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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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The Subversive Stitch Revisited: The Politics of Cloth will explore the legacy of Rozsika Parker’s groundbreaking book, The Subversive Stitch: embroidery and the making of the feminine (1984) and two landmark exhibitions from 1988 that developed Parker’s ideas. It will consist of a two day event held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and an online resource that will include documentation of the event.

Anthea and I presented our paper “From Craftivism to Craftwashing: consuming and co-opting the politics of craft” on Saturday November 30th at 2pm as part of the session The Activists’ Stitch: from Craftivism to ‘Craftwashing’.

Full event info here, and on Twitter. Podcast version of our talk available here.

SKILLSHARE
A day of craft research and discussion at Artexte
Une journée de réflexion sur l’artisanat à Artexte

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November 16, 2013, 2:30-7PM // Le 16 novembre 2013, de 14 h 30 à 19 h

2:30-3:30pm: Tour of the Artexte collection and presentation of selected materials and items
A guided tour of the Artexte collection and facilities, followed by a presentation on Nicole Burisch’s research at Artexte.

As 2012-2013 researcher in residence, Nicole Burisch has been investigating the presence and position of craft within Artexte’s collection. Recent developments in craft theory have been marked by a shift away from traditional definitions of craft as necessarily linked to specific materials (such as ceramics, textiles, or glass). Burisch’s research at Artexte builds upon this stance to look at how craft’s qualities appear throughout the collection – resulting in an intuitive and highly personal search for representations of materiality, handwork, labour, skill, process, texture, tactility, pattern, function, rural and “folk” cultures. Using this broader view on where craft might be located, Burisch has gathered a selection of items and excerpts from the collection that together raise and respond to the following questions: How are aspects of craft positioned or deployed within other fields? Which of craft’s qualities or knowledges are useful in communicating certain values or ideas? How has this shifted in relation to other art historical moments or movements?

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