FASHION + TEXTILES- DJCAD ‘18
Rhia Cook’s work explores why young people might be turned-off by politics whilst attempting to find solutions which could encourage them to engage with a serious topic.
“To counteract the seriousness of politics, I created ridiculous, silly and humorous versions of politicians which are easier for young people to connect with- Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon. I designed a range of knitted fabrics that reflect their public personas- soft, mossy and granddad-like for Corbyn and something more bold, consistent and strong for Sturgeon. These fabrics were then used to create large abstracted doll versions of the politicians.
I also used digital print as a way to create a more realistic interpretation of the individuals, creating collages of their faces that are both instantly recognisable and easy to interact with as squishy, soft face cushions.
I’ve always been interested in politics, right the way through high school and into university; specifically the relationship between people and politicians, and how change can be created from the ground up. I’ve also been very aware that I’m in a minority, and that politics isn’t something many people my age are generally interested in, which fits with a wider societal stereotype that young people aren’t engaged in politics.
The objects I created have been used to design a workshop which focuses on getting more young people engaged in politics, which is my focus going forward. Through a series of games and interactive activities, participants are subtly asked to think about what they want their political representatives to be doing. At the end, participants are asked to design their own politician in the format of a Top Trump card. A lot of the answers are funny and jokey because of the nature of the work itself, but even in the jokey responses there is a lot to be learned; they hint at what young people really care about and what they want their politicians to stand for”.
Rhia hopes to start delivering and marketing these workshops in the future, and is also showing her work at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester between 11th-14th of October, and at UKYA City Takeover in Nottingham in February 2019.
Visit her website rhiacook.co.uk or follow her @rhiacookknits for more information.