Angela Maddock

PhD Work

Hand knitting insists on a constant and intimate relationship between maker and process: yarn must pass through fingers and sustain continuous contact with flesh. This degree of proximity is rare in a culture that fears the intimate and values the authority of distance.

Knit has its own language: shared stitches, patterns and movements that are familiar to many and yet exclude others; a language shared and passed through generations that enables kinship and perpetuates separateness: the knitter’s club.

Recently knitting has experienced a popular renaissance: a return that has witnessed the emergence of knitting groups where to knit is to be connected to others. More publicly, knit has been re-appropriated as political activism. In contrast, the solitary knitter is afforded a place of distance and an opportunity for reverie in a world in which we are always seem to be ‘in touch’.

To knit for another is an exchange of time and emotion. The knitted garment is freighted with meaning; not always welcomed it nevertheless embodies care and desire and implies a collapsing of distance. This notion of proximity/distance exists throughout arts and craft practice, but is most apparent in knitting. Here, proximity encompasses the physical closeness of the tools, processes and products of knitting, but also the relational between knitter and the knitted for and the knitter and yarn. Proximity is a measure of intimacy and distance; it is also a mark of cultural value.

I am interested in exploring these qualities through the lens of an on going knitting performance/document with my mother, Bloodline. This particular piece acts as a tool for revealing connections, which include knit’s enduring relationship with place over space, the body and the domestic. I am hopeful that Bloodline will operate as catalyst for exploring emotional attachment between subject and object; the ‘space/place’ of the knitting performance and the bond between the maker and the made for.


  • Angela Maddock
  • PhD


    School of Design


    Textiles, 2012–

  • Angela Maddock is interested in how we belong and how we build relationships with each other and with objects or things, especially things that are hand made and given to us as gifts. She is a knitter, weaver and writer and also a lecturer in contextual studies and textiles.

    Maddock's research investigates the potential of knitting as research methodology. This she does via the simple act of knitting between mother and daughter, a process of discovery that generates new thinking on knitting itself, and also on knitting as conduit between subject and object  - a catalyst for thinking on such varied themes as proximity, love, loss and desire.