Emi Nakamura




Knitting & Stitching Show

The 2001 Knitting & Stitching Show:

exhibited work

'Twist in Blue

'Meeting Points'


'Multiplication in Blue'


'Memories held by Threads'


my views on Knitting

knitting as my media:

Why do I use hand knitting as my main media? The reason is, quite simply, that it possesses such attractive and useful expressive qualities. There are three aspects:
Firstly, it is simple in all its aspects, requiring little in the way of expensive equipment or specially adapted studios. Knitting needles and a few yarns are enough to start making anywhere and anytime. 

Secondly, it opens up almost endless possibilities. Stitches can be increased or un-picked and returned to a single thread again, just as one feels. It can be shifted in any direction or made into any shape, whether it be a flat surface or a three-dimensional form. In fact we could keep knitting forever, just as long as the yarn lasts. This may be extreme, but I think it is the quality that makes knitting different from other textiles, such as weaving.

Lastly: I enjoy it! Just moving my fingers lets me feel involved in the process and experience of making.
knitting structures: What do I mean by the structure of hand knitting? My view now is that it is one continuous thread that is drawn out. If I were to imagine one thread as being a pencil line, knitting could be a drawing made by a thread. 

My piece entitled 'Meeting Points' was made following exactly this notion.

I also feel knitting embodies time and provides an exact measurement of how long I was involved in the action of making. The processes of stitches building up one by one reminds me of the tick-tock sounds of a clock. My knitted pieces contain all the love I put into them as well as the time I shared with them. 
inspiration: As I began to focus on the nature and structure of the stitch itself, I spent a good amount of time exploring and experimenting with knitted samples. My images and ideas often developed out of these and grew into finished pieces

My images are derived from my surroundings. These are examples of the sources I have used: rusty metal, mould, microscopic photographs, texture and patterns on bark, origami patterns, photographic images of earth, views from the sky, seeds and fruits, Celtic patterns, complex structures made by pipe lines at a chemical factory, cloud, - and many, many others.
themes: 'Tie, Twist and Coil':

By combining these methods with knitting, it is possible to take knitting in new directions, creating, for example, powerful impressions and unexpectedly interesting patterns of movement on the surface. I first began knitting in a more expressive way when I joined the 'Fushiginoiroito' Workshop, which continues to offer me fresh ideas.


The process of knitting almost always involves a positive (plus) action when the stitches increase and a negative (minus) action when parts are un-picked. One of the great attractions of knitting is how this characteristic process can be repeated at will.

In the piece entitled 'Memories Held by Threads', I focused on this minus action by showing examples of un-picked threads backed by photocopies of the knitted pieces of which they were formerly a part. The love and labour that I put into these pieces are held in the threads like a memory.


I particularly like the deeper shades of blue, which remind me of the bottom of sea and make me feel calm. I think these blues have a mysterious power to reach into our minds, and I use them in many of my pieces.


Water sustains all creatures on earth. After hearing a theory that the overall quantity of water existing on the earth's surface hasn't changed much from the beginning of time, my imagination ran amok. How many life-systems has the water in my own body passed through during all this time? Might my water have once passed through a dinosaur's body? I made various pieces that were based on the theme of 'water'. For example, my piece entitled 'Water Egg' was inspired by the simple fact of life that there can be no birth without water to sustain it. The water cycle, where water absorbed into the earth becomes a lifeline for new life, was expressed in my piece entitled 'Water Roots'.


I am fascinated by the power of growth, such as one can observe in moulds. Although it is impossible to witness the earliest stages of formation with the naked eye, within hours the mould will develop interesting shapes. The work entitled 'Multiplication in Blue' tries to capture that hidden power of the energy of growth.
message: I would really like to thank 'The Knitting & Stitching Show' for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work in England, a country that has a long history and tradition of knitting. I have never had an opportunity like this, and I am very happy to participate in this show. I hope this experience will stimulate and encourage me to keep creating my works. I know that everyone who comes to a show like this must also love knitting. People are attracted to knitting for different reasons. In my case, I have always been fascinated by the enormous possibilities of knitting and the beauty it creates. As a result, I have tried for many years to use knitting as a means to express myself. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to exchange opinions and feelings with other people who love knitting. I would be very happy if my fascination for knitting comes through to them from my work and I would love to hear their reactions. Alas, I speak very little English, but I like to think we could still find enough common ground through knitting. to stimulate me and open my mind to fresh ideas. Above all I look forward to visiting your country and getting to feel English knitting with my own hands.