Mari Nakayama

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item 1:

'Volume 1'

Dress & Veil

Materials: silk, cotton, linen yarns
Techniques: Machine knitting  
Date Made: 2004
item 2:

'Volume 2'

Dress & Short length jacket

Materials: wool, linen yarns
Techniques: Machine & Hand knitting 
Date Made: 2005
about my work

The thing that fascinates me about knitting is that I can take a single thead and use it directly to make something three dimensional. Knitting has a structure which can expand and contract and settle into its own shape. This is the quality that I look for when I am developing an image or an idea that I want to use in designing clothes..

For instance, I might start by knitting the shape of a small stone. So far so good; but then, after making several more experimental swatches, such as a rough road or a broken-down stone wall, the image begins to change. I examine these new pieces very thoroughly, giving a pull here or a twist there, or shrinking the fabric, in order to find out how the stitches will naturally settle and what shape they will relax into. This is how I settle on a design idea, and as often as not the original image in my mind’s eye is transformed somewhere along the way into something quite unexpected.

My series of knitwear entitled 'The Wings' took its original inspiration from some arches along the eaves of an ancient European building. I began by trying to form a range of arches using the ‘holding technique’ on a knitting machine, but somehow, however hard I tried, it ended up looking more like what I like to think of as "a long and winding road". It wasn’t a problem – I liked it. The nature of the material and the strength and twist of the yarn affects not just the shape of the work but its overall appearance and quality. This time, I chose a silk-cotton mix weaving yarn alongside a wool and mohair knitting yarn.

I suppose my dream would be to create a knitted texture that no one had ever seen or felt or even thought of. I would so like to experience the pleasure of learning how to develop such possibilities.