04 January 2009

jam time

the workshop is all closed up for the holidays.
time to make jam.

plum jam

recipe paraphrased from Jams & Preserves - by Syd Pemberton

1 kg plums, halved and stones removed

600 g white sugar

smash up plum stones in a mortar and pestle or however you can (this was interesting). make a muslin bag and tie up the stone bits. place plums in stainless steel bowl with sugar and bag of stones. cover and leave in cool place overnight.

transfer whole lot to a preserving pan and slowly bring to a boil, stir gently. cook for 25 - 35 minutes, removing any scum as jam reaches setting point. I used the spoon test to determine setting point. Remove jam from heat, take stones out and spoon jam into sterilised jars and seal.

make fun labels. the end.

Different roles in the same family: energising agit-prop craft and specialist craft artists

After reading the heated debate to Bruce Metcalf's talk: DIY, Websites and Energy: The New Alternative Crafts at SNAG in Savannah 2008 and feeling rather conflicted about the whole ordeal, I found Kevin Murray's recap of Glenn Adamson's keynote address at the AAANZ conference spot on. Adamson delivered a paper entitled, Modern Craft: Directions & Displacements at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Murray commented on the discussion after the talk and mentioned some interesting thoughts about the relationship between agit-prop craft versus specialized craft artists.

I really like the way that this is expressed and wonder if we understand each group's objectives more clearly then the divide might not be so big after all.

"It was a masterful talk that introduced fascinating new practices, particularly in the agit-prop domain. Adamson continued the line from his book Thinking Through Craft that while craft sits alongside visual art, is still a distinct practice of its own. A particularly charged word in Adamson's talk was 'friction', which was used to express that element in craft that resisted conceptualisation.

The discussion that ensued was very interesting. The last questioner proposed that what made craft different from art was that 'anyone can do it'. Adamson differed and argued that the 'friction' of craft is produced by many years of dedicated training in the understanding of materials. There seems quite a divide between the agit-prop craft that is energising collectives and the specialist craft techniques practiced by artists. How to bridge this divide is a very interesting challenge facing commentators on craft."

01 January 2009

Antipasto Manifesto

Over here in jewellery-land, we are excited about what is happening. We are emerging makers who are establishing practices, studying techniques, reading contemporary theory and thinking about our craft’s rich and complex history. We are experimenting with new materials and technologies, ideas about adornment, wearability, sustainability, and community. We are indebted to galleries who show object based work and have elevated the status of jewellery in this country, but most of us are unknown and uncertain of our place in those ranks. Jewellery is intrinsically about the relationship with the body. We pursue projects that are about shedding artistic pretense, and bravely embracing the community aspect of our craft.

We are dedicated to the establishment of experimental practices and committed to supporting handmade objects. We promote the idea of dignity of labour and are conscientiously working to prevent the extinction of traditional craft skills. We are readdressing the issues that Ruskin and Morris brought up in contemporary ways. We look for new means of relating to and infiltrating our local communities. We are not afraid to stand on the shoulders of jewellery giants. We think it necessary to enrich our craft.

We think that the future for craft lies somewhere between the art institutions or established craft organizations and the alternative craft organizations. Our craft has the energy, attitude and motivation of alternative craft and the attention to quality and concept demanded from institutions. We undauntedly look for new arenas of experimentation and new ways of making. We are enthralled with the idea of open source design. We are interested in interrelationships between: the wearer and maker, the wearer and world, between makers, and the maker and world.

We are interested in politics but that is not what our work is about. We support alternative craft communities but that the purpose of our work. We are fun, we are smart, we are green, we are engaged, we are committed to our craft and our work reflects it. We prioritize quality experimentation and relationships over commerce. We are a force. We are the future of jewellery.