Directions 1. Hwy 101 exit 10
2. West towards Wolfville
3. Next to the Visitor Information Centre
4. In Wilow Park, Wolfville GPS 45.096244, -64.356023
stop Artist Installation 3
Knitting Our Roots Knitting Our Roots is a response to the our need to set down roots while reflecting changes in available and/or preferred materials for economic, social, and environmental reasons. We are all wanderers. Some of us continue to wander - rooting, uprooting, and rerooting ourselves in search of homes across the hills, across the continents, across the oceans. We’ve used the land to survive; using its bounties to feed, clothe, and shelter us. Knitting is a lifelong skill that can be easily carried with us as we wander from one chair to the next, from one home to the next. The garments created - hats, mitts, sweaters, long underwear, and the like - help keep us warm and dry while the meditative rhythm of the knitting helps keep us grounded. Knitting Our Roots I : In the past, households would grow and spin their own fleeces for knitting. This was a very time- and labour-intensive task, undertaken out of necessity, not choice. As woollen mills such as Briggs and Little in York Mills, NB, emerged and expanded, one could exchange one’s fleece for ready-spun yarn. Knitting Our Roots II : Acrylic fibres soon became the go-to fibre for mass-produced and industrially constructed garments. Not only were these more convenient but they also became a symbol of prosperity, as only those who couldn’t afford to buy new clothes from the shop would make them in the ‘old fashioned way’. For those who persisted with their knitting, however, Red Heart acrylic became a favourite because it was so easy to care for: just toss it in the washer and dryer. Knitting Our Roots III : We are now realizing that our over-production, misuse of resources, and stockpiles of refuse are impacting the health and well-being of our planet. New, more responsible fibres are now being developed, such as Wool and the Gang’s ‘New Wave’ which combines a cotton thread with one spun from recycled plastic bottles. The inspiration for Jane Whitten’s first knitted roots came during an artist residency in Tilting, Fogo Island, NL, during the summer of 2018. Her works for Uncommon Common Art 2019 continue this story. This installation is sponsored by
BMO Bank of Montreal
Wolfville Jane Whitten Jane Whitten is a basket-maker and knitter presently living in Summerside, PEI. Born in Australia, Whitten has spent much of her adult life in Eastern Canada establishing her craft practice while also pursuing her career as a special education consultant, first in Nova Scotia and, later, in Australia until her recent retirement. Although Whitten has been knitting since childhood, it wasn't until the 1980s, when she was teaching on Fogo Island, NL, that she ventured into creating her own designs. She found the island setting to be very conducive to creative exploration. During the 1990s she started knitting dysfunctional and sculptural pieces while also continuing to knit hats, mitts, and sweaters for her family.
Whitten’s Wreaking Havoc show at Mary Black Gallery in Halifax, NS, in the spring of 2018 demonstrated her ability to really push the use of non-traditional materials in her knitting and basketry. Wreaking Havoc illustrated the impact of industrially made materials on the marine environment, and featured seaweed, sea stars, icebergs, sea anemones, and pack ice knitted and woven from recycled/industrial materials such as plastic bags, plastic packaging, plastic strapping, wire, and more. The inspiration for Whitten’s first knitted roots came during a Tilting Artist in Residency in Tilting, Fogo Island, NL, during the summer of 2018. Her knitted roots are not only a response to the rugged environment but also reflect the tenacity of the living things trying to survive there. Her works for Uncommon Common Art 2019 continue this story of survival.
Whitten’s basketry and knitting has been exhibited in group and solo shows in Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Australia. She was nominated for the Canada Council’s 2001 Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Fine Craft and has won numerous awards for her creations. Her work is in public and private collections nationally and internationally.