Blog by artist/printmaker Dawn Cole
The Silence of Knitting
Mon 11th Nov 11am
Performed by Sharon Hall Shipp
Photographs and film by Richard Shipp
Sharon has given me permission to share her thoughts about taking part in The Silence of Knitting
Big day yesterday and also the few days working up to it. Plenty of things going through my head!Despite the recce the day before, I was quite anxious about doing it, no second takes and all that, and I hate to be photographed/videod LOL. Wanting it to be right.On Sunday we went to our village remembrance gathering at the war memorial in the centre of the village. We’ve gone every year since moving here – 15 years – and I think it’s the most important (and moving) annual village event. So affecting seeing veterans, the number dwindling each year. Both Richard’s and my father were in WWII – my dad was at the D Day landings as a Marine, and whilst he came back physically unharmed, he had nightmares from time to time, in which he would shout out unintelligibly (names? orders?). He died in 1989 and I take his service medals with me to the remembrance gathering. So all this was in my mind before the performance.The silence of the knitting struck me not just as that contemplative/wishful silence as you describe, but also a furious silence in which thousands of women attacked yarn as they battled their own fears and hardships in having to cope without their menfolk in difficult and anxious times, let alone that the men may never return. The silence/knitting as the world flashed by (as you will see!), a cocoon of sorts, and fitting the choice of location. In the place, no one could hear the reading, it’s only because I had a microphone in the shelter that any of it was picked up. I liked that – the words weren’t really for anyone else.Thinking about my own practice – knitting/sewing as a pastime as well as a barrier providing an opportunity to reflect whilst the hands are busy – this is certainly what I’ve been finding over the last year as I’ve been mainly doing stitched work. Once the agonising thinking about the nature of the work and its form has taken place, the many hours of making has provided a different sort of involvement and experience with the work, allowing new thoughts and directions to bubble up.The build up to the Silence has occupied me for some time and I think the taking part has had and will continue to have a profound effect.
The Silence of Knitting was conceived by Dawn Cole and was part of Silent Cacophony that took place across London and beyond