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Make/share: Textile making alone together in private and social media spaces

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This work draws on two sister projects which explored the subjective perceptions of wellbeing in women amateur makers who hand crafted in knit and crochet when alone rather than in physical group settings. In the first, participants engaged in a Ph.D. research project where they contributed experiences of sharing their making in a closed group on Facebook, ‘stitching together’ in digital space. In the second, a small, self-selected number from the Facebook research group also took part in a journal-writing project; here, they recorded their experiences of knit, crochet and its impact on wellbeing over several months and shared journals directly back to the researcher rather than the wider Facebook group. Participants from these complementary projects provided insight into the ways that working with yarn helped them feel connected, calm and creative whilst also revealing that their experiences in knit and crochet were not always the soothing panacea one might expect. The approaches in these two projects illustrate how a rich understanding of the ways hand crafting together may be beneficial for wellbeing can be developed even where participants and the researcher are physically remote from one another. Several distinctive methodological contributions can be claimed in these related works: First, the approaches taken in both the journal writing and Facebook-based projects opened up space to question and explore the ethics of care for researcher wellbeing in having participant stories to ‘hold’; secondly, the reflective distance provided by online commentaries and the writing of a journal over time allowed more complex craft experience stories to emerge than would normally be facilitated through a shorter workshop setting.
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Keywords: amateur leisure; crochet; digital space; knit; social media; wellbeing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000419367988University of Edinburgh

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • The Journal of Arts and Communities seeks to provide a critical examination of the practices known as community or participatory arts, encompassing a field of work defined for this purpose as incorporating active creative ollaboration between artists and people in a range of communities.The journal will take a cross-artform and interdisciplinary approach,including work happening in performance, visual arts and media,writing, multimedia and collaboration involving digital technology and associated forms. In part this will create an archive that will document work which can otherwise be ephemeral
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