tina neale

NEW WORK 2014 - 2016

Threads, Memory in Focus

Knitting is for me steeped in memories and meaning. For many it can have associations with certain family members or times in a person’s domestic life.

The activity for me became something I focused on when our family experienced my fathers slow unraveling due to vascular dementia, I saw him go from a full able craftsman who worked with his hands, to a shadow of his former self. At worst he was a bundle of frustration and anxiety in his desperate attempt to understand the way his mind and body were working. The soulful beauty in my father never left but the functioning person faded away. I responded to the subject in the way I did, to pay respect to my mother’s endless patience, as she would sit with my father knitting, he found great comfort being around this routine activity of the day. He would often help with the unraveling balling up of wool, and he explained to me once how doing this frustrating task with his big working hands now clumsy, was how he felt trying to unravel his thoughts, a memorable and poignant moment between my father and me. The work I created became a metaphor for the breaking down of ordered thought, memory and ability to reason and understand in our usual way.

Knitting is an activity that has enriched my mother’s life, it helped her then and now my father has passed.

The layers of meaning in the work I do are very personal but I hope that others could relate to these thoughts. I am choosing to knit with drawing and clay, which has similar pleasures to knitting with yarn. Drawing the knitting is repetitive, rhythmic and contemplative. You can work to a plan or go freestyle.

The process of knitting clay presents technical challenges, this appeals to me. For me the ceramic process of making and firing represents the way we have constant challenges in our lives, which can be a struggle to deal with emotionally and practically. Sometimes the work flows easy and has a comforting domestic feel, it is consistent and rich, but also shows struggle. Always the works are forever fragile.