Friday, December 31, 2010

viva la craft revolution

Have been a little slack in the blog updates, with Christmas and New Year's taking up time. We had a lovely, relaxing christmas and a pretty quiet New Year's eve too, but sometimes that is just what is needed. I have a pretty hectic next few months in getting the thesis completed by March, so time to relax and re-charge the batteries is most welcome.

One of the chapters I am currently working on is regarding the beginnings of the indie craft scene - what is it and how does it differ from traditional craft? Also, what makes it similar to other subcultures/scenes? Of course the word 'indie' has clear links to 'independent' as used in music, film etc - but what exactly makes the craft indie and how 'independent' does the crafter need to be to qualify as such? Is that even important anymore? As you can tell - I have plenty of unworked questions for this chapter.

I found this fairly recent post by Betsy Greer on craftivism very interesting - I wish I could have heard the talk at Oslo. Riot Grrrl music was important to me as a young teenager and discovering the connections between the music of the time and the motivations for DIY and making things yourself. Punk and alternative subcultures have always interested me and making connections between these cultures and the resurgent craft scene has provided me with that hook to get into the whys of making.

Pre-Exhibition opening kate macgarry gallery... ready to go

Chicks on Speed, Stereo Warp and Weft: Hanging Speakers

and Chicks on Speed have also been inspiring towards the discussion of indie craft - I remember seeing them in 2008 I think...they were so amazing and inspiring. They did have plenty of the crowd against them and the attitude by certain male artists stank - CoS handled it so well and gave a fantastic public talk and in their way proved exactly what the opposition to feminism/DIY/craft acts like.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

great finds

Love this, such a clever idea - it is by Vector Cloud and would make a great Christmas present (or Valentine's Day).

Cross Stitch Heart Necklace (personalize)

Cross Stitch Heart Necklace (personalize)

I found it on See-Me-Everywhere blog, a new discovery and one I will be returning to.

On the weekend I read this column in The Australian by Emma Jane in which she discusses how often Christmas presents are not wanted/needed and end up being either re-gifted or put in the rubbish. She also gave a list of 'crafty' options to buy this year such as; Subversive Cross Stitch, Bust and Or make something yourself, hmmm - I think I have left it a little late on that one.

However, I have been buying some gifts from 'Handmade' sellers/crafters/makers. An element to the fun in doing this is the hunt, searching the web for something cool, stalking the aisles of craft markets looking for that special 'thing' which will make someone happy when they open the gift wrap. So many things that I would like to buy for myself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

new on my radar

I'm sure I have seen the work of Donna Wilson around, researching craft blogs means that I see a lot of craft - but today I went to her blog and had a read and look at her work. Love it!
Here are some examples from her websiteDonna Wilson pieces
Part of my research has been looking at how indie crafters manage the transition from small business/hobby to becoming big businesses. The article on Donna Wilson in The Guardian seems a perfect example of a designer starting off small, believing in their product and how they then approach filling large orders with big homewares companies without sacrificing their principles.

Another blog post which caught my attention today was that by Hobby Princess regarding big multi-national companies like Pepsi, Wal-Mart dealing with an increase by consumers in online sales. The move to online sales, I think is linked to consumers wanting more choice and an increased awareness in buying from independent retailers. This has been an area of change in which the big retailers will not be able to compete with.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Work is a four letter word

Setting myself some goals in regards to thesis writing this week. I want to have the chapter I am currently writing completed by the end of this week, ready to send to my supervisors for some feedback. Also, I need to make final changes to the Morrissey book and write a couple of exhibition reviews. My aim is to get all thsi done before Christmas - well Christmas Eve. Then I will be working through January to get the thesis done by March.
I've also noticed there are quite a few sessional staff positions advertised at my Uni, would love to apply for them but unsure if I should wait until the thesis is completed. However, that would mean waiting until next year when the positions would next be advertised.

from PhD comics, can so relate.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

To Market

The rise of the 'indie' craft market has been gaining pace here in my hometown. The once a year 'nanna craft' type quilters market is seeing competition from an increasing array of local craft markets, pitched at the younger demographic. As my thesis deals with the issue of marketing craft as a consumer product the increase in Markets has been on my radar. They provide a fantastic opportunity for local makers to take their product out to consumers and conversely allow those who want to buy handmade to do so.

Initially I had concerns that the markets were being directly pitched as 'indie', little more than a branding exercise. Get the right, idiosyncratic image and your market was guaranteed a crowd. However, the more I attend craft markets the more I see the diverse product range and creative investment that people are investing in their craft.

Today I went to the Box Factory Christmas market and bought a card from the Red Thread collective, a cross stitch kit from Radical craft plus badges and a cute love heart headband.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Currently inside writing a chapter on why people make things by hand and the definition of 'handmade' as it differs between visual arts and applied arts. Came across the Cumulus Project, which makes 'one of a kind, one project at a time'. Love the 'stump stool'.


Most of the research on the current resurgence in handcraft points towards the link between an increasingly technological work and home life and the desire to engage in tactile pursuits during leisure time. Then of course, there is the process of the handmade craft going 'online' through digital representations on blogs. This part of the thesis has been fun to formulate. As it does not signal purely a rejection of technology but an embracement - on the terms of the indie crafter. As consumerism runs rampant, the crafter is able to gain satisfaction through making and participate in ethical consumerism.

A perfect example of this is the buy handmade pledge, a consortium of groups asking people to sign up and pledge to only buy handmade for "themselves and their loved ones".

While I agree with the idea of supporting local, independent designers/crafters/artists - I will admit that I don't always strictly adhere to the idea of a 'pledge'. The rise in crafts markets over the past two years in my town is making it easier to buy handmade and support local artists. It can be difficult to make the considered choice to always buy handmade for everyone but it is absolutely worth supporting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ideas sparking everywhere

A brief visit to the blog to say that I am really busy at the AAANZ conference - it has been great and I have listened to many papers which have got me enthused about research again. I think that it what is so great about attending conferences. Ideas, references, new trains of thought...can't wait to sit down and write with some fresh thoughts.

So I will post a longer reflection on the conference soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

getting my craft on

One of the most common questions I am asked when discussing what I do is "So, what do you make?". My response is "oh, nothing", usually blaming this on lack of time, skills or both. I've dabbled in crocheting, done a sort-of Fashion Design certificate so I can 'kind of' sew, got frustrated by trying to cast-on when taking up knitting. However this evening I decided to give cross-stitch a go! I was spurred on by a few things; my daughter learning it at school, reading a book on Subversive stitching and some excellent examples in the 'Indie Craft'book. I also feel that cross stitch is similar to loose sketching, which is an activity I like to do.
I decided to stitch a Morrissey song lyric 'Lifeguard, save me from life' - and so far, so good! But let's's not completely out of the realm of possibility that it won't get completed.

An artist whose work is inspiring me at the moment is Hildur Bjarndottir, especially her work 'Untitled' from 1998. Love how fine the thread is and of course the skull imagery.

To help with this I am going to attend a new craft collective and hopefully this will provide the push I need to get a craft project finished and then when I get asked the question I can so, "Oh yeah, I cross stitch a little...".

An update to my previous post - it was me who read the timetable wrong. Very sorry to the organisers. I am presenting Wednesday morning - eeek!

Also writing an abstract for an upcoming conference Console-ing Passions. I'm really excited about this one, think it would be a great opportunity to present my research, plus it sounds very interesting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apparently I am supposed to be presenting a paper at the soon approaching AAANZ Conference but when I looked at the timetable earlier today, my name was not there! Really hoping that this is just a small oversight. It did put me in a slightly bad mood for the afternoon. Or maybe my mood is to be blamed on todays heat.

Some brilliant news mum via my brother made a huge Morrissey poster for my wall. I am yet to see it yet but have been tolda that it is HUGE. Thinking that I will put it in the hallway entrance, just so visitors know exactly what to expect upon entering. It is this picture

Will post a picture when I have it in the house.

Not much else has been happening in thesis land. Suddenly I feel very tired and I'm not sure if that is a symptom of knowing how much work is left to do. So overwhelming. But tomorrow is a new day and I am going to make the most of it. Cut down on internet blog reading (hard when writing a thesis on blogs but it must be done), prioritise work before I start and stop procrastinating start writing. Phew!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

craft crossover

Cate Blanchett in crochet dress by 'Romance Was Born'
Sia performing at the recent ARIA awards

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I've never been very good at drawing

So when I am laughing at these 'Awful Fan Art' posts from the website I do so with a full understanding that if any of my pictures were ever found they would end up on this site too...but so funny! Wish I had seen this when writing my Honours thesis on fan art.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

something I really wish I could do...

Throughout my time writing my thesis there have been so many events I wish I could take part in, while also recognising that there are heaps of great things that I have been lucky enough to get to do. However this really would be my ultimate dream come true...

You don't need to click the link, basically it details the Microsoft Summer research internships - one of my dreams...likely to remain unfulfilled.

This morning we had a 'end of year' session to talk about our year - based around the theme of travel - spoke a bit about my travel last year to Limerick for the Morrissey symposium and my trip to Sydney this year for a conference. It made me realise that I didn't travel as much this year as last and that post-grad students are a pretty well-travelled bunch of people!
Now I am writing yet another conference paper for my first presentation in my home town. It is on blog aesthetics, allusions to still life and 'branding indie craft blogs'. As I am in Visual Arts, this 'visual/aesthetic' element of the blogs has always been lurking around in the shadows and now is a good chance to address these ideas. Why do we like what we see? Is there a difference between screen image and the object? Do we prefer the screen image?
My own interest in this research topic stemmed from my own affectual feelings towards the images I was viewing on the blogs, the 'perfect' product shot, inspiring home to analyse all that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's been a while

Is there anything ironic about researching blogs yet having no time to author one

As I get ever closer to finishing my thesis I want to make a more concerted effort to start/maintain this blog. It will be good for me to do with this space what was my original intentions; to keep track of my own research and as a kind of space to unload all I am thinking/seeing.
Today I had two books arrive in the post. I am very excited to start reading 'Indie Craft' by Jo Waterhouse...the cover looks pretty awesome.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

first steps

I've been planning to begin a blog for a while now (well a few years at least) and have finally taken the plunge.
This space will be for musings on my research project - 'Indie' craft blogs - and my other research interest, the singer Morrissey.

Some background to introduce myself, I am half-way through my thesis and would love this blog to help me as a 'space' for getting what is in my head out on the screen.

So, hope to see you back here.