Dec 16th - 31st 2010 @ the Ontario Crafts Council
Opening reception: Thurs, Dec 16th 6-9pm
This year’s exhibition will explore the broad relationship craft and crafting has with commerce. Craft(ing) is currently a multi-billion dollar industry. From mainstream craft media personalities and the DIY Network to hipster how-to guides, mega craft fairs and fabric designers du jour, the commercial nature of the contemporary “crafting” movement often seems to starkly contrast the idea of crafting for necessity from days gone by. On the other hand, there are people who turn to craft and craft processes for a sense of transcendence and autonomy. Many would argue that there is more of a need to craft for crafts sake now than ever-- either to re-skill ourselves for an uncertain future, or simply to learn to slow down.
Are money and craft strange (or natural) bedfellows? How does craft transcend issues of commerce? How might one navigate or perceive the dichotomy of craft for love/craft for money? How do examples of contemporary craft and craft practices address or challenge issues of ownership, value, and exchange?
Participating Artists:Helen Benninger
'From Rags To Riches' - detail
In response to the theme Love and Money I have been researching notions surrounding the saying ‘from rags to riches’. Taking cue from historical craft practices such as the art of spinning shifu (paper-thread), and the gathering of discard material to make Rag rugs or Clootie mats; I am interested in combining each of these processes as I work to re-define the values we apply to common craft materials as well as domestic craft objects.
Both shifu and rag rug-making developed as practices once born out of necessity, where coarse paper thread would be woven into cloth for work clothes and other household items, while the rags of old clothes were coveted for their reuse-ability, being knotted back together in the form of much needed objects.
‘From rags to riches’ incorporates the use of newspaper ‘rag’ and kozo papers as they are laboriously spun and crocheted into a delicate network of threads that make up the rag rug.
Through a sophisticated use of process and materials, the once ‘ragged’ and utilitarian object will be rendered precious and unusable, as emphasis is placed on re-evaluating the value of the materials and object at hand. Through my practice, I am interested in celebrating craft for love as means to continue to tap into the meaningful, intuitive and historical practices that employ the use of my hands.
Finished installation will be on display at the Ontario Crafts Council till Dec. 31st 2010