U-JOINTS – Knots & Knits 
Glasshouse Helsinki, Helsinki Design Week 9 September 2021 - 23 October 2021

Knots & Knits is the fourth chapter of the U-Joints research project and exhibition series.
At Helsinki Design Week, Knots & Knits unravels the history of textiles, fabrics and ropework. Whether used in rigging, for lifting heavy objects, wrapping a lunch box or closing a gift, securing a funambulist’s highwire, to keep a climber from falling off a wall or creating adventurous playgrounds for children, knots are considered the oldest and most basic techniques of joinery. Bridges, bamboo scaffoldings, fishing nets: all kinds of structures can trace their origins to the simple gesture of pulling a string through a loop.

Knitting, in turn, creates anything from clothing to car interiors or architectural structures. When strings are intricately crossed, woven patterns are born. In the form of upholstery weaves, they lend comfort to our sofas, can buffer noise or explode into life-saving airbags. Electric cables, airplane wings and morphing membranes for vascular prostheses can be woven. Clothing and home textiles are unimaginable without weaving. Decorative tapestries cover walls to keep the cold out, while knitted, knotted, hooked and woven carpets and rugs cover floors and warm our feet. Woven wicker, rattan or birch bark create baskets, chairs or shoes. Seamstresses master stitching in sewing work. Surgeons practice stitching for closing wounds. Women embroidered each night after dinner, whether for leisure or work. Needlework was used to embellish dresses or to stitch mischievous political messages into a piece of cloth. But the use of knits and knots is by no means old-fashioned: not long ago, a computer’s core memory was stitched, as are today, books, sneakers and NASA’s equipment for space.
The Knots & Knits exhibition will examine all this, and more.

© Graphic Thought Facility