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Posts Tagged ‘handcraft’

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Photo: Anonymous twitter user
An embroidered “village” of temperatures, inspired by Nathalie Cichon. Handcrafters aren’t about to look away from the reality.

Every day I think about a blogger I know who had to step back from WordPress due to illness in the family. She wrote the most beautiful posts and commented thoughtfully on the posts of others. And because she was a weaver, quilter, and broadminded thinker, among other things, I know she would have liked this story about people using their handcrafts in a cause. Perhaps I will email her the link.

Rebecca Onion writes at “Future Tense,” a feature of Slate magazine, “As January became February, I noticed that green shoots from the daffodils in my front yard in Ohio were already poking above the ground. On Sunday, writer Josie George shared a photo on Twitter of a scarf she had been knitting, with a daily row for the temperature and weather in her town.

‘It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year,’ she wrote. ‘A way to notice and not look away.’

“In response to George’s viral Tweet, a number of knitters, cross-stitchers, and quilters shared their own projects. The idea of a temperature scarf, it turns out, is at least a half a decade old, and a whole lot of people are trying to chart the ‘new normal’ in yarn.

“In 2015, Joan Sheldon, a marine scientist, knit a scarf depicting global average temperatures from the 1600s to the present. Last year, the St. Paul Star Tribune covered a knit-along called Weather or Knot, conducted by one of the city’s yarn stores, that asked knitters to make a temperature blanket or scarf; that knit-along was inspired by the Tempestry Project, a group founded in Washington state in 2017, that now has chapters across the country. Climate crafting, it seems, has come into its own. …

“The image at the top of this article is the work of a cross-stitcher from France, who is making a little ‘village’ of houses with the low temperature of the day stitched on the door and windows and the high temperature on the walls. She said via email that she started her project after seeing the idea discussed on a Facebook fan group for the French cross-stitch designer Nathalie Cichon. …

‘ I pictured my project as a personal memo of the temperatures of 2020,’ she said over email. ‘However, the further I go the more I can see the impact it can have. I am angry and sad every time I have to stitch a house with a color that shouldn’t be there. …

“I spoke with Fran Sharp, a quilter from Massachusetts who had begun work on a temperature quilt without quite knowing how many other people were carrying out similar projects. … When I shared George’s thread with Sharp, she was full of new ideas. ‘This got me thinking about all the different things one could portray,’ she said. ‘I made a list. Temperature extremes, effects on animal life, food production.’ …

“The knitter, quilter, or cross-stitcher who works on a climate-related design can make interesting design choices that force deep interaction with the data. The Weather or Knot design, for example, featured different colors for absolute temperatures, and varied stitches that reflected whether the day’s temperature was above or below the average. …

“Katharine Schwab pointed out in a Fast Company piece, knitting has long been recognized as conveying mental health benefits. But there’s more to this particular kind of craftivism than self-care. The act of crafting [is], itself, a sort of protest against the industrial world that gave us climate change in the first place. ‘Crafting creates slow space, a speed at odds with the imperative toward hyperproduction,’ Jack Bratich and Heidi Brush write in a history of crafting and activism. …

“These projects also play with the idea of ‘steganography’— the concealment of secret information in plain sight. … The history of fiber and textile art is full of steganography, real, fictional, or anecdotal: Madame Defarge of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, knitting a list of people to be guillotined; the Belgian resistance during WWII, recruiting women whose windows were located over train yards to knit patterns of the trains’ arrivals and departures; enslaved women sewing codes into quilts that helped people navigate the Underground Railroad.” More.

“Future Tense” is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

Hat Tip: ArtsJournal

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Sari weaving at Kanchipuram — a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

One Instagram account I follow is The_Deepaks, which today posted a video about silk weaving that fascinated me. Instagram doesn’t make it easy to share posts, so I hunted around YouTube until I found another video on silk weaving.

The text accompanying the YouTube video is not in perfect English but is worth reprinting. “The saree is an unstitched garment worn by the women India, that reflects the vast aesthetics to suit a women’s need for adornment and cultural identity. It is a traditional wear across India of different styles depending on the region and occasion. Silk sarees (Pattu sarees) are renowned for their intricate work and adds value through Zari work which is considered to be special.

“These are characterized by huge contrast border offers an ethnic look along with appealing color combination, made through the inclusion of checks of varied colors and geometric patterns. Fine stripes as well as checks in both horizontal and vertical manner add to the relish of the fabric. Traditional motifs found are peacock and parrot with colors in mustard, brick red and black.”

Other videos I found bemoaned the dying art of silk weaving. It’s really unfortunate that the sari weavers, inevitably competing with machines, can no longer make a living doing the work by hand.

I wonder if some of them could earn a living teaching Westerners who appreciate handcrafts. I could imagine tour buses full of people coming for courses by skilled craftsmen and craftswomen.

More at Wikipedia, here.

Video: Dsource Ekalpa India

 

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My friend and former colleague Mary Ann acquires, edits, and designs lovely craft books for Quarry. Today on Facebook, she linked to this article by one of her authors, Los Angeles Times writer Jeannine Stein.

Jeannine has published two craft books on making your own books: Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials and, this year, Adventures in Bookbinding: Handcrafting Mixed-Media Books. This quote from Stein’s LA Times article gives you an idea of how she thinks about these projects.

“As I learned more complicated traditional bindings, I also gravitated toward unorthodox materials such as 19th century photographs, old quilts, cereal boxes and vintage record albums. My fascination with these materials was really born from books. Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books made me crazy for worn, faded quilts, calico fabric and rough, unbleached cotton and linen that to this day inform my work. I cannot go to a flea market or thrift store without pawing through every basket of vintage linens, and I have a vast collection of 19th century tin types, carte de visite photographs and cabinet cards that inevitably become book covers or embellishments.”

By chance, my friend Kristina, who is an artist and teaches after-school art classes in her studio, is deep into planning student projects for the coming school year, with a focus on the art of books and bookmaking. I like making connections in general, and in particular, I have been passing leads to Kristina from Mary Ann. And while I was at it, I also promoted Quarry Books to the owner of Dabblers, a craft shop in Concord.

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