Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
Craft Forward, Session 2: Body Craft - How do Bodies Shape Craft? How has craft shaped collective Bodies?
The women artist speakers during this session both used craft as action and object, either directly using the body as the canvas for the work, replicating the body, or to question the social construction of gender. As Lauren posed the question in contemplating her own work, "is it gross or beautiful?" (not unlike this image, left, of the BodyCraft Xpress machine, which seems more like a medieval torture device).
Lauren Kalman - Health and Beauty: Intersections Between Consumer Objects, Fashion, and Images of Illness
Blooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments
This series replicates and transforms disease as jeweled infections, lesions, and soars. Hybridizations of objects associated with beauty, status, or wealth, and the grotesque or undesirable aspects of the skin. Lauren is inspired by historic, medical photographs and how the body is in service of the image. Creating objects to be in service of producing images. She is interested in where boundaries are not clearly defined between ideal and non ideal bodies.
Spectacular Inkjet print, fabric
Lauren does a lot of installation pieces, to include her photography, video (of performance with the objects), and objects in an environment. I appreciate her vision for a complete viewer experience in a gallery space. Often I find myself at jewelry exhibitions (especially in museum shows with elaborate pieces) wishing I could see how the piece looked on a body, not dead in a run-of-the-mill plexi case. People rumble on and on about Craft Vs. Art, and perhaps if more artists/curators thought through the presentation of work like Lauren does, then perhaps it would no longer be a debate.
makeup image from Style.com
Projection (Earring) Digital print, gold-plated electroformed copper, foam, gold, pearls, cubic zirconium
“Gold is a material imbued with myth. Its brilliance, indelibility and non-corrodible surface have come to signify beauty, purity and immortality. To appropriate these qualities, cultures have adopted the application of gold to the body. In modern societies it can be argued that jewelry is worn as a visual, aesthetic extension of the internal desire for perfection. In contrast, I present gold jewelry as a vehicle to amplify taboo aspects of the body.”
Allyson Mitchell - Q is for Craft: Deep Lez Crafting in a Material World
Nothing relieves a sqeamish audience more than brownies and Sasquatches!
"Brownies is how I learned to make art", queer artist and activist Allyson Mitchell states right from the start. Nothing beats a bit of humor and a bit of self mocking in a presentation, right? Truly entertaining and well-spoken, Allyson had my complete attention and it seemed that the audience perked up as well as she took us on a furry adventure, "reweaving abandoned craftwork from thrift stores, activating the stories embedded in materials". Or maybe I'm just a sucker for the soft, cuddly, and anything in pink faux fur.
"Reverse Airbrushing" or "Sasquatching the [female] form"
What is acceptable or unacceptable standards of femininity, she asks?
Yes, more stuffed animals, it is an underlying craft theme i guess - but pink corduroy with teats, aaahhhh! Or this crazy hair-ears squirley girl with threatening monsters in the background that apparently were hard to keep people's hands off of during exhibition.
How about a tent-sized vagina, a "Vagina Dentata", part trance chill room, part knitter's paradise, where you can "sit and contemplate appetites out of control"...
So many discarded thrift store handicrafts, but in the end wrecked havoc with Allyson's health, dealing with years of mold and other undesirable aspects of used bedding. Don't try this at home, folks!
On a lighter note, I got a chuckle from her take on the masculine Trucker Nutz car accessory with her Goddess Balls (below) that rode around on the back of a school bus.
Emiko fabulous job covering both artists.
I is interesting that you liked Allyson Mitchell's lecture.
during the lecture, I kept thinking about the dusty, musty smell from those old afghans....cooties!!!!!
It was very honest of her to admit (at the end of her lecture) that it was giving her health problems. This should be a warning for all artists and makers. Who would have thought that old bedspreads, afghans, stuffed animals and fake fur would cause problems?
Artists and makers can never be too careful with exposure to their medium.
The readers of Emiko's post, can read my review of Body Craft which took a completely different angle.