Sisse Fog Odgaard originally trained as a dressmaker at The Royal Danish Theatre. However, more recently, she turned her attention towards creating textile work to express, inspire and encourage. Her latest project will be appearing at The Knitting & Stitching Show. #UNFINISHED is a vibrant and powerful textile installation made from more than 2,000 pieces of unfinished knitwear.
After collecting pieces that had been deemed too boring, ugly or difficult, Sisse cut the knitwear to size and zig-zagged the pieces onto a base of discarded parachutes. Finally, she covered the joints with a total of 2.5 km i-Cord. This time-consuming process resulted in an impressive work; six large life rafts lined with #UNFINISHED knit fabric. With this colourful installation, Sisse hopes to inspire visitors to let go of preconceived ideas of perfection and to dare to speak openly of the things they are not so proud of. We were lucky to hear from Sisse herself…
How did you dream up the concept of #UNFINISHED?
#UNFINISHED started with my own bag of unfinished knitting. A summer blouse I knitted for myself in recycled cotton yarn. It was a raglan blouse, knitted from top to bottom. The blouse looked nice enough, but I didn’t look good in it and therefore the project was never quite finished. The bag lay in my knitting basket for several years and one day I was holding it in my hand, wondering if I could sew some of it instead.
As a tailor, it was my job first to sew, and in that way my thoughts took off. I thought: Imagine if I had more knitting to work with, so I could make something bigger. Surely there must be many others besides me who started a project and never finished it.
My first thought was to cover an Optimist dinghy (a little sail boat) with the knitted pieces. I thought it would link to the sadness of the knitwear being stranded. Then I moved on to lifeboats and eventually I thought about life crafts. At this point the project evolved from one fleet to six fleets. I decided to make the installation a morsecode SOS, using the fleets as the dots. The lines have been created using the containers in which the fleets were originally stored. This is how my project turned into a huge SOS to save our failure in life.
What do you hope people take away from your exhibit?
As the work progressed with #UNFINISHED, it became clear to me that this great knitting installation is a visual expression of the fact that it is good to talk about the things we are not so happy about or find embarrassing. We do not necessarily have to proclaim it to the whole world, but we must lighten our hearts to the elect. We should not go alone with our concerns. That’s why the #UNFINISHED motto has become “When we dare to talk about our mistakes, it sets us free”.