Friday, August 26, 2011

feeling all artsy craftsy...

very wordy post ahead
proceed with caution ...

(found in the forest.... I'm not sure what it once was... baby wombat maybe?)

I read a wonderfully articulate post this morning on Alisa Golden's blog - Making Handmade Books
(If you're a handmade book lover and haven't discovered this blog yet you really should drop by - it's terrif)

(damn but I admire writers who can get their ideas across so well all without jumping on anyone else's toes -  definitely not one of my character strengths!)

I loved what Alisa had to say about the value of craft skills and the value of the DIY steam-punk craft movement 

I thought - 'What synchronicity!'

Last month I read Peter Dormer's small, quirky but totally fab book: 'The Art of the Maker'

In the book, (basically an extended essay... published 1994) Dormer argues on behalf of craft and craft skills - hoping to convince artists (and the arts industry) to engage in understanding the craft of their artform... oh and to have craft skills be recognised for what they are - tacit knowledge, not easily won by the maker, valuable and to be valued... (amongst other themes)

here's a little gem from Dormer's text:
"What is especially valuable about craft is that once it is possessed by the individual it cannot be taken away and becomes a massive addition to the individual's life. To know HOW is a much more powerful and enriching position to be in than merely to know OF something"
(emphasis mine)

the text is full of little gems like this that really resonate with me....

Then last week the ABC screened the show 'Making it Handmade' (you can still catch it on i-view - but only for another 2 days)

Amanda wrote a lovely post about the show and if you follow the bloggy path, you'll see I commented (in my usual manner) about some of the things I didn't quite like about the show....

In essence - I'm not keen on TV shows (etc) that emphasise all that I DON'T like about the art world promotion/adoption of craft in arts practice (which I left as comments on amanda's post) ...
But I'd like to reiterate -  it's the TV SHOW that I wasn't fond of, not newly emerging crafting creatures or craft communities --- hey - for any craft to have a future, new folk need to be interested and involved in sewing or knitting or calligraphy or bookbinding or working leather or wood or macrame or... (please put your craft here) .... without new folk getting excited about craft, there will be no future generation of crafters (expert or otherwise) and a craft and all its included skill set will be lost...

narrrr - what bugs me is when the media offers 'iffy' craft skills up to the general masses as an example of all that's exciting and cutting-edge and arty and valuable and (eeek) laudable about craft as art....  I've got to say the program  'Making it Handmade' was an 'A'-grade example of just that.

I'm no crafty queen - I believe wholeheartedly that one can be an advocate for craft skill without becoming precious, exclusionary or elitist - in fact if I look back, that very idea has been central to my arts practice...  add this to my long avowed arty ethos: successful art = the alignment of concept + process + materials...  and that pretty much sums me up in a simple artsy/crafty equation!

corrr I haven't written this much difficult stuff for a loooooong time..... 

I feel as stripped bare as those poor unidentified bones up above.

(I'm a maker not a writer!)

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this thoughtful post, and thanks for your link to Alisa Golden. Interesting to read your ethos statement. As for the offering up of "iffiness," this bothers me, too, but then I realize that catering to a low common denominator has been the way of things since forever. One of my books from the 1950s encouraged homemakers to express their creativity by decorating dish drainers, and then the details of making this particular type of wall art was detailed in comprehensive steps. With technical drawings yet. I have always felt sort of sorry for the woman who made them.


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx