Mariko Tagawa

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 ' Signs & indications'    
Techniques: Knitting, with additional spinning
Size: H 25 x W 75 x D 75 cm
Date Made: 2004-2005
Materials: wool
about this work The main idea of this piece was to explore the issues surrounding the making of free standing knitted objects. I used commercial yarns, to which I added further spin. The base was knitted by repeatedly crossing many stitches over each other. Out of this process the piece gradually started to take form and stand up by itself. I like to think of it as a group of small, growing creatures, each reaching out to the world to explore it with its senses.
My approach to knitting

Knitting appeals me because even although we use the most simple of tools to knit our stitches, one by one, there is no limit to the size or shape that we can create. If we liked we could carry on almost for ever.

I always begin my work directly by knitting rather than working from a pre-conceived image. As I knit, images seem to gradually appear and take shape, and the process is almost as if there existed a common sensitivity between myself and the work, and that if only I could concentrate well enough the image would emerge on its own. Even when Iím not quite sure where itís all leading Iíll still carry on knitting, following each small detail that catches my attention. Sooner or later, something will appear. That is the moment, however fortuitous, that I discover the key that opens the door to the next stage.

Sources of inspiration:

There are so many things in my daily life that can provide inspiration, but for me the most important things are those things I pick up on my walks. I take photographs as I go and write myself small memos. I collect various small objects such as leaves or stones, but it is often those things that I chance to pick up, with the least thought of using in my work, that in the end prove most valuable. When I work I try not to impose limitations on myself and will use whatever materials or techniques seem appropriate. Although I’m conscious of how important it is to broaden one’s experiences, I also think it is important to simply enjoy making.

The overall impression of a work is often influenced by the characteristics of each stitch. When people think of knitting it is often as something fluffy and warmly familiar, but I prefer to keep this quality to controlled levels. I don’t like things to be overly sweet. I am currently using yarns that are deliberately over spun, and with these I aim to create simple, paired down forms. I am particularly interested in the fragile balance that arises when you make free standing objects using flexible,’ unstill’ materials.

I love White. I’ve used white as my main colour for past ten years or so. Recently, I began to wonder why I like white so much. No doubt white attracts me because of its purity and austerity, but I am beginning to wonder if white is just a cloud that I hide under, obscuring something real inside myself. Perhaps there are colours there that I turn away from, as if I was trying to escape from something. So why do I stick with white when everywhere I look is so flooded with colour? Bit by bit, as I try to observe my surroundings carefully and reflect it in my knitting, colour is starting to appear.

Now I find that as the work develops it’s not so much a question of a dialogue with the work about what is right or wrong for it, so much as a constant self-questioning about the choices I make, looked at from different points of view.

Clearer choices based on solid decisions result in more satisfactory pieces. The process goes on, and I will try to find the answers to these perplexing questions though my making.