Research point ‘Why craft-produced textiles maintain a place in our society’

I think that the main reason that craft-produced textiles are so popular in our society is that they are very personal and unique. Because of the internet, it is also easily available. Websites such as Etsy enable craftsmen to offer their work to costumers all over the world.

At the beginning of project six, I began reading about the art of different cultures, in particular the Aboriginals and the Kuna Indians. The Aboriginals use different techniques to dye their fabric such as batik, hand painting and screen-printing. Aboriginal art as we know it today has its foundations in Papunya the 1970s when art teacher Geoffrey Bardo let the walls of the school where he taught be painted with traditional Aboriginal motifs using acrylic paint. This led the experiments with different kinds of surfaces and an art movement was born.

Textile length, Puti (bush), cotton, screen-printed. Designed by Nyukana Baker and Nyuwara Tapaya 1989/90. Printed by Marie Warren, 1995. 95/319/3. Powerhouse Museum Collection.

Textile length, Puti (bush), cotton, screen-printed. Designed by Nyukana Baker and Nyuwara Tapaya 1989/90. Printed by Marie Warren, 1995. 95/319/3. Powerhouse Museum Collection.

The Kuna Indians are known for their Molas. These Molas have their origin in body painting. In the late nineteenth century, the women started transferring the body painting designs onto hand-woven cloth and later onto imported fabric. Initially these designs were painted onto the fabric, but over time the designs were transferred onto fabric using reverse appliqué. The motifs are either geometric shapes such as mazes or figurative, such as people and animals.

Mola

Mola

The art of other cultures is readily available on the high street in fair trade stores. Fair trade ensures that craftsmen receive a fair price for their work and costumers are able to purchase unique products.

When I started thinking about traditional art meeting contemporary art, I immediately thought of the trip that I made to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam a few weeks ago where I saw some of the work of Kitty van der Mijll Dekker. She was a Dutch weaver who experimented with unusual materials such as cellophane, iron wire, raffia and synthetic yarns.

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