The Hand of Craft is a site-specific installation created by Shake-n-Make for exhibition at the Cotton Factory, which will open to the public on November 3, 2017.
Large scale (8’ x 5’) aluminum panels featuring monumental line drawings of hands in various acts of sewing will be suspended from the ceiling and arranged to create an enclosed space. Within this space will hang a 16’ x 5’ quilt top, entirely hand-sewn using the English paper piecing technique, which spells out the word Labour in contrasting fabrics.
Highlighting the amount of often unseen labour involved in artistic creation, the quilt top connects a contemporary art practice with traditional crafts and seeks to elevate domestic and often debased craft to a place within fine art. At the same time, the large-scale drawings are meant to overwhelm the viewer, echoing how many contemporary makers and crafters feel social pressure to “make everything by hand” as a hipster expression of authenticity.
The two main components of The Hand of Craft also offer contrasting notions of artistic production. While the hanging aluminum panels draw attention to the primacy of the individual artist’s hand, the quilt top represents communal work via both the art collective Shake-n-Make as well as the numerous individuals who have contributed to the piece through participation in free workshops offered by the collective. All contributors, as well as guest sewers, will be credited in the presentation of the installation.
Shake-n-Make (members: Claudia Manley & Liss Platt) is a queer art collective whose work directly references the 1970s while elevating craft and subject matter beyond kitsch to speak to our current moment. Initially inspired by the discovery of a set of Betty Crocker Recipe Cards (circa 1973), Shake-n-Make artworks take the form of felt banners, embroidery, photo-text works, macaroni portraiture, beaded gas cans, installation projects, and more. We are particularly interested in creating tension between the domestic sphere (a primary site of crafting) and the public sphere (the world outside the home), undermining high/low divisions, and questioning what is appropriate as an art material.
To learn more, visit them online here.
To read an interview/article with Claudia and Liss click here.