A FINE LINE - Cultural Practice

PLINTH

AN OBJECT OF USE IS AN OBJECT WHICH ONE USES AND NEEDS TO GET OTHER OBJECTS OUT OF THE WAY (Vilem Flusser)


CRAFT: WHO CARES?

Craft is an unstable category. Used to cover a vast spectrum of practices and products found in myriad cultural and geographic contexts, the term evokes both 'traditional' economies and 'contemporary' international art markets. Where is craft practice going? Are the crafts enjoying a critical global renaissance? Or is it an endangered species? Are there general trends or just local variations?





We can identify craft through objects, the outcomes of craft processes. What values are attached to the contemporary craft object today. Are values integral to the crafts or are they bestowed upon them? Where does value reside? With the object, with the process of its creation, with its creator, with its consumer/user? How important are definitions in the acquisition of value?

Who cares anyway? To whom does it matter and why?

As A FINE LINE we work across cultures, intrigued by difference and challenged by the realitioes of making to live, rather than making to please. We have accumulated many more questions than answers, and have been asked many questions we have found it difficult to answer. These are not new, but they are pertinent, sharpened by the ferocity with which global events can impact on so many peoples' lives simultaneously.





It seems therefore timely to interrogate ourselves and our preconceptions about the value of cultural objects and its relationship to making.

We have been supported through a Crafts Council Sparkplug Award to develop this idea. We have spent a number of days with flip-charts, post-it notes and a camera, unpacking our thoughts and experiences and distilling them into a set of propositions that we  tested in two focused seminars in March 2010. The outcomes have now fed into our partnership with MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University, where we are Visiting Research Fellows, and a small publication by Jeremy Theophilus, An Order for Usefulness, from which these images are taken.