Art in Your Hands

Here's a cozy container for your subway pass--a hand knitted wallet. It's part of the celebrations for Arts Council England's 60th anniversary. First there were the artist-designed carrier bags and now ten artists including Tracey Emin, Jeanette Winterson, Jyll Bradley and Michael Clark have been commissioned to create artwork on travelcard wallets. The wallets bring art into every day life and are being distributed in train and bus stations across the country. One thousand of these lovely woolly ones (pictured) were created by a knitting group of 15 women. The artist uses wool from a working mill that formerly made yarns with dyes from local plants and herbs. Each wallet is individually created using a unique selection of them. As one knitter said "These knitted wallets, each one a little different, turn mass-production on its head and subvert the concept of the mass-produced goods. Each item reflects something of the individuality of the handful of women who created them. So it is that a simple everyday item is transformed with a dash of absurdity and colour and a pair of knitting needles."


Other wallets tell a story to read on the bus: Risk Everything Only The Impossible Is Worth The Effort ( Jeannette Winterson). Another is a poem about immigration (Bernardine Evaristo) and another depicts the London skyline in 1967 from the top of the BT Tower ( Michael Clark). Adam Sutherland's (pictured left) is complicated. A seemingly pastoral image of a valley in the Lake District, turns out to be "the training site of the second wave of 2006's alleged London tube bombers". His statement, 'The Code for the Country', quotes ideas and statements from the Declaration of Independence to Paris Hilton, to suggest a contemporary code of behaviour. They include the right: to say anything in private and nothing in public, to feel superior in a variety of ways, and to wander. These and other slogans hint at disillusionment and the need for acceptance of civic responsibilities. Tracy Emin contributed the sweet kitty cat. :: Arts Council England

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