One of my current projects (den) relies on two things – firstly public involvement and secondly that art and craft can co-exist in relative peace.
In recent decades craft has suffered quite a severe decline and this has led many people to question exactly what craft is compared to art. I believe they are two ends of a spectrum with lots of overlap in between. Art has moved away from making in a way that craft has not. Centuries ago St Francis of Assisi said:
I know lots of crafts people out there who put their whole heart into their work, and equally, many artists who do not make objects of any kind, so this definition is no longer completely relevant.
(This image is from quotesgram.com)
The exhibition I’m joint-curating is getting closer. We have the selection of books, we have the theme, one of the team has designed the posters and we are just waiting for them to be printed so we can spend a lovely(!) day distributing them around the area. This is the legwork you have to do in exchange for all the exciting bits.
It’s a really interesting exercise, but there is that element of doubt because even though I have not created the artwork (in this case the books) I feel as though there is a part of me in this exhibition and that I am opening that part up to scrutiny by the general public. Not the most comfortable of feelings.
Before Christmas I decided to spend a week just writing whatever was in my head. I set myself parameters, the two main ones being that it was done over seven consecutive days and the writing was done three times a day – I stopped whatever I was doing to whip out my notebook and scribble.
The finished product will not necessarily make sense to everyone because it is what I was thinking or doing at the time, but that doesn’t matter. I was interested in the visuals of the words. I have used this writing to create a sample artist book that will be developed further as time goes on.
Here is a small portion from that book:
Hungry, need breakfast
Unlock the shop
Having lunch, now want to sleep
Its an interesting exercise and one I will return to at some time as this project develops. I also wonder if it could be developed further. As it stands it is a simple journal style of writing and was somewhat cathartic (I chose an up and down sort of week).
This project is developing fast. I’ve jumped from the thinking stage to the planning stage in one quick leap. It could be quite frightening if I let myself worry too much about it simply from a point of view of keeping everything under control and not letting anything escape – I don’t want it to end up a bit like trying to get hold of my cat to take her to the vets – as fast as you get hold of one end, the other is wriggling free and scratching in the process.
People are coming forward wanting to be a part of the project, and that’s even without any sort of advertising. Last semester when this idea first began to develop, I was worried that I would not get enough people creating ‘fronds’ for me to create a den of any size with but I am starting to think that won’t be a problem.
Maybe one of the main attractions is that no skills are needed? The process of finger knitting is a comforting memory for many people, often associated with childhood and this is exactly what I want to tap into. TS Elliot apparently talked about the ‘familiarity of known relationships’ I’m not absolutely sure where the quote actually came from but I think something like that is going on here.
The first finger knitting session will start soon.