Judy Nolan ✿ A knitted revenge on wordiness


27 November 2019

While Instagram does have wonderful creative byproducts, it can merge the artistic field into a tachyscopic blur. So it’s a relief to find someone persisting with an old-fashioned blog, where artists have the space to develop projects over time.

Judy Nolan is a Sydney-based textile artist with an insatiable appetite for creative stimulation, combined with a background in computer science. Her blog Fibres of Being is a classic creative journal that documents her many encounters with exhibitions, workshops and her studio activities.

Judy documents her many creative challenges. A recent post concerned an essay to be read for a Creative Research group. Judy found herself struggling with the writing and tried to cope by responding artistically to the author she titled “That Dreadful Man”.

TDM would not defeat me. I would read every single word, give weight to every word in the essay.

I knit it. Garter stitch, three stitches per word. Time and reading embodied in knitting.

This led to a series of visualisations involving word counts and clouds until eventually, she started knitting into the text. You can read the full story here.

Judy’s knitted text opens up many intriguing possibilities. As monks illuminated manuscripts in the medieval period, might we find new ways to materialise words in fibre? As this History of the English language podcast shows, our understanding of text itself was formed through allusions to textile crafts.

If you’re curious to return to the ancient blogosphere, you can use a service like Feedly to subscribe to intriguing posters like Judy Nolan.

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