People investing in skills and craft.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Grayson Perry- Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

Went to see the Grayson Perry, it was really interesting but seemed a lot more Grayson Perry than unknown craftsman. Well I guess it was his solo show. Was very well structured and tight and led you through the exhibition well. Had imagined it bigger but it was quite nice and intimate instead. These aren't photos from the actual exhibition, just photos of different artefacts of the same groups as was shown, to show a rough idea of what I saw. 

“Deep in the mountains of my mind there is a sacred place where there is a monument to skill.”

Asafo Flag.

Egypt 11th Dynasty Soulhouse

“The Rosetta Vase” 2011

“Craftsman Hero in the Digital Age”, “The Cult of Modern Art”

“The Artist- veiled existential thoughts, legacy of childhood, curiosity, play, hubris, autobiography, fantasy world, humor…”

“The Frivolous Now” 2011

(photo steven white)

Boli Figure, Bumuna, Mali


“A modern artist can also be a bit of a magician, having the ability to transform ordinary materials into something significant.”

Nail with magical symbols ROMAN. 

Siberia, 1850 pine + ivory
“Models of Summer camp and a dog sledge”


Sarakatsam Costume Greel, from Alexandraoupolos, Thrace 1900s


Paintings illustrating the story of Harischandra. Karnataka, Southern India, 1850-1950 goache.


Map based on Bungan’s ‘Pilgrims progress’, W.Jeffery’s. british 1800. Hand coloured etching.

Image of Conficus. Chinese, Qing Dynasty, Paper Rubbing.

Relics of the Holy Roman Empire kept in the church ot the Holy Ghost, Nuremburg. German 1470-80. Hand coloured woodcut. –interesting presentation of a collection of items?

Figure of a saint’s head, Goa, Southern India, 1600s Ivory

“The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman” 2011
-“This tomb is a memorial to all the anonymous skilled men and women who have crafted the wonders of history. A site of pilgrimage where we might celebrate the fluency and loving care with which they embroidered on costume, carved a chair, painted a vase or built a temple. It takes the form of an iron ship sailing into the afterlife; it is hung with artifacts mainly from the British Museum collection. The bottles represent offerings of blood, sweat and tears. In the central reliquary is an example of the original tool which begat all tools, a flint hand axe 250,000 years old.”

--“Craftsmanship is often equated with precision but I think there is more to it. I feel it is more important to have a long and sympathetic hands on relationship with materials. A relaxed, humble, ever-curious love of stuff is central to my idea of being an artist. An important quality of great art of the past was the pure skill in the artists use of materials. In celebrating craftsmanship I also salute artists, well most of them.”

Seminar Record.

For our elective,  I was in the Sustainability and Manufacture group, led by Hannah Lewis and Adrian Holme.

In our first week of seminars, we went to see Orsola de Castro at the studio of From Somewhere, a great company that highlights the discard at source of 'waste' materials, by using fabrics reclaimed from other designers off cuts. It was a really fascinating visit and a great insight into the world of fashion. I was shocked at some of the figures- for example typical waste of a specific material by a high street brand could be 7,000 metres. It was really interesting to see somebody using waste to a real advantage, to both make beautiful clothes and also to highlight important issues to peers and consumers. Orsola said some really interesting things about process- about working with fashion students "out of 80 students not one wants to be a pattern cutter". And that process is what gives us our mistakes, mistakes show us what we are really good at. "We have forgotten about process'.
And also
"Address waste before it becomes rubbish".

A few weeks later (after Christmas) we had a really good talk from Sprout Design

Which was a really good reminder on topics like being aware of the limits of the world's resources, and how we can use design for positive change.

It was interesting to hear him talking about Sprout Design as a business, "using sustainable and inclusive design to find opportunities" and design being sustainable and inclusive- the relationship between people and objects, and also the importance of expressing and communicating your ideas visually. Dematerialisation and the life of products was also a very interesting subject, and the idea of doing more with less. Also the prioritisation within the cycle of products- reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, landfill. It was really interesting to hear that when Sprout worked with B&Q, the head of the company had left over the introduction of patio heaters, which was an unexpected environmental stance from such a big company.

After the talk, we went to the Sugru factory in East London. Sugru is an air forming rubber, widely used to fix things and creatively used in many different ways.

It was really interesting to hear the whole story behind a product, see who made it, where it was made. Their customer relations were also really interesting- a lot on hacking sights and blogs, giving them an audience all around the world.

On the same day we also grouped up and talked about the progress of our research. I was with Jazz, who  is looking at craft as an alternative to consumerism. She had some really interesting facts, like that the same part of your brain that you use to shop is the 'creative' section, so that's why you feel constructive when shopping. She thought she was going to look at how that could be channeled into something actually creative, which could be really interesting.  She also found out that the amount of money spent anually on make-up in the US could feed all the starving people in the world for a year.
She wants to find out how modern ideals can be challenged, and look into consumer behaviour. I thought what could be quite interesting is comparing prices/costs of homemade items vs shop bought items.

In our second group seminar, Kim and Jazz both talked about their research and we discussed it as a group (see video below). There were some really interesting topics discussed and brought up, especially the ideas of sinus-milieus in Germany, and reminding ourselves of the times in which we live, our own context and in terms of environmental issues and social change the feeling that we are at some sort of starting point now.

Bethan Laura Wood

Really interesting piece, Stain by Bethan Laura Wood. A very playful look at our relationship with objects, and seeing the interest and beauty in an object that changes through human use.

"Stain is a set of a teacups designed to improve through use. This project examines the assumption that use is damaging to a product, for example, scratches on an iPod).
The interior surface of the cup is treated so as to stain more in predetermined places. The more the cups are used, the more the pattern is revealed. Over time they will build up an individual pattern dependent on the users personal way of drinking tea."

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Imogene + Willie

Out of Blue: Imogene + Willie from Ian Leach on Vimeo.

Imogene + Willie make beautiful hand made jeans, from loom-woven selvedge. Great video telling the story of the company.

See more here.