Liz Collins: Between Chaos and the Functional

The surfaces of Liz Collins’ knitted garments are a study in extremes. Riding a fine line between utter chaos and the functional garment, the knitted loop is secured and unravelled, stretched and shrunk, celebrated and distorted. Collins graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA and MA in Textiles. Earlier work from her MA thesis echoes the skeletal structures existing beneath the garments through knitted vertebrae like ridges clinging to the backs of sweaters and tunics. Collins more recent work has involved even freer interpretations of the knitted surface, encouraging tentacle-like loops and threadbare passages to combine with unexpected materials such as reflective fabrics and fur. Collins remarks, “I treat the knitting machine as a device to knit fabric and garments concurrently. The process manifests certain structural details such as scalloped, peek-a-boo seams, seamless collars and three-dimensional constructions that rely on the human form to come alive.” The resulting surfaces are often ambiguous at first glance. But while the methods are materials are enormously varied, a palpable sense of organic growth exudes itself from each experiment. The homely knit has been stretched to great limits to produce these surfaces, demanding much from both the knitted structure and the viewer to unravel the methods involved.

TextileForum (2/2002: 29)