I'm sure by now many of you will be familiar with Karie Westermann's fascinating Kickstarter project, This Thing of Paper. Before the blog tour to support the project even started, the kickstarter was fully funded and the amount pledged continues to climb, and that's testament to the amazing support of knitters for this intriguing project. The fundraiser is open for two more weeks, finishing June 22nd, and every penny raised will be appreciated and put to very good use in bringing this book to print.
Karie's project will be a beautiful book of knitting patterns inspired by the age of Gutenberg.
Text and textiles are inexplicably linked. They both tell stories, fact or fiction, and it only seems fitting then that Karie should bring these subjects together again in this way. The knitting patterns will be accompanied by essays, and the book will be divided into 3 main areas:
Story 1: Manuscript. The story of handmade manuscripts and the people who worked on making them. This story features one garment and two accessories.
Story 2: Invention. The story of the period in which Johannes Gutenberg transformed book production. This story features one garment and three accessories.
Story 3: Printed. The story of when printed matter became more commonplace and helped spread information across Europe. This story features one garment and two accessories.
It goes without saying that I'm curious about the Hat projects that will be part of the 10 patterns! Naturally Karie wants to keep details under wraps, so as to not spoil the big reveal upon publication. She was though happy to talk about one of the Hats in the collection (there will be two) and her inspiration behind it.
Stitches as words, as characters. Mixing and matching them to create different expressions, different pieces of code, each combination resulting in a different outcome. Something that's always fascinated me from a design perspective is how changing one thing, one simple component of a design can result in an entirely different new design. By switching the direction of a twisted stitch, or it's occurrence, you change the narrative. I'm absolutely fascinated to see what Karie does with this Hat design!
As we talked, Karie explained a little about her design process. She tells me she works heavily on paper, starting with the story and concept before any swatching occurs. This is rather different to my process, whereby yes, I'll have a concept, usually structural, but I'll generally work on the needles and let the story develop organically, and it got me thinking again about not only how we tell our stories as designers/artists/writers/creators, but the value in knowing and understanding our different voices. Karie's voice is strong in this project; the concept is undoubtedly hers.
This Thing of Paper is due to be published in spring 2017, and it will be an interesting journey to watch. I do hope Karie keeps us all updated through her blog as she explores bringing this book together and working through the many challenges a project like this will present! In the meantime, the next stop on the tour is Tom of Holland. You can catch the full list of blog tour participants here, and it's a wonderful collection of different voices, each offering their own perspective into the project - very much worth a read.