How is it that we come to know something or more particularly, how to do something? We may imbibe the words of others, learn by watching a skilled example, learn through our own trial and error, or discover something within ourselves. How then, do we pass on that knowledge? Through stories, through instruction, through play? It can be hard to teach something ‘you just know’.
Roaming the Rates Rebellion is an online zine and audio walking tour created by Emily Stone and Jodie Adams. Find out more about how the zine was created first by hand, telling the story of the rebellion through handmade collage and handwritten text which was scanned into a digital format…
With a population today of just 275 people, Gee’s Bend is a small, isolated hamlet with a complex history. Surrounded on three sides by the Alabama river, it was once a cotton plantation, originally established by Joseph Gee and then later owned by Mark Pettway. As direct descendants of the slaves and subsequent sharecroppers who worked on the land throughout the 19th and 20th Century, the majority of those who live in Gee’s Bend continue to share the Pettway name.
There are many aspects that one takes for granted when you’re a craftsperson. Drawing myself back to my first days holding a saw or understanding how pliers work, to the more complicated matter of how silver reacts under hammer and fire, I appreciate something that now comes naturally to me, but may not necessarily for others. I take care not to do the work for my students, using words to convey what to do. Sometimes it’s not easy with a craft that’s so tacit and engrained.
Craft allows you to question your materials and understand them. My work revolves around cherishing discarded garments and recognizing them as materials to make with, thus increasing their lifespan. It evokes a realisation of the distant nature of humans with their garments.
Embroidery is about making visible. It is the adornment of cloth to add meaning and value. As such, it is about identity – making a claim about who you are, and displaying that for others to see. This is both personal and political, and nowhere is this more true than in the modern Middle East.
Touch has made its way into our everyday turns of phrase; it has dissolved into our vocabulary, the way we relate to the world around us. Both in this abstract sense and literally, often in the form of banal and daily gestures, touch is an invisible and inescapable part of our day-to-day. Such is the ubiquity of touch that we can choose to ignore its importance, until it is brought into question.
Figures 1 and 2. Elinor at a Homemade knitting machine workshop for children. Image: Elnaz Yazdani
Are you wearing something knitted today? Given the broad array of knitted fabrics on the market and the recent lockdown trend for comfort dressing, we’d say it’s very likely – but did you know your clothes were knitted? We have been involved with either teaching about or creating knitting on knitting machines for over 15 years and we often forget that once upon a time we didn’t know that so much of our clothing was knitted.
Existing on the tentative line between the mediums of photography and applied craft, lens-based artist and educator Nilupa Yasmin’s work is an intricate reconstruction of both art forms. As she pieces together personal stories from the different communities that she encounters, her work is in a constant state of unravelling, where she continues to discover her place within the warp of the world. Focusing on the two strands of community and self, her woven photographic work delicately displays that one cannot exist without the other.