Jinny's Tonic No. 7

Rachael Matthews

Hand-Knitting Anthropocene

teeth post

Rock 1

No 7 headshot

Tonic No. 7 - Rachael Matthews

A compulsion to hand knit in odd moments, using otherwise wasted time as an opportunity to create her own clothes taught Rachael that knitting in public can open up deep conversations with strangers. Hand knitting can be loaded with emotions; inherited skills are treasured, family relationships complex, and our projected image of what we want to make often so different from what we end up producing. Rachael finds these subjects as interesting to research as the knitting itself.

The challenge of making a living as a professional hand knitter in London pushed Rachael to open Prick Your Finger, an ethical yarn shop and exhibition space which was open for consultation 5 days a week. The shop grew out of public textile projects and a concern for demoralised British fibre producers. Through running Prick Your Finger, Rachael was assured that creativity is an inherited, unstoppable, and empowering force that naturally waxes and wanes in communities and in the individual. It can never be crushed by the attitudes of society, industry or governments.

After eight years, Rachael closed the shop to write ‘The Mindfulness in Knitting’, published in 2016 by Leaping Hare Press. The book grew out of many conversations and Rachael’s tricky relationship with her work. Rachael currently teaches knitting at Central St Martins and is visiting artist for East London Textile Arts. Rachael’s solo studio practice includes knitting sculptures and expanding on her writing.

Hand Knitting Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a concept describing the ‘current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.’ Sometimes hand knitting feels as though it takes an ‘Age’, Through the slowness of knitting there can be geological-like shifts in our thinking. Rachael will be illustrating these shifts with stories of public knitting and current project ‘ROCK!’, which considers how modern fibres return to the earth.

Wednesday 26th June 2019

Rock 2


by Jinny’s Tonic