Smith, Eleanor (2020) Domestic Machine Knitting as Tactile Art. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

This thesis explores the conceptual and practical ambiguity of domestic machine knitting which allows it to be appropriate in a variety of settings. The purpose of the study is to understand the perception of machine knit textile art in a gallery context, with a focus on embedded associations of knit and cultural shifts in galleries and museums of enabling and prohibiting touch. Initially, through practice-based research, a variety of methodologies were utilised in the study, with the method of making being defined by pre-existing familiarity and knowledge of knitting. Reflective practice encouraged a research journal to be the main method of reflection, whereupon colour could be determined as a method to encourage audience interaction and subtle approaches to tactility were explored to produce an installation that aimed to have audiences interact despite not appearing overtly tactile. Subsequently, methods of exhibition analysis were applied by utilising unobtrusive observation, reflection-in-action and photography, alongside anonymous questionnaires, to produce both qualitative and quantitative data. In response to emerging debates concerning the relevance of audience participation in textile-based exhibitions this study aims to highlight to audiences and artists using the textile medium, that interactions of touch should be allowed and encouraged in order to expand on the visual experience. Touch is a form of exploration that transforms the audience into participant. This study would be suitable for artists and academics who are enraptured by textile culture and developing knit-based practices in the gallery domain that employ strategies of audience interactivity and engagement with the artwork.

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FINAL THESIS - Smith, Eleanor P.pdf - Accepted Version
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