My work investigates the relationship between science and memory, and is directly informed by neuroscience, immunology, anatomy, and physiology (with particular focus on the five sense organs). The human body is a source of inspiration and fascination, as it is the instrument of our lived experience — both where and how we collect implicit and explicit memories.
Hand-embroidery is my primary medium because sewing literally pierces the ‘skin’ of the paper or canvas, yielding an orderly, clean surface and a messy, chaotic underbelly — just like the skin is a calm and placid exterior that masks the messy inner workings of the human body.
As human beings, we are in a constant state of becoming, of being made by our emotional and physical experiences — by what we have smelled or touched, what we have seen or heard, where we have been or what we have eaten. My work attempts to illuminate the intricate relationship between the physical body and the individual emotions and memories it gathers over time, inviting the viewer to contemplate their own understanding of what it is to be human.
via Brian Sherwin at myartspace: Morwenna Catt uses childhood iconography to examine the roots of our desires and fears. Morwenna is interested in using these fractured displays of youthful innocence in order to explore the disparity between the mythologies of childhood and the reality of our world. She examines our collective relationship to objects and memory, nostalgia and psychosis by presenting the recognizable icons of our infancy in a manner that is sometime alarming and at other times disturbingly charming.
Using the popular knitting site, Ravelry, they started the group “600 Monsters Strong For Connecticut” dedicated to making stuffed animals to send to every student at the school, according to the group’s Facebook page.
So far the group has just more than 1,100 members [now 2,233], and many have been posting photos of their monster creations on one of the group’s threads. There are a set of guidelines the knitters must follow when it comes to stitch pattern and materials used — but there’s no limit to the level of creativity.
“This is Francis,” Ravelry user myriadflowers posted on a thread showing a picture of her monster that is grey with hints of turquoise. “I picked the name Francis because it’s my dad’s middle name, and this set of muted colours reminds me of him and the sense of assurance and strength he has always given me.”
One of the reasons we’re happy to see them arrive is that we’re starting our work with other organizations to help out kids affected by gun violence. I’m sure you all saw the sad story of the firefighters shot in Rochester, NY recently. At least one of them had small children. We’re in the process of getting some contact information for the families so we can coordinate a monster delivery to those kids. Having monsters on hand will make that so much easier and faster! It means our work can really begin, and the reason for that is because you all hav been so incredibly generous in your monster making. We never dreamed we’d be able to help more than just the kids in Newtown.
We are still on call for Newtown, though, so please don’t think we’re collecting these monsters under that guise, then passing them on to other people. The town is still recovering from the media circus, the funerals and probably dealing with a very, very hard holiday. Our contacts there are still sending positive messages, but we are respecting their privacy, as we will do for ALL the families we work with. We’re hoping to get in touch and start coordinating the delivery process after the new year.
Thank you all so, so much for helping us out, and for helping these kids. Know that every monster you send will go to a good home and help a child know there are good people out there.
"My previous work as an urban planner made me acutely aware of how big an impact the foreclosure crisis would have on our cities and towns throughout the United States. However, very little was mentioned in the news.
It was important to me to present the whole story in a way that would captivate people’s attention and make a memorable statement. Making map quilts seemed an ironic solution. Quilts act as a functional memory, an historical record of difficult times. It is during times of hardship that people have traditionally made quilts, often resorting to scraps of cloth when so poor they could not afford to waste a single thread of fabric.
The neighborhoods shown are not an anomaly; they are a recurring pattern seen from coast to coast, urban to suburban neighborhoods across the US. The problem has not been solved, it is still occurring, just changing shape, affecting more of us.”
Kathryn Clark worked as an architectural and urban designer for seven years before becoming a full time artist in 2005. A traditional painter and photographer for twenty years, her studio slowly became full of remnants of yarn, wire and stacks of linen and burlap. One day, she put the paints and paintbrushes away, pulled out the fabrics and began sewing and layering thread.
Kathryn’s work revolves around the wabi-sabi principles of simplicity and awareness of time. Sewing and weaving express the time and effort it takes to create each piece while emphasizing the simplicity of needle and thread. She also writes a blog to inspire and inform other artists who work in the unique genre called Articraft: artists who use craft in their work and craftspeople who make art: www.kathrynclark.blogspot.com
“American mass culture had gotten so far away from prizing personal ingenuity that mainstream media acknowledgement, in the form of endless features on the so-called DIY movement, was required to bring back a sense that individuals could have influence on their own surroundings. A Martha Stewart Show. A magazine about dumpster diving. Crafting, repurposing, reclying- whatever you call it, it was rarely presented as a means of going about a life. It was an aesthetic. You subscribed to the magazine, bought the tools, watched the show. You did not turn your television on its back, smash the screen, and us it as a planter. The website Etsy took off, craft fairs, boutique shops. You could buy anything you wanted from locally made craftspeople instead of big-box stores. The DIY movement was primarily a way to accessorize, a brand new way to consume.”—Anne Elizabeth Moore, from Cambodian Grrrl (via nickeyrobo)
The research survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated! And thank you to all of the Tumblr folks who reblogged and Twitter users who retweeted! You helped me surpass my goal of 100 participants. I hope to post the results soon. You can still go to this link if you want to comment about your thoughts on the survey.
Do you consider yourself a crafter? For one of my classes I had to design an online survey. This research survey will also help my master’s thesis research. If you consider yourself a crafter please participate! Thank you for your help! (AND it’s only 10 questions.)
"During World War II, everyone in Owosso, Michigan was involved on the home front, even grade-school kids like me who were asked to knit afghans for wounded soldiers.
All of us had relatives in the service and realized we were part of the war effort. I was 10 years old in 1943 and really enjoyed the knitting. I think I did it for a while before I drifter onto other things.
This photograph appeared in the Owosso Argus Press along with an article about our efforts at Emerson Elementary School in my hometown, west of Flint.”
- Richard Mathewson, Norman, Oklahoma. Full Article Here
Also there’s a great read from 'Meditations of a Knitter' where she addresses WWI & WWII homefront efforts. “In any war there’s going to be propaganda. Looking back at some of the homefront propaganda from WWI and WWII you have to see dignity in it.” This is something I’ve thought a lot about. As much as I am against war, when I’ve watched documentaries about the American homefront I’ve always felt a sense of pride followed by sadness that people have generally lost their willingness to make any sacrifices for the good of others.
It’s undeniable that we live in a very ME centered world. We take so much for granted (myself included) on a daily basis. How bad does it have to get before we finally work together again? When we return to civility? Yes, our past is tainted with racism, sexism and homophobia. We’ve come so far (and still have so far to go). But why does it feel like in other ways we’ve completely regressed? How can we bridge our dying sense of community with our modern ideas of equality? Can craft play a role?
The Snatchel Project: Let’s make a uterus or VJJ for each male rep in congress!
If they have their own, they can leave ours alone!
Who Are We?
We are women, we are strong, we are smart. And we have a sense of humor.
We do not need government interference with our doctors or our healthcare.
We do not need government probing our vaginas to help us make decisions about abortion.
We do not need government to give us guidance about whether or not to take birth control.
We do not need misogynistic pundits calling us sluts and prostitutes.
We are half of the population and we will not be treated as children or a disenfranchised minority.
Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, female or male, please join us in sending a strong message to our government representatives.
Tell your male government representatives:
“Hands off my uterus! Here’s one of your own!”
Margarita Benitez is an art + technology and fiber artist based in Chicago + Miami. She is interested in the explorations of art within the making and DIY culture. Her work is rooted in exploring underlying social issues in technology – exploring how today’s society copes with the overwhelming presence of technology, surveillance, data mining and media bombardment. Her work has been exhibited nationally, internationally, and featured in Leonardo and Surface Design magazine.
Untitled (nightvision iraq war still), 2005
MEDIUM: cross stitch
DESCRIPTION: appropriated image of iraq war night vision scene replicated in cross stitch. meditative piece about the duration of the war, the displacement of our reality and that reality which the media presents us.
war cheerleaders , 2005
MEDIUM: 22 thread count weave 54” x 36”
DESCRIPTION: This is part of a current body of work that I am developing. They are woven still images taken from live video. 22 thread count jacquard weavings printed on a computerized loom. They deal with the daily bombardment of images from the media by freezing them to 1/30 of a sec.The pieces question the displacement from reality created by such technology and the penetration of those images into our subconscious. Here we see that sometimes truth is stranger then fiction.
'HANDMADE: when design & craft meet' - article by Lidewij Edelkoort
Today I came across an excellent article by Lidewij Edelkoort. Edelkoort discusses how globalization and mass production has driven us to seek unique experiences: experiences which can be found in craft. This is exactly what I’ve been researching, but Edelkoort writes it far more eloquently and succinctly than I ever could. I started to paste in some of the highlights, but soon realized I would be pasting 90% of the article. Some highlights can be found below but I highly recommend reading the entire article. Here is the full article.
"The globalisation of the world as one market has brought about shopping boredom and uniformity with the alternative boutiques gradually disappearing in favour of chain stores, chain couture, chain food – and chain coffee houses. The idea that not only people in Paris, London and New York should live and consume the same, yet that the masses of Mumbai, Shanghai and Dubai will also do so seems stifling and impossible. Global marketing will eventually come to a standstill, making way for outsider brands and Sunday artist creations. The local will feed back to the global and will animate world brands to become passionately interactive and reactive. Introducing local colour and craft along the way.
To answer this growing global resistance to constant renewal and limitless expansion, humanity and integrity are requested for the years to come. It is time to empower goods with a new dimension; their own character, an invisible energy locked into the design process.
I believe that we will be able to make the object, concept, or service come alive to be our partner, pet or friend, and to relate to us on a direct and day-to-day level. Only when design will be empowered with emotion will we be able to create a new generation of things that will promote and sell themselves; they will have acquired an aura able to seduce even the most hardened consumers on their own terms. Only then will design have acquired soul.”
Lidewij Edelkoort is a trend forecaster, curator, publisher and educator who constantly lives in the future. Studying the links between art, fashion, design and consumer culture.
Starting point for my project are formations, shapes and material combinations that result from the rather accidental than conscious every day actions of human life. I was inspired by curtains, fabric pleats, plastic bags, fabrics that happened to be spread on the floor, wrapped objects and creased blankets. The sheer fascination that fabric drapery can evoke! I was equally absorbed by mass production of clothes, their usage (consumption) and wastage. Realising this project I am interested in various approaches: Paper or fabric installations in 3D, the processing into a two dimensional pieces of fabric and the creation of a textile object that turns into a symbiosis of 3D and 2D. First I produced installations using plain coloured fabrics. The guidelines for my formations were the above mentioned pleats and colour moods (ranges). I printed these onto fabric. This lead to a new perception (point of view) of the different composed pieces of fabric. Working on these installations an idea struck me. To new shapes, away from rolls of fabric! The fashion designer receives fabric objects and not just rolled up fabric! No yard goods! The designer’s challenge is to use these new conditions to create something new. A pair of scissors and a model demonstrate a possible realisation of that very idea.
DIYcouture is a fantastic project by Rosie Martin. Her empowering project is an answer to a fashion industry that is driven by a fictional narrative; one where all women are size 0 - 2 and have plenty of money to spend. Martin makes fashion more accessible by selling affordable instructions to clothes she designs, giving power to the consumer who ultimately creates their own garment.
DIYcouture has made two unusual clothing collections: rather than purchasing a garment, the DIYcouture customer purchases a set of simple, visual instructions, which enable them to make that garment themselves.
The instructions remove the need for complex sewing patterns. Diagrams and pictures take the maker through the creation process, so that unique, personally fitted pieces of clothing are accessible to anyone.
The DIYcouture collections are groups of simple, classic pieces that can be almost endlessly re-invented.
These form the seed of an infinite, mushrooming mega collection by a multitude of makers. Each of the pieces is a possibility brought to life again and again in a new incarnation by every person that chooses to sew it themselves.
Inspired by the thousands of invisible pairs of hands around the globe that make the clothes we buy, DIYcouture hopes to inspire people to get up to their elbows in the 3-dimensional world of creation. It supports the slow revolution. Helping people to produce garments that are precious, rather than disposable, this is the antithesis of fast-fashion.
Last week I was focusing on ‘slow textiles’. This week I found myself searching for artists who have blended traditional textiles and modern technology. I came across artist Ruth Scheuing. Below is an interview from her Surrey Art Gallery Tech Lab Residency in 2010. To view more of her work from Silk Roads, visit her website.
"Ruth Scheuing’ s residency and exhibition project Silkroads, examines the myths and metaphors of the Silk Road. Working with digital maps and images, ancient textile patterns, and a programmable loom, Scheuing creates intricately designed woven blankets. For each tapestry, she merges the patterns and geography of this important historic trade route w ith key historical textile designs that were instrumental in bridging the cultures and economies of East and West. This corridor across Asia know n as the Silk Road moved commodities, people, and ideas, including those connected with art and design."
“The Church of Craft aims to create an environment where any and all acts of making have value to our humanness. When we find moments of creation in our everyday activities, we also find simple satisfaction. The power of creating gives us the confidence to live our lives with all the love we can. By promoting creativity, we offer access to an interfaith spiritual practice that is self-determined and proactive.
The Church of Craft maintains no dogma or doctrine beyond what every member believes for themselves.”
via Wall Street Journal:
“The members of a knitting group at a tsunami-ravaged fishing village share the difficulties that thousands of homeless victims still face nearly a year after disaster swept away their lives.”
“Knitting is popular in Japan. When Ms. Sawka showed up at the Daiichi Sports Field housing complex with donated yarn, several women started using it to make blankets for the needy. Here, women knitted at the center.” View the entire slideshow.
In December I interviewed Max Ventura about Occupy Berkeley’s ‘Knit-In at the Sit-In’. Today I got an email from Max announcing their new website, occupyknit-in.org. One of my favorite features on the site is the feedback they’ve posted from the places they sent knitted items to. They’ve sent items to Cairo, Fukushima, Canada, and New York.
Recently, Occupy Newfoundland received a package from Occupy Berkeley and posted video and pics of opening the package. It’s so great to see craft making connections and lifting spirits. From the Occupy Newfoundland post: "Receiving this solidarity package warmed not only our hands and our necks and our feet — it even more warmed our hearts. To know that such time and care had gone into each and every stitch, to learn that reaching out and standing up together can happen just like that, and to see (ever more clearly) that love knows no borders…Occupy Berkeley…thank you for this gift!"