Handycrafts: at home with textiles provides an opportunity to explore contemporary textile objects through the historical view of the projects presented in women’s magazines of mid-twentieth century New Zealand and to look particularly at the influence those publications can have on the objects we make.
Handycrafts features work from artists who share a textiles sensibility. All the work exhibited in Handycrafts was made in response to an artist’s brief which asked makers to design a craft project for a hypothetical magazine. For some of these makers, textiles are primary to their ways of working and thinking, for others not. While the textiles qualities in all the works are present, its classification as ‘jewellery’ or ‘installation sculpture’ may not address this presence. Handycrafts is interested in the ‘textile-ness’ of all this work and in the lineage it shares as it traverses various territories.
This show oozes nostalgia, memory and homeliness. Many of these artists speak of the significance of mothers and grandmothers – the craft skills they practiced and the things they made. This is not a superficial trend-led narrative. This is content deeply ingrained in whānau, culture and social history. However there is more here than wistful sentiment and cosiness. These makers also respond with humour, wit and a profound sense of respect for the generations of makers who have preceded them.
The exhibition Handycrafts is an initial undertaking for the OBJECTSPACE project that aims to establish a space for exhibitions and activities within the fields of Design and Craft.
→ Crafty artists turn to reminiscence, New Zealand Herald, 5-11-20
→ Handycrafts: at home with textiles, 2003, publication
→ Handycrafts: at home with textiles, 2003, exhibition card