Isabel Andreu Roglá
found out that though there are very many abandoned buildings in Biella
there are no real meeting places or culture centres in Biella. Therefore
Isabel has together with a group of women called "Donne in Viaggio"
organised a series of knitting meetings in public places. The purpose
of these meetings is to create an opportunity for people to get together
in an informal way and exchange experiences. Her project was inspired
by an artist group in London called Cast - off, that a few years ago started
meeting in different places in the city to knit together.
Creating spaces and opportunities for people to meet runs like a red thread
through Isabel's work at Cittadellarte. She sees the empty and abandoned
buildings as a metaphor for the absence of relationships among the different
ethnic communities in our society.
“During my staying at Biella – tells Isabel - I could note
that, as happens in many other rich and industrial towns of Europe, Biella's
way of life is quite individualistic and family-oriented, close to outside
Knitting is an activity normally considered traditional, out of date and
characteristic of old women. Nevertheless, I think that is an activity
which in some countries is modern, and starts to be appreciated by the
young, as a relaxing and pleasant activity, which favours the meeting,
the information exchange and the knowledge of the others.
Talking and sharing knitting knowledge with the others, it is prone to
recover parts of people's own biography, which offer to the “knitting”
listener practical instructions and advices about how to properly do the
The project “Wool stories” includes two complementary aspects:
one, which is basically personal, consisting in a documentation process
about the stories of differently aged women, talking about how they learnt
knitting and how they liked this activity all their life long. A series
of interviews will be recorded with a small digital video camera. The
film will, the most of time, focus women's hands, while they are knitting
or gesticulating when talking.
Another aspect of this is more social-oriented, and includes more public
projections. The activation of an initiative of knitting can be held in
public areas and empty areas in the town of Biella. The public knitting
meetings project was named “Knitting the empty space”.