Knitting, sewing, embroidery, lace and weaving can all be manufactured by machines andmass-produced. Crochet is one of the only textile crafts that cannot be automated in this way and gives it a unique nuance when it is used to explore the nature of craft, hand fabrication and the impact of the machine and digital ages.
‘CROCHET MACHINE’ is a sculptural craft fiction. Part crochet, part animation and part machine the assemblage forms a curious hybrid that appears domesticated yet industrial, blending the human with the machine.
The screen shows a stop motion animation of unravelling crochet played in reverse to make the film appear to be making crochet. Hung below, as if coming out of the screen is a length of crochet made by hand from linen thread.
Linen is one of the oldest textiles created by humans and speaks directly to the leap of technology over 20,000 years from fibre to digital. The crochet pattern is completed in filet crochet, a technique that uses open and closed squares in a binary code to create imagery and was used as a graphic tool before the invention of the pixel or raster image.
The ‘machine’ sits on a flesh toned stool and is the height, width and depth of a seated person to give a sense of anthropomorphism.
This artificial crochet machine is a glimpse into a new crafted future. This craft-fiction suggests an impossible alternate reality where the bliss of automated fabrication creates a fake that fetishizes the tactile qualities, imperfection and skill of textile craft. Do robotic sheep dream of crochet machines?
Stop frame animation, hand made crochet, linen thread, LCD screen, recycled polyester, aluminium, rubber, foam, plastic reel, wood.
Commissioned for Tamworth Textile Triennial - Tensions 2020 by Vic McEwan. 3 year national touring exhibition 2020-2022 including Tamworth Regional Gallery, Craft ACT, Artisan QLD, Mosman Art Gallery Sydney.