What is that noise coming from Spinning Plate? It’s the knitting machines of course! Making panels for the towers. And Venise St.Pierre is the woman – she is our knitting machine guru and has the skills to prove it. Meet Venise… better yet, come on by Spinning Plate and really meet Venise… or just read on.
1.What is your History with Pittsburgh?
I moved to Pittsburgh from the North Shore of Massachusetts in 1977. I landed a job at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in the prop department at the age of 18.
As a teenager I started making stuffed animals with my mothers fabric scraps. For my thirteenth birthday I got my first sewing machine. I sat down and started sewing and I haven’t been able to stop. It wasn’t long before I realized the variety of materials to sew, knit, crochet, embroider and sculpt with was endless. As a professional theatrical costumer and craftsperson I get to explore new techniques in combination with traditional fiber art methods to make everything from Victorian gowns to 8 foot angel wings and giant man eating plants.
I have had the opportunity to get to know some of the mysteries of knitting machines. I was introduced to a pile of knitting machine parts through the generosity of Carnegie Mellon University. The pile was hauled to my house where the mysteries slowly unraveled. With the help of Norman, my brilliant mechanically minded husband, we turned the pile into three working knitting machines. The knitting machines would be an important tool in quickly making the knitted goods for the bridge towers. I won’t deny that there was some trial and error. As long as we learned something we refused to be discouraged. I only wish I had six arms to work all the machines at one time. I’ve also enjoyed getting friends involved in making panels. It’s been amazing to see the variety of work that has been collected.
We’re yarn bombing a bridge! We need to prepare 30,000 square feet of fiber art that will be attached to the bridge. What challenge?
5. How can others support your work with KtB?
Since I have not grown four arms please come to Spinning Plate Gallery and learn how to work a knitting machine. It’s a nice shoulder workout with a colorful product to show for your effort. Great way to help for anyone who doesn’t want to pickup knitting needles or a crochet hook.