Passionate about the knitted form, Janine seeks to challenge the perception that knitting is limited to domestic garment production or recreational craft. Her work seeks to acknowledge and elevate knitting as a contemporary art form while celebrating its rich history and technical craftsmanship.
The knitted textile is a structure that provides both strength and elasticity by virtue of its stitch architecture. Lace knitting leans heavily on these two properties to create both solid and open spaces through which the background can be seen. Janine selects fibres that are not traditionally associated with lace knitting such as wire and paper, thriving on the challenges and possibilities these materials present. Inevitably these fibres exhibit different properties that impact the dynamic of strength and elasticity in the textile, or alter the way the solid and open spaces are created and perceived. As a result the viewer is challenged when presented with a different visual experience of the knitted form.
In Janine’s collection of jewellery, With Reference and Respect, she has used fine (.999) silver wire to create delicate pieces of adornment. The knitted architecture provides a fluidity and movement of the item when worn. The lace designs echo the theme of Reference and Respect - how we often define ourselves by our differences or distinctiveness. A line or object within space holds its own place when it references another. Yet there is inherent beauty when it becomes intertwined with another, resulting in a visual representation of interconnection and respect.
Janine Whale lives in Whangarei, in the northern aspect of New Zealand. Knitting has been an integral part of her creative life since childhood having been taught by her Mother and Grandmother, and she recalls stubbornly attempting unwearable garments with no regard to gauge or fibre.
She went on to study and practice Medicine during which time knitting was a faithful companion. A growing desire to explore creative possibilities led to further studies in Hand Knit Textiles and Design through the London City and Guild institute (2019), at which time she retired from Medicine to pursue creative endeavours. Janine’s work has varied from garment pattern production to sculptural art. Her journey into lace knitting started with a simple knitted wire leaf and a series of fortunate events, and it still surprises her where things have ended up. She currently exhibits and sells jewellery featuring lace designs, and is completing a diploma in Silversmithing.