Strange Material – Leanne Prain – Chapter Seven

One year ago I started reading this book and I feel my slow progress is reflected in my lack of artwork. I have been making lots of craft type items and after reading Bettina Matzkuhn’s article perhaps that is enough for me at the moment. But I’ve vowed to ‘show up’ each day – if I don’t show up how am I ever going to have anything worth showing.

Onto chapter seven – Fictional Characters.

“When something is normal, we don’t worry about it. I like those things that are a bit ambiguous and absurd.” Bettine Matzkuhn.

The first interview in this chapter is with Stephanie Dosen. a singer-songwriter so it seems apt that I listen to her music as I write. Stephanie runs a company called Tiny Owl Knits – she designs and sells knitting patterns based on fairy tales.

Alice in Wonderland


Magical Charms


Seeing Stephanie’s work brings me back to the question raised earlier by Bettina Matzkuhn.

Super Hero Stories are told by Mark Newport as he questions gender roles by using the traditional female crafts of knitting and embroidery to make costumes for men to give them super powers.


Tracy Widdess is far more radical with her Brutal Knitting.


I find her work intriguing; I admire her skill but am left wondering if I wish to be disturbed by her masks. Tracy states they are supposed to be funny. But she has fulfilled the role of an artist – Marcel Proust wrote of the necessity for artists to arouse feelings; viewing art allows the removal of self from the day-to-day, not only to glimpse life through another person’s eyes, but also show a different existence.

The chapter concludes with a project designed by Susan Kendal, of Pocket Alchemy, based on the life of Amelia Earhart. There are templates and instructions for a mobile.

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