Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lynne Johnson


Lynne Johnson has been knitting for as long as she can remember with the love of yarns, colour, texture and the actual knitting process being central to all her work. She is passionate about keeping knitting traditions alive and thriving, while also experimenting and creating new stitches and techniques. She has been teaching at TAFTA Forums and knitting workshops throughout Australia and NZ in recent years.

#1 ‘Edwardian Collar’ 2009
#2 ‘Triangular Shoulder Piece’ 2009
Medium: Crepe Paper
#1 100cm in diameter at the base 30 cm diameter at the top and is 30 cm deep.
#2 100cm across the top, 50cms deep

Photographer Leise Knowles

Artist statement:
My ‘netwurking’ keeps coming back to family networks and paper and text and black and white.
What to do with all the pieces of paper I’ve inherited and all the secrets and stories the text on
the paper hints at so loudly. The dramas of births and deaths and marriages suggested – the formal certificates revealing lots and hiding lots more. I’m using paper to explore and explain what I know about some of the women I’ve ‘caught’ in these family nets. So far it’s crepe paper and it’s knitting…………..

 Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

#1 ‘Edwardian Collar’ 2009
  Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

  Photographer Gabriella Hegyes
#2 ‘Triangular Shoulder Piece’ 2009
Photographer Leise Knowles

Background to the work:
In 1909 my grandfather’s half sister, Amy Maud Bock, created many headlines in the press and much consternation in the family when, in the most outrageous of her many crimes of misrepresentation and fraud, she masqueraded as a man and married a young woman, Nessie Ottaway, in a small coastal community in the south of New Zealand. The Bock family reacted by cutting Amy out of the family and hiding the story from us for 60 odd years. The Ottaways reacted by trying to carry on as normal after the masquerade was quickly uncovered and Amy went to gaol. 

For a long time we knew little of Amy and even less of Nessie but in 2009 to mark the 100th anniversary of the short lived marriage a photographer colleague Fiona Clark and I responded by researching as much as we could and creating works that emerged from the story.

We had a newspaper artist’s black and white image of Nessie in a demure lacy Edwardian blouse and skirt. This idea led to the #1 neckpiece. Nessie married a widower with several children but he died of war related injuries soon after. She married a second man later but he also died relatively soon after. Amy had a relatively short marriage to a ferryman in the Taranaki district of Mokau after she left gaol. We never learned much more of either woman in their later years but it seems their lives were harsh and perhaps lonely.

The #2 piece reflects the need for comfort and warmth in all phases of our lives, particularly later ones. After Amy left gaol she lived in the Mokau area and seems to have been able to stay out of trouble and become a useful and revered member of the community for many years. There are older members of the mostly Maori community there who remember her fondly for the songs and dances she taught them and the costumes she made for their concerts. “She was a Whizz with crepe paper” one told Fiona. This statement stuck with me and crepe paper became the medium for these works.

#1 ‘Edwardian Collar’ 2009 Work in Progress
 Photographer Lynne Johnson
Examples of Lynne's work can be seen at
 women of fibre

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