9/8 Week 2

During last week’s writing workshop, I came up with these three questions below that I want to explore for my topic of interest.

Questions

  • How can handcraft be a form of communication which allows creators to exchange their thinking and emotion with others?

Through the process of explaining my questions to my classmates, I found my questions not clear enough for them to understand what I want to focus on or in other words, in my mind, I do not have a clear answer when I was asked for reasons: why to make handcraft be a form of communication; why do people have to cherish every stage of them; why use craftwork as a measurement of time; what kind of craftwork do I want to focus on and why…

Liza shared some resources with me and suggested me to think why and how craftwork makes it unique compared with other manufacture. I decided to go back to the very beginning and start with the basics: What Craft Could Be Made To Mean?

  • cultural practice

Quote from Readings:

“Craft infuses the material world with enchantment not by revealing knowledge, nor by concealing it, but rather by rendering knowledge into material form, thus producing a moment of wonder.”

“Transforming the craft object into autonomous art denies the ways that craft relates to real life.”

New Questions:

What is the sensorial nature of craft (small, taste, texture, etc.)?

What is the handmade future in our digital culture?

If craftwork is regarded as a living object, what does craftwork’s life look like?

Prototype: Documentation of the life of a wool sweater

It is in the early spring of a year before ewes give birth, it is the best time to shear the fleece from the sheep. Local experienced shearers only take around 2–3 minute to shear a sheep. When they are shearing the sheep, they always discard the belly, leg, face, and head fleece. After shearing, shearers lay the wool out on the table and trim off the neck wool, all edges of the fleece, and the sweat locks. After cleaning the wool, worker fluff the fleece by separating the fibers in order to get it ready to spin into yarn. Roving is the final step before spinning. The wool is divided into small, even strips called pencil rovings that are collected on large spools. Workers spin the roving into yarn by using different types of spinning wheels. Then, the Yarn “White” is ready for use!

After a long trip, Yarn “White” along with its friends arrive at a local Knitting Supplies store in Bloomington, Indiana. They are all placed on the shelves and waiting for someone to bring them home. In a Sunday morning, an old lady comes into the store. The pure and clean color of “White” attracts the lady’s attention and she thinks it will be the best color for her newborn grandson Tommy. “White” comes home with the old lady, and it cannot control itself to imagine what it will look like with old lady’s fine craftsmanship. After 4-week’s needle sway, “White” becomes a sweater! It is so soft and gentle. “White” cannot wait to see how it looks like on little Tommy.

It is a sunny afternoon, Tommy finally comes to grandma’s home. “White” is a little bit upset because it is too large for the one-month Tommy. “White” has to wait, and it silently prays that Tom would grow up quickly…

Two months later… “White” is unable to hold back its excitement — Tommy even looks cuter than its imagination while wearing it. “White” and Tommy become best friends in this cold winter! However, “White” never knows the day of parting would come so fast. Baby Tommy grows so fast. The sleeves are too short and “White” no longer can protect Tommy’s little belly. This winter, “White” is alone in the closet. It consoles itself that there will be another chance to see Tommy again! Tommy sits in the closet, wait and wait…

One day afternoon, “White” is taken out by grandma surprisingly. “White” is being unknotted, rolled into a ball, and knitted again. “White” is placed in a red box and packaged with a nice bag. “White” becomes a pair of new gloves and it will be with Tommy again!

Prototype Reflection

In this prototype, I tried a new direction by using a narrative way to tell stories of the life of craftwork when it is considered as a living object. From the point of craftwork’s view to depict the long journey that the craftwork takes to arrive at and accompany with its owner. For me, this prototype is a great chance to navigate the complicated process that how craftwork starts with raw material and finally becomes a finished work. And also, I hope people who read my stories will cherish their received craftwork more.

Letter

Hi, craft lover, receiver and buyer

to lover:

How do you feel when you making stuff? Do you feel as if time has stopped? Or do you feel the time is passing too fast? What do you think craft means to you? Skill/Hobby/Memory/Culture… While the massive production/ manufacture gradually takes place of the handicraft, what is the reason that makes you insist on crafting? To me, the craft is a material experience. I feel the texture while making and I embed the stories and memories with every step of hand performance.

to receiver:

Do you remember how you felt when you received the craftwork from your friends/relatives? “It must take him/her a very long time to make it” “It is the most meaningful gift that I have ever received” “How did him/her do that, it looks so complicated to make” Do you still cherish your gift as you just received it? Or does it stay alone in the shelf covered with a thick layer of dust?

to buyer:

Handcraft has been a cultural and historical carrier for a long time. Do you still keep the blanket/ scarf that you brought at tourist attractions when traveling abroad? Do you remember what makes you make the purchase decision and what makes you leave it alone in your closet?

Share your feeling with me. I am your helper. I believe every craftwork provides different sensual experiences beyond visual arts. I want to help you cherish every stage of craftworks.

Best,

Tingwei

My Book List: (will keep updating)

  • Objects and Meaning: New Perspectives on Art and Craft (Fariello M. Anna & Paula Owen)

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