knit the walls - knitting in progress exhibition

Exhibitions, Free

Friday 12th 10:00am – Sunday 28th November 2021 5:00pm

God's House Tower, Town Quay Road, Southampton, SO14 2NY

About the Work

knit the walls was an ongoing project involving many of Southampton’s residents and visitors in the co-production of a knitted, woollen version of the city’s medieval walls.

Led by artist Sarah Filmer, the project invited participants and audiences to reconnect with stories, memories and alternative histories that are lost over time and unrecorded in books and archives. What if these stories and every-day actions, ideas and conversations of the city’s past inhabitants are somehow held within Southampton’s historic walls?

In the Main Gallery, a piece of communal knitting hung from the ceiling, surrounded by a circle of chairs. Here, you were invited to sit and stitch your own contribution to knit the walls and connect with stories from the past through actions in the present. In particular, though not exclusively, the daily lives of women are under-represented in recorded histories of Southampton. knit the walls was a portal through which we can write the forgotten women of ‘herstory’ back into the ancient stones. Publications, books, drawings and other resources were available in this space too, along with an instructional video made by sarah in collaboration with artist Fred Ashleigh Turner which is accessible via the QR code below and on the ‘a space’ arts YouTube channel.

Outside, knitted walls hung from the roof of the tower. This experimental installation offered a direct contrast between the hard, historic fabric of the building and the ethereal materiality of the woollen walls.

The origin of knit the walls can be traced back to a previous project by the artist, the blue jumper, which was installed in the Barker Mill Project Space on the first floor. A projected film illuminates a large, blue, knitted web which stretches across the room. Like knit the walls, the blue jumper was a participatory endeavour, knitted by over 1200 people. Participants were invited to contribute to the project further by writing about their experience and recording their thoughts onto individual cards. These records could be found alongside the other resources in the Main Gallery.

A work-in-progress, this month-long exhibition was the latest iteration of knit the walls but not the last. Thoughts and feedback gathered during this time were considered as the artist reflects on the project as a whole. In November 2022, the work was exhibited in God’s House Tower for one last time in a cumulative exhibition.

The exhibition ran from Friday 12th November 2021 to Sunday 28th November 2021.

From Friday 29th November – Sunday 19th December, the exhibition moved into the Project Space.

Keep up to date with ‘knit the walls’ on Facebook 

About the Artist

A gentle revolutionary, working with death, knitting, the human/non-human-animal relationship, and the status and representation of women, Sarah works individually and collaboratively with video, photography, drawing, and yarn based craft. Sarah’s work has been selected for open exhibitions, screened at national and international film festivals, and been commissioned by the national trust. She has been known to intervene with temporary works in public spaces.

Visit Sarah's Website