Revivalist or renegade?



Allison Smith 'The Donkey, The Jackass, and The Mule' (2008) click image for source.

Craft in the 21st century has become a forum for activist causes such as feminism, democracy, land reform and the gift economy. There are strong parallels here with the origins of the Arts and Crafts Movement as a revival of traditions lost through industrialisation. So what’s new?

Craft activism today seems to provide a democratic forum for a much broader range of concerns. It is no longer exclusively concerned with craft issues, such as the loss of skills through globalisation.

So is craft now a form of culture jamming? Can we trace a connection here back to earlier political interventions through craft, even William Morris?

For issue 2.2, we are joined by guest bloggers Faythe Levine and Lycia Trouton. Faythe Levine is the director of Handmade Nation, a film about contemporary DIY. Lycia Trouton lectures in art theory at University of Tasmania with a particular interest in Irish linen memorials.

Online from Journal of Modern Craft 2.2: Editorial and ‘Acts of Association: Allison Smith’s Craft as Civic Practice’ by Jennifer Geigel Mikulay

Traditional craft: manufactured nostalgia or grass-roots resistance?

Cabinet maker at Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg

Cabinet maker at Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg

There are many situations when we might ask ourselves this question. We discover what appears to a wonderful authentic piece of traditional handicraft in a shop, only to find that is has been consciously engineered by some government department. Or we might have dismissed some local handicraft association, only to start thinking of it later as a site of constructive local culture.

In2.1 Journal of Modern Craft, a number of articles open up the issue of tradition in modern craft. So when is craft a manufactured nostalgia and when is it an active resistance to modernity? Please feel free to add your comments to the posts on this question. To learn more, you can read the print journal or download the selected articles: