Gender Perception and Craftivism

I’ve been putting Ashely’s feedback to practice and have been switching up my terminology so that my dissertation sounds more formal; going back through my dissertation to change how it sounds has actually helped me to write the next section much more formally. I have been able to take out all the personalisation and approach my writing in a much more professional manner.

Having written my first section, which outlines what craftivism is, and my second chapter which explores the use of the internet to create communities, and examines the recent resurgence in craft that occurred from the 1990s onwards; it was time to start in on my next chapter, gender perception and craftivism.

I had some difficulties in starting this chapter. I like to work in order, so I tried to start with the introduction but since I didn’t know what I was planning to write about, I found it really difficult. So I started to write little bits in each subsection, piecing together my ideas while reading journals and books that would help me gather my thoughts. This past week I’ve been trying to write a little bit of my dissertation each day in the hopes that I would hit inspiration or ‘get in the flow’ and be able to write more than 86 words a day, which actually happened! Yesterday was a super good day for me on the dissertation front, I read two journals, found loads of quotes that matched up to the idea in my head, and also helped me to start writing out my argument. I managed to crack out three good paragraphs and managed to write to basic structure of my mini introduction, which I can then add more detail too after having finished each subsection.

From 3.0 Gender Perception and Craftivism: ‘The key idea examined within this chapter will be the complex relationship between gender and craft; exploring the research into the growing understanding of gender as a socially constructed idea within society, as analysed by feminist psychologists throughout the 1960s, to more recent writings, and how these have defined the behaviours of men and women for centuries. This chapter will also explore briefly, the split between art and craft that happened during the ninetieth century and how that’s has impacted craft for both men and women, before going on to further examine the different views expressed on femininity and craft, and masculinity and craft, along with the preconceived notion therein, before finishing with discussion on how gender perception, within craft, and therefore craftivism, is being challenged.’

I’ve also been trying to find images to go into my dissertation, using the database area on MetSearch but I was having some difficulty finding what I wanted. I did manage to find a little section from a priest cote that showed subversive embroidery made in the fourteenth century, but for more modern craftivist work, I was having a real problem. I started to google images just to get an idea of what I wanted, and while researching 1970s feminist textile I came across Judy Chicago, who, along with other artists, create the installation The Dinner Party which has been on exhibition since 1979 in the Brooklyn Museum.

I really liked the reasons behind this instillation, it was about bringing recognition to all the female artists that had been left out of art history.  Anyway, I thought these images would fit in really well with my dissertation so I started looking on the MetSearch databases to see if I could find some but nowhere on there, so what did I do? I emailed Judy Chicago to ask for permission to use her images in my dissertation, which I got *happy dance*.

While yesterday was a good day, today was a non-academic brain day, which really sucked because I was hoping I would be able to finish the first two subsection and start exploring how gender perceptions have been changing within the craft world, but theres always tomorrow.

I’m still standing – Reflective Statement

I have enjoyed this project, and though it’s duration I have realised that I’m not interested in just one area of textiles, say stationery or fashion, but I’m more interested in surface design, and how that can then be used. For this project, I very much worked with design first, and then thinking about how I could use and manipulate these into the surfaces as needed, and I’ve loved it.

Not only was I able to carry on using and developing my confidence and skills with screen printing throughout this project, but I also experimented with other hand printing techniques, such a woodcut and collagraph, which I haven’t used very often. I like the time it takes, with screen printing and woodcut, to be able to ready and create my designs. The long process of coating and exposing a screen, and the even longer time of carving a woodcut is something that’s unavailable through digital processes, and is one I enjoy. I’m able to work through every step of the creating process with these hand printing techniques, and that’s something that I always want to be able to do.

I’ve been doing something new this year, and I can’t quite pinpoint it, but I’ve enjoyed this whole project. I think it’s a combination of the theme I chose, the client, the colours, the techniques and materials; which have all resulted in a collection that I’ve found easy to be inspired by. Last year I thought that I was inspired by nature, that was nothing compare to how much I enjoyed this very urban and modern collection. I’m a city girl, why I thought I would get more inspiration from nature than the city I don’t know, but I’m just glad that I’ve found what I’m actually inspired by at the beginning of third year. My presentation skills have definitely improved, and I feel that I’m much more confident in speaking about my own work, and I think that this project has helped with that.

This project has prepared me for the degree show, its shown me the style I like to work in, what things I find influential to my designing, and given me the freedom to think in term of surface pattern design which can then be taken into any field. I like the thought of working in whatever discipline your inspired to by a certain brief or idea, and not trying to force an idea onto a certain product, for example I doubt my collection would have been as successful if I’d been making an interior collection.

I have really liked working on a live brief, it’s a sort of introduction into what a designing career would be like, and while this wasn’t a collaborative collection, I still like that I’d been able to speak with others near me, brainstorm and help each other. It makes me think that this is what a team dynamic would be like, helping each other to be better, and to encourage. I’ve also loved seeing what other have created and how different everyone is, it’s inspiring.

Things Can Only Get Better

My presentation with Marie and Keireine went really well. From what I can remember (post-presentation mind fog had descended). I spoke clearly about my collection and used up the whole five minutes (though I was glad when it ended). I would have said more, but when that timer goes off, all thoughts of what I was about to say next vanished, its the strangest thing.

My display was set out really well, even if I do say so myself, I made sure that entering I used that was part of my collection, matched well, like the mesh memo board I used to click all my products too.

Keriene has mentioned before that I didn’t experiment enough to begin with, mainly because I kept having a lot of happy accidents, but I’ve tried to think about, and show, different ways I add colour into my wrapping paper, or on my sheet wrap how I could add another layer of designs; all of which are laid out in my sketchbook. I just have to make sure during the next project, I experiment as much as I can (which doesn’t seem like a difficult thought at the moment because I have barley an idea).

One thing that was pretty clear from my feedback was that I still need to work on my gift bow. That blasted thing just doesn’t have the same feeling as the rest of my collection, its too pretty, or as Paige would say ‘its too hipster’.

So how do I make a bow that’s not pretty, or hipster, matches with my collection really well and isn’t something I want to throw at the wall?

At the moment, literally as I’m typing, I’m in the process of making metal bows. I’ve made a few bow ties with metal or out of metal, now I’m doing something thats not a bow tie at all, but is metal and well it’ll stop me from going crazy (which is why I’ve taken a break from the bows to blog).

I have a good feeling about the bow I’m making, maybe because its not actually a bow, just something a bit unusual. And maybe its because I get to play with metal and superglue in the hopes of making mesh. Thats always fun. It also involves a weaving, kind of, which is also fun, and relaxing, but more to come on the bows later.

Back to my feedback; I was really pleased with the overall comments; both Marie and Keireine liked my collection, and where really positive about what I’ve made, which was just really amazing to hear. I’ve really enjoyed this project so it hasn’t really felt like work work (except the bow), its been enjoyable work and I’m glad to see that is not all be for nothing. *happy dance*