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The New Politics of the Handmade: Craft, Art and Design
is a publication on contemporary craft politics edited by Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch.

The New Politics of the Handmade examines the role of contemporary art, craft and design as part of a dramatically shifting global economy. Current interest in virtually every aspect of the handmade appears in Do-It-Yourself, Craftivism, sustainable living, decolonial practices and aesthetics, and a new focus on labour and materiality in visual art and museums. The handmade has become inseparable from capitalist modes of production and consumption, and this change demands new understandings of objects, aesthetics and labour. New writing and artists projects by international scholars and practitioners look at the politics of scarcity, hoarding and sustainability, craftivism and ‘ethical’ consumption, urban space and new technologies, race, cultural heritage and sovereignty. The authors offer a radical rethink of the politics and economics of the handmade, and claim craft as a dynamic critical field for thinking through the most immediate issues of our time.

Table of contents
Introduction, Anthea Black (California College of the Arts, USA) and Nicole Burisch (National Gallery of Canada)
1. From Craftivism to Craftwashing, Anthea Black (California College of the Arts, USA) and Nicole Burisch (National Gallery of Canada)
2. Ethical Fashion, Craft and the New Spirit of Global Capitalism, Elke Gaugele (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria)
3. Selven O’Keef Jarmon: Beading Across Geographies, Nicole Burisch (National Gallery of Canada)
4. The Making of Many Hands: Artisanal Production and Neighborhood Redevelopment in Contemporary Socially Engaged Art, Noni Brynjolson (University of Indianapolis, USA)
5. That Looks Like Work: The Total Aesthetics of Handcraft, Shannon R. Stratton (Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists Residency, USA)
6. Craft as Property as Liberalism as Problem, Leopold Kowolik (Sheridan College and York University, Canada)
7. Zahner Metals: Architectural Fabrication and Craft Labour, Peggy Deamer (Yale University and Deamer Studio, USA)
8. Capitalising on Community: The Makerspace Phenomenon, Diana Sherlock (Alberta University of the Arts, Canada)
9. Morehshin Allahyari: On Material Speculation, Alexis Anais Avedisian (NYC Media Lab, USA) and Anna Khachiyan (independent, USA)
10. From Molten Plastic to Polished Mahogany: Bricolage and Scarcity in 1990s Cuban Art, Blanca Serrano Ortiz De Solórzano (Institute for Studies on Latin American Art, USA)
11. Things Needed Made, Nasrin Himada (independent scholar, Canada)
12. Secret Stash: Textiles, Hoarding, Collecting, Accumulation and Craft, Kirsty Robertson (Western University, Canada)
13. Shinique Smith: Lines that Bind, Julia Bryan-Wilson (University of California, USA)
14. Margarita Cabrera: Landscapes of Nepantla, Laura August (independent scholar, Guatemala/USA)
15. The Sovereign Stitch: Re-reading Embroidery as a Critical Feminist-Decolonial Text, Ellyn Walker (Queen’s University, Canada)
16. Ursula Johnson: Weaving Histories and Netukulimk in L’nuwelti’k (We Are Indian) and Other Works, Heather Anderson (Carleton University Art Gallery, Canada)
17. ‘The Black Craftsman Situation’: A Critical Conversation about Race and Craft
Sonya Clark (Amherst College, USA), Wesley Clark (artist, USA), Bibiana Obler (George Washington University, USA), Mary Savig (Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA), Joyce J. Scott (artist, USA) and Namita Gupta Wiggers (Warren Wilson College, USA)

Reviews
“This exciting new anthology is an engaged and comprehensive overview of the political and ethical debates of contemporary craft and its pervasive social commitments.” –  Jenni Sorkin, Associate Professor, History of Art & Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA,

The New Politics of the Handmade jumpstarts a sorely needed discussion about the unexamined claims that surround craft as a progressive political movement, a form of anti-capitalist consumption, and a sustainable practice. In this volume Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch have orchestrated an insightful conversation with a diverse group of scholars, artists, and curators about the role and power of craft in the contemporary art world that charts a more nuanced way forward.” –  Elissa Auther, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and the William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator, Museum of Arts and Design, USA.

“After a year riven by global pandemic, economic collapse, political turmoil and demands for social and racial justice, an anthology exploring relationships between contemporary craft and politics seems particularly timely. Canadian editors Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch have compiled just such a volume…These two editors bring a breadth of experience and currency to their selection of 17 essays addressing topics such as craftwashing, a term that describes the appropriation by commercial products of moral qualities associated with craft. There are also texts on socially engaged art, makerspaces, political and economic theory, and accounts of craft functioning under marginalized or traumatizing conditions. Throughout the book, craft is positioned as an aesthetic and cultural product, as well as a manifestation of ‘broader social and economic structures.’”  – Amy Gogarty, New Politics of the Handmade : Anthology reflects on social and economic issues related to craft, art and design, Galleries West.

Acknowledgements:
Black and Burisch wish to acknowledge the support of Canada Council for the Arts, Grants to Independent Critics and Curators, Ontario Arts Council Craft Projects – Connections, and The Center for Craft Creativity and Design.

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Desire Change is an award-winning publication on contemporary feminist art in Canada, commissioned by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA). Edited by Heather Davis/Managing Editor, Nicole Burisch.

In the resistance to the violence of gender-based oppression, vibrant – but often ignored – worlds have emerged, full of nuance, humour, and beauty. Correcting an absence of writing about contemporary feminist work by Canadian artists, Desire Change considers the resurgence of feminist art, thought, and practice in the past decade by examining artworks that respond to themes of diversity and desire.

Essays by historians, artists, and curators present an overview of a range of artistic practices including performance, installation, video, textiles, and photography. Contributors address the desire for change through three central frames: how feminist art has significantly contributed to the complex understanding of gender as it intersects with sexuality and race; the necessary critique of patriarchy and institutions as they relate to colonization within the Canadian national-state; and the ways in which contemporary critiques are formed and expressed. The resulting collection addresses art through an activist lens to examine intersectional feminism, decolonization, and feminist institution building in a Canadian context.

Heavily illustrated with representative works, Desire Change raises both the stakes and the concerns of contemporary feminist art, with an understanding that feminism is always and necessarily plural.

Contributors include Janice Anderson (Concordia University), Gina Badger (artist, writer, editor, Toronto), Amber Christensen (curator and writer, Toronto), Karin Cope (NSCAD), Lauren Fournier (artist, writer, and curator, York University), Amy Fung (curator and writer, Toronto), Kristina Huneault (Concordia University), Alice Ming Wai Jim (Concordia University), Tanya Lukin Linklater (artist, North Bay), Sheila Petty (University of Regina), Kathleen Ritter (curator and writer, Vancouver), Daniella Sanader (curator and writer, Toronto), Thérèse St. Gelais (UQAM), cheyanne turions (curator and writer, Toronto), Ellyn Walker (Queen’s University), Jayne Wark (NSCAD) and Jenny Western (curator and writer, Winnipeg).

Co-published by Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and McGill Queen’s University Press.

Reviewed in:
The Globe and Mail
The Uniter
Canadian Art

Invited contribution for Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture (Taylor and Francis) special issue on “Crafting Community” edited by Kirsty Robertson and Lisa Vinebaum.

Abstract
Traditional craft practice has long emphasized features of function and materiality, with the useful and skillfully produced object at the center of the way craft is read and understood. However, a number of recent exhibitions and artworks have included not just objects, but also craft set in motion through participatory projects or performances. Correspondingly, the crafted object has undergone a shift in its once-central role, serving instead as a record of an event or process, a prop or tool, and in some cases disappearing altogether. Through a consideration of select projects and curatorial strategies from Common Threads at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary, AB (2008), and Gestures of Resistance at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR (2010), this article argues that it is necessary to consider how the histories and theories of performance art are intersecting with contemporary craft practices, with a particular focus on the role of documentation and ephemeral traces.

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Instant Coffee, Bass Benches. Common Threads, curated by Lee Plested at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, AB. November 22, 2007 to January 5, 2008. Photo courtesy of Illingworth Kerr Gallery.

The Ladies’ Invitational Deadbeat Society’s limited edition DO LESS WITH LESS / DO MORE WITH MORE cross stitch pattern poster was first printed at the Alberta Printmakers’ Society in June 2012. The slogan was inspired by a discussion held during Artivistic’s Promiscuous Infrastructures project at Centre des arts actuels Skol in Montréal, Québec about how artists and non-profit arts organizations negotiate the constant pressure to do more with less. Reissued for FUSE Magazine‘s last issue, LIDS proposes that we resist the capitalist logic of constant acceleration, productivity, and austerity budgets by reasserting a realistic level of production within our means. Use LIDS’ handy pull out pattern to stitch a banner for your own office and hang in the orientation of your choice!

A version of the poster was also printed in PHONEBOOK 4, directory of independent art spaces, programs, and projects in the United States, in 2015; and it has been included in exhibitions Beginning with the Seventies: Glut, at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC in 2018 and Creative Cloth: Aesthetics and Apparel at Museum London, London, ON  in 2019.

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Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society, DO LESS WITH LESS / DO MORE WITH MORE, FUSE Magazine 31-1 WINTER 2013-14 PATTERN PULLOUT.

Photo credits: Olya Zarapina

Hay in a Haystack :: Du foin dans une meule de foin
crafty excerpts from Artexte’s collection :: extraits artisanaux de la collection d’Artexte
A limited-edition bookwork based on my 2012-2013 research residency at Artexte, available for consultation on-site at Artexte.
A small print-on-demand publication that includes a sampling of the excerpts in the bookwork is also available for purchase.

(La version française suit)

strata; transparencies; bonding; bound and buried cores; nervous energy, work energy, calm; body containing, body projecting; logical secrets; fragments meeting on a grid; progressive processes; repetition of gesture, of form, of line, of activity, of action; repetition in time and as time; serial rhythms flexed and measured; motion, muscle, touch; fetishes dissected and respected; abstract ritual; taut/loose, tension/freedom, part/whole, microcosm, macrocosm, distance/intimacy, interior/exterior; structure stretched, geometry thwarted into growth, memory compacted into layers, indoors outdoors, outdoors indoors; empty centers, open spaces; animal, vegetable, mineral, flesh.

Lucy Lippard, catalogue for Strata, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1977

Central to my research over the past few years has been the issue of how craft is perceived or represented. Rather than being a question of definition (what is craft?), this is a question about how craft or a crafted aesthetic is used to represent certain values or affiliations (more like why craft?). In particular, this line of inquiry has focused on the ways that craft, from its position on the margins of traditional art historical discourse, has often been used as a means to signal an affiliation with alternative lifestyles or politicized art practices.

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Lancement
Lieu : atelier b. (5758 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal)
Date : le vendredi 23 août, dès 17 h.
événement facebook

Les textes de Nicole Burisch et d’Andréanne Godin se rencontrent autour de souvenirs de la maison et du territoire originels, d’où s’étaient tissés des liens solides en apparence qui, avec le temps, se sont fragilisés, dénoués, puis reformés.

Cette publication est la deuxième parution de Mille-feuille, projet de micro-édition de courts textes littéraires et poétiques faisant écho à des œuvres d’arts visuels. Pour cette édition, Nicole Burisch a été invitée à écrire un texte en réponse à l’œuvre de l’artiste Andréanne Godin.

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Launch
Place : atelier b. (5758 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal)
Date : Friday August 23, at 5pm.
Facebook event

Texts by Nicole Burisch and Andréanne Godin converge around recollections of home and landscape, places with which seemingly solid ties were woven—ties which over time became fragile, came undone, and then re-formed.

This publication is the second issue of Mille-feuille, a micro-publishing project that presents short literary and poetic texts that respond to works of visual art. For this issue, Nicole Burisch was invited to write a text in response to a work by the artist Andréanne Godin.

renseignements / information
mille-feuilles.ca
info@mille-feuilles.ca

extra_cover“In Craft Hard Die Free: Radical Curatorial Strategies for Craftivism, Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch provide a brief international survey of activities which seek to deploy craft for the purposes of protest. Knitting, and other textile arts traditionally associated with communal crafting, plays the leading role. The concept of the ‘revolutionary knitting circle’ recalls the 1970s feminist use of a similar group exchange as a form of consciousness raising. Black and Burisch also cite the AIDS Quilt project of the 1980s as an important precursor for the present moment. So much for precedents, what about the future? Clearly, efficacy and identity are interwoven in this essay, which takes for granted another 70s concept–that the personal is political–and offers real-world strategies for [maintaining] the efficacy of symbolic craft. It is too early to say whether craftivism will have staying power in the cultural imagination, like the Arts and Crafts, studio and countercultural craft movements before it. But there is little doubt that Black, Burisch and their peers have breathed new life into this old set of ideas.”
-Glenn Adamson, The Craft Reader

Extra/ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art has been reviewed in BUST Magazine, Bad at SportsAmerican Craft, Liminalities and will go to its second printing at Duke soon.

For a copy: https://www.dukeupress.edu/Extra-Ordinary/

A series of performances by Wednesday Lupypciw, Suzen Green & Ryan Statz, and David McCallum & Dory Kornfeld. Presented as part of the M:ST 5 Performative Art Festival, Calgary, AB, October 2010.

This series brings together a group of artists whose hybrid practices incorporate craft and performance. Numerous recent craft projects and exhibitions have emphasized the ways that craft can be used to build community (either as a political tool or as a relational project). In contrast, the projects in this series use the performance of traditional craft activities like knitting and weaving to address ideas of competition and self-interest or to place their creators in a position of advantage. The projects in this series all involve the live creation of new craft works, and thus reveal links between the repetitive and time-consuming actions of crafting and durational performance art practices. Taken together, these performances provide a means to rethink relationships between craft, domesticity, traditional gender roles, and distinctions between the private and public spheres.

A publication accompanying this exhibition, featuring an extended curatorial text “Crafty Advantage: Craft, Performance, and Competition,” was published by M:ST in 2011, and a journal article “Craft Off: Performance, Competition, and Anti-Social Crafting/Performance, compétition et métiers d’art asociaux” was published in the Cahiers métiers d’art/ Craft Journal, Volume 5 Number 2 Spring 2012.

Reviewed by Dick Averns for Akimbo, Oct 11, 2010.