Vermont-based artisan Emily Stoneking admits to a scientific mind that’s less than well-tuned, but she’s being modest. Her aKNITomy collection — knitted interpretations of the innards of frogs, lab rats, earthworms and the human body — have attracted interest from both the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC and San Francisco's Exploratorium.
The pieces channel Stoneking's memories of high school biology class and those formaldehyde-scented hours spent hovering over dissections, which many of us share. But they also speak to her interest in history, specifically the Medieval period, where she notes that "people were dissecting things to find out how the world works" and "the tendrils of scientific thought" can be found. It was this more humanist sensibility that motivated her to harness her knitting skills to create a softer version of science.
While the works are certainly cuddly, they aren't entirely structurally correct because of difficulties in fitting in all the organs. "I do get notes from biologists saying, ‘I love what you do, but the biology’s wrong.’" she said. “If you really wanted to be accurate, that would be pretty [ghoulish]. What I’m after is something that’s just weird enough so people stop and say, ‘What’s that?’ So they stop and think.”