J.C. Rennie’s Chunky Lambswool in colorway, “Sienna”22” underarm-underarm, 18” underarm-hem“O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” (Macbeth 3.2.41)
Herb of Grace
Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter in various colorways22.75” underarm-underarm, 9.5” underarm-hem“There’s rue for you, and here’s some for me. We may call it herb of grace o’ Sundays.” (Hamlet 4.5.180-82)
Farmer’s Daughter Fibers’ Craggy Tweed in colorway, “Emil”23” underarm-underarm, 16.5” underarm-hem “No blown ambition doth our arms incite, / But love, dear love, and our ag’d father’s right” (King Lear 4.4.27-28)
KnitPicks’ Wool of the Andes in colorway, “Dove”Cascade’s 220 in colorway, “Irelande”21” underarm-underarm, 18” underarm-hem“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! / It is the green-ey’d monster” (Othello 3.3.166-67)
Birds I’ Th’ Cage
20KnitPicks’ Provincial Tweed in colorway, “Cream”25” underarm-underarm, 27” underarm-hem“Come, let’s away to prison: We two alone will sing like birds i’ th’ cage” (King Lear 5.3.8-9)
A Trifle Light as Air
Stunning String’s Legacy Worsted in colorway, “Venetian Rose”19” underarm-underarm, 10” underarm-hem“But she so loves the token... That she reserves it evermore about her” (Othello 3.3.293-95)
Blue Sky Fibers’ Woolstok in colorway, “Midnight Sea”24” underarm-underarm, 18.5” underarm-hem“There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis notto come... the readiness is all” (Hamlet 5.2.219-23)
Harrisville Designs’ Highland in colorways, “Garnet,” and “White”23.5” underarm-underarm, 21” underarm-hem“Out, damn’d spot! Out, I say... What, will these hands ne’er be clean?” (Macbeth 5.1.31-50)
Detail Shot, Leading Ladies2019-20
Detail Shot, Title Characters
When reading a text that is meant for the stage, I’m never simply looking at words on the page. I treat the play as if I am its director; imagining the set, lighting, costume, cast, etc. Visual questions are always at the forefront of my mind. As a textile artist, I always ask one question before all others: how would I represent these characters through clothing?I ask this of most things I read, but when asking them of Shakespeare, his characters yield some of the richest answers.
In this body of work, I have create eight such garments for main characters from Shakespeare’s tragedies, endeavoring to connect clothing to character through material, texture, pattern, and color. The sweaters I’ve designed and knit exist somewhere in between costume, illustration, and interpretation. They express what is at the core of each character—their conflicts, their personalities, their words. They can be worn everyday in the modern world, but are encoded with literary interpretations.
Shakespeare sought to create a point of entry for the masses. I seek to do the same by developing patterns which could be easily knit by others, making a seemingly daunting process quite approachable. Each sweater I’ve designed uses one or two more complicated techniques, but the ease of their construction, and areas of rest give knitters the opportunity to tackle a garment that looks intricate and refined.
Above all else, Shakespeare is poetry. The dialogue between characters drives the play, providing the strongest opportunity to design each one a unique garment. Their voices, their words, the imagery central to them, are at the core of my work. The baroque speech of Hamlet becomes a series of intricate cables, while the blood on Lady Macbeth’s hands transforms into strands of red color work.
If Iambic Pentameter is the heartbeat of the English language, then knitting is the heartbeat of textiles. A sweater will always be a familiar garment; a play will always be performed. Every aspect of the sweater creates the sense of something, just as written poetry endeavors to do.