Eileen Braybrook is a knitter. A mad knitter. She can knit all kinds of things you probably didn’t realise were knit-able, and what’s more, she makes it look easy. Knitting is her specialty.
Working out of the Tinning Street studio complex in Brunswick (and occasionally on the couch in front of the TV), Eileen discovered her ambidextrous skill in her late twenties. ‘I didn’t even know knitting was something you could do for a living,’ she admits. Feeling a little unsatisfied with work a few years ago, she picked up the needles as a creative outlet, and hasn’t looked back since. She graduated from a Bachelor of Textile Design at RMIT in 2013, majoring in knitting.
These days, Eileen splits her time between teaching Textile Design at RMIT, working part-time as a textile designer at a homewares company, and working on her own knitting pieces in the studio every other moment. Eileen’s knitting practice moves between two distinct outlets. There’s the everyday functional pieces she makes, including cushions, blankets, scrunchies, beanies, socks and lots of different items of clothing. Then there are more conceptual and experimental pieces she makes for exhibitions. Last month she exhibited work alongside artist John Brooks, as part of her first major show. ‘I love collaborating with people because I want to do so much, but you can’t know how to do everything!’ she says.
While much of Eileen’s work is the simple product of a pair of needles and a pair of hands, recently she has been investigating machine knitting techniques, and working with local manufactures to realise some of her more ambitious ideas. ‘I had some jacquard knitted pieces manufactured, and was really surprised by how long it took to develop those pieces,’ she explains. ‘Although the machine knits them in an hour, it took about 5 months of research and development to get there!’
Currently, Eileen is in the process of launching her very own knitwear label. ‘I’m really looking forward to bringing something new into the world,’ she says.
To see more of Eileen’s work, visit her website here.