When craft becomes art

Feb 10, 2011

For the past week, I've been leisurely going through the book By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art. The book features 32 artists and their collections of handmade works, from pillows to quilts to fashion to books.

Aritsts like Rowena Dring of The Netherlands creates "paintings" out of fabric.
I realized that I could make paintings that masquerade as quilts and quilts that masquerade as painting.
Shown above is a close-up of one of her appliqué works called Big Daisy (2004).  A large piece can involve 1200 hours to complete- and I can believe it!

These stunning chandeliers were made by Brooklyn-based artist Kristen Hassenfeld.  Like many artists who are part of the handmade movement, Kristen's works are a response to consumption and wealth.  Appearing jewel-like in the light, her chandeliers are actually comprised of "un-precious" materials.

I have handstitched a few quilts myself so I can appreciate the intricate work that Anna Von Mertens puts in each of her pieces.  I absolutely love the color blocks in this collection. 

By Hand showcases the artists' handiwork in beautiful photographs.  These large doily-like creations were made by London artist Shane Waltener.  You can see the exquisite craftsmanship of Shane's work in the detailed shot.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking through this book, but more than anything, I was so encouraged by the artist's stories and messages.  Living in a world that seems to demand faster technology and mass production, it's truly refreshing to read about artists who value manual work and tradition as well as ingenuity.


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