On FriendFeed today Amy today pointed to a British House of Commons debate about trying to save traditional crafts. I rather fear it is a lost cause. The upsurge in crafting and making in the last few years driven by the web is great in many respects, but I suspect probably can do little to help the traditional crafting skills of the sort referred to in the debate, as economies of scale are lined up against them.
But the article did remind me of some lovely images of traditional craftsmen by printmaker Stanley Anderson. Here are three:
These are from Country Bazaar, a 1970′s book about country crafts. (I’m not sure about copyright here – please let me know if it is an issue). You can find a few more if you google, for instance The Violin Maker, but wouldn’t it be cool if it were possible to see the whole series?
I always meant to do a post on the Institute of Figuring when I first came across it a few years ago, but now you can just watch Margaret Wertheim herself explaining the beautiful maths of coral, crochet and hyperbolic geometry in this great talk at TED.
This huge wire marionette appeared at the opening of the new Vancouver Convention Centre last weekend; I gather it was associated with Cirque du Soleil. It was a performance by the Underground Circus, and the marionette was made by Peter Boulanger (who was kind enough to let me know in a comment below). It’s made of aluminium (I guess it’s really thick round wire?) , and at about 40 feet, billed as the tallest marionette in Northern America. The puppet moves to music and is operated by 5 puppeteers working pulleys. In this photo you can see it standing fully, supporting two acrobats: the one in the ball and one on the length of material. This is a great photo of it, too.
(influence of Royal de Luxe? Peter says not directly, though he knew of their work)
This is what my studio looks like at the moment. I’m making a large dead manta ray out of polystyrene. I wish it wasn’t so messy and that I didn’t have to wear a respirator all day, but it works nicely.
Constable Kenny Koala has been working out over summer and is looking like a new koala! Do you like his spiffy new jacket and cap? Kenny is a much loved community liason officer with the Australian Federal Police, and has been educating children in Canberra on a range of crime prevention and child safety messages for the last 25 years or more.
Prompted by seeing the movie Paradise Road again recently, I’ve been chatting to a long time friend about instances of art sustaining people in dire circumstances. In real life, and well before the movie, the women’s chorus that she used to sing with had recreated the music for the first time since it was sung in the prison camp. I mentioned the puppet play story Gary Friendman is making into a documentary, Looking for a Monster, and she pointed me to I never saw another butterfly, a book of art and poetry by children at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Terezin CZ.
So this is how I found the The Butterfly Project, an activity being run by the Holocaust Museum Houston to try collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies, the same number of children who died in the Holocaust. You are invited to create and send in handmade arts-and-crafts butterflies, which will eventually comprise an exhibition, currently scheduled for Spring 2012. At the moment they have about 400,000 butterflies.
Seems like an idea that the internet craft communities might like to latch onto – Whip Up!, Craft.