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29 Jan 2018
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16 Jan 2018
GDPR compliant at Gower Yarns

GDPR compliant at Gower Yarns

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

This website is a resource to educate the public about the main elements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)


After four years of preparation and debate, the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal and will be a direct application to all members states two years after this date. Enforcement date: 25 May 2018 - at which time those organisations in non-compliance will face hefty fines. 


The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaced the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy. The critical articles of the GDPR, as well as information on its business impact, can be found throughout this site. 



Designer trainers

3 Aug 2017
Designer trainers

Knitting is taking to the floor with designer footwear from Diesel
Who's up for the challenge to make some trainers.

These casual high sneakers are woven from breathable polyester in a camouflage knit design. The shoes feature lace-up detailing on the upper and side zip for closure. The vulcanised rubber sole is embellished with a Diesel logo plaque to the back.


Craftivism allows feminists to reclaim traditionally feminine skills – and defy oppression

15 Jul 2017
Craftivism allows feminists to reclaim traditionally feminine skills – and defy oppression The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration on 21 January, millions rallied together across the world in a series of Women’s Marches intended to demonstrate solidarity with other women, and promote issues of gender equality in the face of the new Trump administration’s regressive politics.

Among the many images that resonated from the marches were the pussyhats which became the protest’s informal symbol. Simply knitted, brightly coloured, and reclaiming the language of one of Trump’s more heinous campaign controversies, pussyhats were handcrafted by participants to "create a collective visual statement and help activists be better heard”. This statement was arguably so effective that one week on from the protests, Time magazine has chose to feature the pussyhat on its front cover.

On seeing these crafty symbols of resistance, one of Trump’s aides questioned whether the hats were made in America or foreign imports, belying a scepticism both of the protesters’ authenticity, and of the very notion of the handcrafted.

But as Abby Franquemont, author of Respect The Spindle, noted on Buzzfeed Community, and as anyone who crafts themselves will tell you, it is obvious from their imperfections that these lumpy and hastily-knitted hats were handmade locally in America – and in the other countries where protests took place. As the online comments using the community #pussyhat hashtag highlight, they were knitted and crocheted by hands furious for an outlet, and eager for a tangible way to channel their anger at the divisive politics Trump and his supporters embody.

In fact, it is not surprising that a handcrafted object would become central to a protest movement like the Women’s March. Craft has long been used to make political statements. Rozsika Parker, for example, has written about how second-wave feminist artists in the 1970s chose embroidery as the "perfect medium to give form to consciousness-raising”, and the last decade saw knitting resurge in popularity, as it was reclaimed from its grandmotherly image and transformed into a subversive craft regularly deployed for political purposes.

Debbie Stoller, a third-wave feminist and editor of Bust magazine, led this subversive knitting trend, with the publication of her Stitch ‘n’ Bitch knitting manual, calling for a new generation of knitters to "take back the knit”.

There has been considerable scholarly attention to this type of contemporary knitting with feminist authors exploring knitting’s "craftivism” through practices like yarn bombing, knitting prosthetic breasts for mastectomy patients, and knitathons. These activities can build crafting communities which can function as sites of resistance to injustice and inequality. It is here that the PussyHat Project arguably connects.

Craft is also a slow process, and in submitting to this temporality and engaging in intentional processes of making as in the PussyHat Project, we give ourselves space to consider our position on big social or political questions, and to consider how we might each contribute to creating more resilient communities. Crafts like knitting offer the opportunity to engage with questions of global political significance in a tangible way. As Betsy Greer who coined the term "craftivism” said, "the creation of things by hand leads to a better understanding of democracy, because it reminds us that we have power”.

It’s also important to note how powerful and transformative its effects can be at the individual level. There’s a growing body of research which highlights the ways in which craft can be a powerful tool for mental and physical health. The Wellmaking project at Falmouth University, for example, focused on the ways that craft can help people connect and reflect in therapeutic ways. A recent study by the Women’s Institute in the UK found that craft has a positive benefit on mental health. And my own research into what I call the "digital dressmaking community” has found that for many "digital dressmakers”, sewing offers an important space for being kind to ourselves and practising self-care.

But craftivism also enables us to reflect on broader questions about the very place and power of craft itself. Fiona Hackney’s work, for example, and my own research on the revival of home dressmaking, have both explored the ways in which acts of craftivism may allow for a feminist reclaiming of traditionally feminine skills. This exemplifies craftivism’s power: it offers the space to advocate for social change in a gentle way, while presenting a radical opportunity to question the meanings we associate with certain practices.

A common criticism of these revived craft practices is that they distract from supposedly "real” political issues, and that they are simply a form of "cupcake feminism”. This is arguably why the sight of pussyhats in the Women’s March was so powerful: that traditionally "feminine” crafts, which have been viewed as antithetical to radical/feminist action, are being deployed precisely for such aims. In these times of dark political shifts and considerable global anxiety, that the Women’s March participants would choose to turn to craft to send a message to Trump and his allies seems to be entirely appropriate.

 
 

Cutting-edge knitting: is this the future of textiles?

10 Jan 2017
Cutting-edge knitting: is this the future of textiles? The headquarters of Unmade, where old-fashioned knitting meets cutting-edge technology.

"We’ve got physicists, computer scientists, a user-experience expert,” says Ben Alun-Jones, one of the three founders of Unmade, which uses coding to power knitting machines as though they are 3D printers. He met Hal Watts and Kirsty Emery when they were all at the Royal College of Art. Alun-Jones and Watts did industrial design and Emery specialised in knitwear. They had an idea to apply what they knew about 3D printing to the 1980s computer-programmed knitting machine. "They can be used to make something that is useful rather than making just anything,” he says. "You press a button and a garment comes out.” It’s a far cry from the knit-and-natter sessions that were the last big knitting craze.

By enabling people – and brands – to "print” clothes to order, the whole process of clothing manufacture can be reconfigured. Unmade will never produce anything that nobody wants. It is estimated that 10% of all the clothes made in the world go straight to landfill, which, says Alun-Jones, is "insane”. "We seem to have lost something in mass production where you are making things for everyone, but everything is made for no one.”

Read More .....

Knitting, baking and painting improve well-being and mental health, study finds

15 Jan 2012
Knitting, baking and painting improve well-being and mental health, study finds

Knitting, baking and painting improve well-being and mental health, study finds

It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly it happened, but at some point over the past few years, wool got cool.

No longer the preserve of grannies, knitting is now a popular hobby amongst younger generations, with millennials showing off their creations on instagram, making pilgrimages to niche wool shops and hosting hat-making parties with their friends.

And it’s not just knitting that’s made a comeback of late - a whole host of traditional and crafty skills like jam-making, crocheting and painting have had a resurgence.

According to a new study, however, taking up one of these hobbies won’t just make you terribly on-trend, it’ll also improve your mental health.

The research studied 658 students and discovered that after engaging in something crafty, people felt not only happier and calmer the following day but had more energy too.

Knitting and baking have long been lauded for their therapeutic nature, but the researchers also included crocheting, jam-making, cooking, performing music, painting, drawing, sketching, digital design and creative writing in their list of beneficial activities.

The results of the study, carried out by Otago University, New Zealand, will no doubt please members of the Women’s Institute, which has always placed an emphasis on such traditional past-times. 

Janice Langley, chairman of the National Federation of Women's Institutes, told the Daily Mail: "WI members have enjoyed creative activities and crafts since the very first WI meeting in 1915, so it's great to hear this study has found some evidence that these interests could lead to increased well being and creativity

And with the past decade having seen a notable increase in WI members and the creation of new branches, it would appear more and more people are discovering the benefits of getting crafty and domestic.

Perhaps most interesting about the study’s findings is that the boost in well-being from a creative activity endures too: "Engaging in creative behaviour leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day,” explained the study’s lead author, Dr Tamlin Connor.

So if you want to feel better tomorrow, pick up a wooden spoon or some knitting needles today