Matteo Molinari

Image credits: Michiel Meewis 2011
Image credits: Michiel Meewis 2011

Crocheting Cultures: contemporary craft practice in Italy and United Kingdom

London College of Fashion

As Crochet creates a fabric inter-looping yarn using a hook, this craft also produces artefacts and objects inter-looped in the history, culture and physical space of its location. When we look at a piece of crochet crafted by a mature lady, we are also looking at what Daniel Miller would describe as a lace-like tangle of cultural values, narratives and social relationships.

The recent popular explosion of DIY craft groups and the consequent growing interest in crochet from contemporary practitioners is pushing the DIY enthusiasts to re-skilling while breaking and redefining the traditional meanings and codes in the process.

The aim of this research project is to uncover the cultural significance of contemporary crochet from the point of view of practitioners in Italy and United Kingdom. This research project is grounded on material culture approach, anthropology and networks theories. Via socio-semiotic analysis of the text and practice, it offers an insight into the contemporary crochet practice in the fields of leisure, fashion and art.

Although crochet is a common practice widespread across Europe and the Americas, there is a substantial lack of academic literature on this subject. Despite the huge amount of pattern books and manuals that flourished since the middle of the 19th Century, the study of crochet, unlike knitting or embroidery, has still not been the subject of serious academic research.

Through a particular style of interview, when I’m crocheting with the practitioners during our interaction, and the analysis of the photographic/video documents and artefacts via semiotic methods, this study aims to examining the fundamental role played by space for the practice of crochet and in the circulation of crocheted artefacts between families, communities and broader networks. On the other hand, this research is interrogating about how social and cultural values are embedded within the craft.

Supervisors