on the last day of the year, I'm wondering whether to push on with the Maxwell project, continue developing the new ideas I've had, go back  and work on the final part of 2013's project or come up with some new stuff for 2016 - the UN International Year of Beans!

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