The slogan ‘eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest’ was coined by Robert Owen of the Eight Hour Day movement in response to working hours in the industrial revolution.

Sam Meech’s machine-knitted banner reinterprets the heritage of the textile industry in the north west of England, whilst documenting the current experience of the freelance creative.

The design incorporates data collected from a range of people working in the digital, creative and cultural industries, and examines how the contemporary working day differs Owens’ ‘888’ ideal.

As digital tools allow us to engage in work at home (or in transit), the distinction between work, rest and recreation is increasingly lost. Whether a freelancer or a full time employee, we often struggle to avoid 'bringing your work home'

The final work is produced on a domestic knitting machine using a combination of digital imaging tools and traditional punchcard systems.

The popular introduction of domestic knitting machines in the 1950s brought the factory into the home, and saw the elevation of a hobby into a one-person cottage industry. More recently the electronic knitting machine has become a popular with hackers and makers.

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Punchcard Economy is a development of the artists work with the NEPHRA Knit and Natter group in New Moston, exploring the overlap between knitting machines and digital imaging, and his research into textiles manufacturing history in North Manchester.

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