knit the walls - knitting in progress exhibition

Exhibitions, Free

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

God's House Tower

knit the walls is 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 invites 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 hangs from the ceiling, surrounded by a circle of chairs. Here, you are 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 is a portal through which we can write the forgotten women of herstory back into the ancient stones. Publications, books, drawings and other resources are 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 hang from the roof of the tower. This experimental installation offers 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 is currently 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 is 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 can be found alongside the other resources in the Main Gallery.

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

Entry to the exhibition is free. Exhibition is on from Friday 12th November – Sunday 28th November.

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

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