For Longing

​by Christen Mattix

Social Fabric
1302 Commercial Street
Bellingham, WA  98225

Monday through Saturday 11-6
Sunday 11-4

From May 1, 2012 to July 16, 2015, I sat for an hour each day at a former bus stop in Bellingham WA, knitting a half-mile link from the bench to the Bay—meanwhile engaging place, people, and time. A form of art as social practice, the work invited spontaneous social interaction from neighbors and passersby who complete the work, holding it in memory long after the installation ends.  The knit line was stretched across the street, forcing people to deliberate as to whether or not to drive over art, sparking conversation.  The element of surprise, poetry and possibility was vital to the work, giving unsuspecting people an aesthetic shot-in-the-arm in their daily routine.  I made eye contact with people as they drove by, exchanging smiles, breaking down the wall between driver and pedestrian, car and flesh.  As social interaction becomes increasingly superficial and disembodied, I offered my unguarded presence both on the bench and through my online journal to those hungry for authentic connection.  The slowness of the journey and the gradual accumulation of knit yarn on the hose reel makes visible the power of each of our small, daily practices over time.