Contemporary design and applied arts isn’t just about developing new forms.
It’s also about developing new process and experimenting with new materials.
A couple of years ago, for example, Hiawatha Seiffert won the Sparkasse Leipzig Grassipreis award for his bowls made from discarded bicycle chains. And best we don’t even start discussing the range of materials currently on display in “Starker Auftritt – Experimental Shoe Design”
Eindhoven based, Italian designer Andrea Brena creates objects from left over pieces of cloth… knitting them into shape with his arms.
Although Andrea didn’t invent arm knitting itself, he has developed the concept into something more than just a curious hobby for those who never could get the hang of knitting needles.
A highly democratic process – anyone can learn it and to perform it needs little more than two arms and some lengths of material – the knitting and purling over the hands results in a material composition as unique and challenging as it is soft and familiar. And because the thickness of the weave is largely determined by the thickness of the arms involved, each piece is directly related to its creator.
Although obviously difficult to organise as a mass market process, arm knitting is a wonderfully social process that basically invites you to sit with others and slowly create common objects, be it a sofa, carpet, hammock, whatever. Even shoes, technically.
Andrea has demonstrated his technique at various European design festivals, and in April he not only presented it at Milan Design Week, but also held his first workshops in which he sought to teach all-comers the secrets of hand-knitting.
A few impressions…..