There is Science Here Too

Crocheting has been used by science as a tool to explore countless scientific principles. A few are outlined here.

"Like It. Lump It. We Are All Connected" (LILIWAAC),  started to form as an idea after I read "The Tao Of Physics"  by Fritjof Capra. After the death of my Grandmother I was looking for a scientific explanation of death.  I am largely agnostic so I couldn't find comfort in religious thoughts of an afterlife. Much of the books content is now a distant memory but I left it with a feeling that we aren't as distinct bodies as we may think. Instead we are fluid forms which interconnect and affect other entities which come near us. I started to stitch abstract works which showed a defined body and lines which indicated its repulsive and attractive forces. I started to consider the dual nature of objects, as seemingly stable objects and as dynamic systems in alternating states of flux and stability. Even within a stitched line there is duality.  A stitched line is at once a series of individual stitches and a continuum. It is however not a single entity but rather the arrangement of stitches which press up to each other so closely that they appear as one. In some way this helped me to understand the passing away of a loved one. I had been shocked and devastated by the seemingly absolute nature of death. One second my grandmother was a living thing with humour, love, thoughts etc. The next she was an inanimate object in need of disposal. If I can consider my grandmother and myself as collections of atoms, forces and processes etc which look and behave in a certain way for a certain time perhaps when the time for radical change comes through physical death it won't be as shocking. It may seem reductionist to think of people in this form but perhaps it is actually expansive. If I am a loosly bound collection of molecules etc can I come to see myself as more connected to everything else in the Universe? Both practically in that my molecules are more inclined to be interacting with others than I might first think but also in a more subtle sense.

 For ease of understanding I now describe "Like It. Lump It. We Are All Connected" as my effort to crochet the news. In many ways the news is a tool as much as the crochet hook is. A tool to help explore these issues on interconnectivity.  Crochet starts from a single knot on the hook. In the circular pieces created as part of LILIWAAC the following stitches radiate out in concentric rows of stitches. As the radius gets bigger the amount of single stitches needed to bind and circum navigate the other stitches grow. I have come to call each circle created a body. Body could mean an individual person, place object etc or it could mean a collection of single entities coming together. So for example in the piece about The Grenfell Tower disaster the first circle represents all those affected by that incident. Inside the first circle are 72 stitches which each represent a specific individual. The smaller circles which are appeared in the news. Here a body is an individual person, single stitches, an collection of people bound by a national tragedy, the first circle and a collection of people and places bound by a common fear. I have also tried to represent  the growing work in diagrammatic form on paper. Through this have seen how crochet provides a medium which can expand in a way that paper based works struggle. A work on paper is by default bound by the size of paper chosen. Of course one can add on additional pieces of paper but these aren't seamless.  By creating from the centre in crochet and having no pre-ordained boundaries I can explore complex issues where the only boundaries are things crenellation (frills) will form. This crenellation phenomenon was explored through the crocheted coral reef project. More info on this here.  Margaret Wertheim explains how the features of crochet as a 3D, foldable and re-formable medium helps people understand some of the most complex and abstract scientific, natural and mathematical notions in visible form in this TED lecture here.
like the time available to create a piece. The piece can expand from left to right, up and down but it can also expand into a third dimension. This third dimension can be explored by stuffing the flat pieces, pulling them out with threads or by the amount of stitches used. If the stitches don't increase enough to circumnavigate the work the piece will start to contract and pull upwards into a bowl shape. If the stitches are increased too much then a
attached each represent another set of people in a similar tower. These similar towers are connected in a roughly circular format whose form is born from when each

I am no mathematician or scientist but doing LILIWAAC has helped me to visualise previously abstract conductivities and relationships. Sometimes when creating a work I will wonder why I am sat doing stitch after stitch. Something beyond the toil keeps me going. Somebody said me yesterday that I must be a patient person. I replied that no I'm not really but something about this type of process keeps me going hour after hour. That something is probably the quest for a kind of truth about wider concepts which it seems easier to explore through this medium than others I use.  It is often when I sit with a group to connect their works into mine or put it up for an exhibition that I understand these wider ideas.

When I began this process I began with the vague notion that all things are connected. I thought that the study of news could help to test this proposition. I didn't expect the results to be so immediate. One tower at Grenfell led to news of others. People who had previously seen themselves as disparate had their connectivity revealed. A common fear and concern demonstrated a common plight brought about by common systems and ways of considering others. This process has many applications which I have yet to explore.  The way it progresses in future months and years will to some extent be dependant on the groups and concerns I come into contact with. I'd like to work with those who bring a new more in depth knowledge to the project. To use the methods employed as a new language to explain many more un-explainable things.