What is that ‘Tink’?

YOU MAY be surprised when you see Adam Pritchett’s brain child at this years Foundation art degree show, they look like the illegitimate love children of a sock puppet and a tea cosy, they each have names and personalities but for those of us who don’t know our Monet from our Matisse it takes away some of the pretension that is so often exuded by art exhibits, with their quirky cuteness.

It’s difficult to miss the Tinks at the foundation art exhibit, particularly as they are dangling from the ceiling in the middle of the room, a layout that Adam admits was designed to obscure the gap so visitors would have to walk underneath. However it would be easy for them to be overshadowed by some of the ‘louder’ pieces on display in the room.

So why single out Tinks from the crowd, it’s not because they are unconventional compared to more ‘traditional’ art because there isn’t a piece in the room that couldn’t claim that to some extent. It’s because where many of the visitors would carefully observe and quietly mutter at other pieces, often bemused by what they are actually looking at, with Tinks they couldn’t seem to help but go through each of the little knitted characters reading the accompanying tags to find out their names, likes and dislikes. For  example Grandad likes Werthers Original, his moustache, the war and if you look into his monocle for too long you go blind.

Asked about the ‘vision’ behind Tinks, Adam replied: “Well my vision behind the tinks was to find a way to revive a craft like hand-knitting that most people assume only old women can do, and to try and bring it to life in an unusual and innovative way. I’d never seen dolls like these that had been knitted, and I just started writing my own patterns and making it up as I went along.

“The original idea came from a really primitive idea that me and my Gran formed as a bit of fun, we both started by toying with what kind of pattern could be used, and the tinks just formed from there. She had the technical know-how and I was just enthusiastic. The names ‘tink’ came from the knitting (it’s ‘knit’ backwards) the actual character names and details that I put on the labels were just part of the making process, once I finish stitching buttons on and stuffing the tink, I just sit and think about the possible personality that the character could have, and I just go off on one and try to come up with the most bizarre and comical traits for that character.”

When asked about some of his favourite pieces at this years show, Adam said: “I think the fine art area is much stronger than any other that I have seen, my favourite pieces were Daniel Earey’s illustrations on 5th floor, amazing drawn images of animals and human figures. Also I really liked an applied arts piece from the lancaster gallery, Chloe Jenkins I think it was, she’d made some really interesting t-shirt and clothing designs.”

The Fine art area does include some of the most impressive pieces at this years show, for example Claire Tonks ‘Various found or unused materials’ or Niki Townsend’s various aluminum constructions. The Tinks website reveals another element of Adam’s project, which allows visitors to make their own Tink by following a simple set of instructions and submit a photo of it to the site. Technically it may not be one of the most impressive pieces at the show but as American realist painter Edward Hopper said “No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”

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