Project Details


The initial inspiration for this work came from a visit to National Institute of Fashion and Textiles in Delhi and Chennai in India where they conduct a fantastic project where the NIFT students live and work in Craft Cluster villages for three months.

Key findings

The Craft Circle explored the craft knowledge that is held in our village of Somerstown? (the environ of the CCi Faculty). This focused on traditional domestic craft, primarily crochet and knitting but also patchwork and embroidery. The Craft Cluster group here at the University, known as the Craft Circle was an informal group that met on a monthly basis made up of elderly women, who lived locally and were committed, enthusiastic knitters, and a group of fashion and textiles students. The women would work with the students on a one-to-one basis and teach them to knit.

During the course of these meetings the women were encouraged to share information about their working methods, motivation and design process but they were not forthcoming and never said much other than expressing a feeling of gratification through making. In an attempt to develop this conversation, we discussed the merit of various artefacts that utilised domestic craft techniques, and the most common evaluation from this group of expert practioners, was tension, not a description immediately associated with the appraisal of creative output – but strangely evocative and suggestive of more than they had initially revealed. More intimate Craft Conversations and interviews were subsequently undertaken.

“Before we met the Craft Circle I didn’t know what to expect really, having not spent much time with groups of older women. I was surprised how much knitting was seen as a really pleasurable activity – something which they all had in common and could share tricks, skills and experiences. I was also quite surprised how keen the women were to pass their skills on to us. I think there is a really strong sense of loss that the skills that have meant so much to them will be lost and not passed on in the way their Granny taught them”. Undergraduate student.

“I find these sessions very rewarding, to be with young people does give older folk a purpose to get out and be in the company with the girls at Uni. They are very kind and make is (sic) feel as though we are wanted” Craft Circle contributor.
Effective start/end date1/09/071/09/12


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