Teacher and artist, Jean Westbrook knitted the original Big Cardigan in 2009 as a concept project based on ‘The Elephant in the Room’.
The idea of an ‘elephant in a room’ would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in a room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with a looming issue or problem. It is often, an important issue that is too difficult or uncomfortable to be talked about, and although ever-present and known by the people in the room, it is often ignored. Our defense mechanisms ignore difficult issues and we hide behind masks and disguises or wear our favourite clothes (or a big cosy cardigan in this case) to make us feel safe.
Jeans’ attempt to enter the Guiness World Records by making the world’s biggest cardigan was foiled, when officials classed her entry as a jumper – not to be deterred, she then embarked on another EVEN BIGGER cardigan, and called on local Macclesfield residents for help. When finally complete, the HUGE cardigan was exhibited at the 2010 Barnaby Festival in Macclesfield.
Jean recruited local wood turner, Jane Cummins to make the eight 18″ wide wooden buttons.