Hireth : a narrative of time, place, space and memory through the practice of hand knitting : an exegesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Guy de Maupassant wrote; "Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist". (Maupassant) The central focus of this study draws on exploring the relationship between memory, loss and the need to seek comfort through the process of knitting. This exegesis reveals how personal trauma is the impetus for the creation of my work by examining my thoughts, emotions and perceptions of the world, as a way to approach and discuss overwhelming emotional experiences. I seek connections and parallel experiences with others through the narrative threads woven through my work using the concept of Hireth: a Cornish or Kernow word which means a homesickness for a place you can never return to, a place which maybe never was. The nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost place of your past. (Tabios, 2018) The study weaves together a range of research methods, primarily my autoethnography, interviews with fellow knitters, reading and familial sources found through photographs and film, to investigate how the creation of objects can be said to "hold time" (Harris, Barnett., Bryan-Wilson, & George, 2015). Knitting is a creative method I use to research and understand the concept of hireth. Knitted objects are imprinted with care. Knitting takes dedication, it is a deliberate act and has an intimacy between materials and maker. Time becomes imprinted in and through objects made by the intimate act of creation. Knitting by hand is slow, highly demanding and time consuming. Time is suspended, memories are reactivated and create a sense of safety, purposeful control and the familiarity of close family bonds. I come from a family of knitters so it could be said that it is in my blood. Knitting has been a dominating influence in my life. My methodology for researching and generating projects derives from using a range of media in which ideas are aligned with family history. Knitting practice through rhythm and repetition ignites and stretches the imagination and allows for the possibility to meander into another world or place where memories are activated. My research on hireth seeks to arouse and seek reciprocal emotions and perceptions in others.