Our aims

This blog, which is edited by the Maker and Academic Helen Carnac, aims to provide a forum for open discussion around the contribution of contemporary craft to the philosophies presented within the slow movement. We feel that these philosophies reflect many of the current concerns and interests that makers are exploring within their practices and the evolving identity of craft. It is an opportunity to connect some of the emergent discussions within craft and its recent movements to the slow debate.

The blog has formed the thread which runs through a research project exploring ideas of slowness within craft. Our aim is that this project is a reflexive process that informs our ideas, future thought and has informed the curation of a major national touring exhibition for Craftspace, which launched 17th October 2009 at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

The blog provides the opportunity to encourage open discussion, a value that is characteristic of the slow movement. Your contributions enable you to inform the research and exhibition and ensure that the ideas we present resonate within the experiences and interest of those working within the craft arena.

Connecting with the blog we have developed and continue to develop a number of live events open to interested participants.  These events move our thinking around the nature of slowness and craft beyond text and the written word, through participation, shared activity and process. The blog offers an opportunity to follow in real time, and have insight into and around our current thinking and the process of developing the exhibition.

From July to October 2008 we ran ‘a Summer Season of Discussion’ on the blog. There were five contributors – writer Paul Harper, researcher Dr Ananya Jahanara Kabir, maker and sculptor Malcolm Martin, researcher and writer Linda Sandino, and textile and wall paper designer Clara Vuletich. For a short introduction to each of our contributors please visit the Contributors page.

8 thoughts on “About

  1. “How long does it take you?” a question asked every time someone sees my machine embroidery pieces. Is good art measured in time? – if its a slow process is it better or judged a time waster?
    Im interested in participating in this dialogue about Slow and in learning more about the touring show.

  2. Does slow mean better; do ideas have to be fermented, perfected over time; evolving of a language, concepts? Does that constitute the development of an identifiable style and is that a pre-requisite for becoming a recognisable, established maker?

    Equally, how do you account for the idea fermentation time when costing work? Batch work versus unica? An eternal dilemma (especially when trying to explain costing to students!)

    Very interested in taking part in this dialogue. Will pass to other makers too.

    Also looking forward to hearing more about the project.

    Inge Panneels
    freelance glass artist and lecturer

  3. Hi
    I was told about this project by Fran Priest at a recent study day at Cove Park on the future of ceramics education in Scotland (currently nil, or nearly nil).
    Interesting to read some of the material and please keep me posted on the exhibition. I would like to make a connection between what you are discussing and some of the aims of IC:Innovative Craft. (see web)
    I went to the Smartworks Conference in Sydney last year where, amongst other speakers, was an Italian man called Filippo Chiesa, who talked specifically about Northern Italy and the economics of the small specialist producer (the roots of the Slow Food movement). Worth reading an abstract of his paper which would be available from the Powerhouse, Sydney.
    General comment would be : can some of the debate be more rooted in the actual objects produced so we retain some critical sense of not just process but result and achievement of result?That is of great interest to wider debates within the arts

  4. Hello, I left message before, with no response yet – is that me being too impatient?
    I am very interested in taking part in both the conversation and the exhibition.
    I wrote an article ‘Slow Making as part of my MA at Norwich School of Art and Design. It was published in Landscape and Arts network journal no 42 see http://www.landartnet.org/journal.htm
    I have developed a definition of my Slow Making, not so much about the action of making an individual item, more about the whole activity and philosophy. Along the lines of social sculpture.

    ‘Slow Making is done with reflection, care and consideration of the environmental effects of the source, process and use of materials
    Slow Making is relationship and action’

    Hope to hear comment on the definition, and to taking part in the conversations.

  5. Sounds like a very interesting project. Would be keen to be involved. Always good to hear about projects that encourage critical debate and that get us talking about the things we make and why. ..Very interesting to read other peoples comments on the site.
    I’m a ceramic artist currently part way through a practice based research degree (MPhil), and recently have been assessing the methodology of my project. However to understand this, I realised I needed to look further at what my methods as an artist were. I have been questioning why I use labour intensive slow processes from idea development through to the actual making, and looking at the significance of this within my work. Still ongoing! but it has reinforced for me just how integral the choices I make are, in terms of materials/methods/craft skills, to my work.

  6. Very pleased to have found this blog, and very interested in what you are doing. Thank You.

    Will this be a new ‘language’ we can use to connect to a new, appreciative ‘audience’ ?

    I do feel a sense of hope, (as a maker of both Craft Product and Expressive Work) that we have an independent vehicle for debate and discussion about these ideas
    that this idea and debate has great potential to place our work in a highly relevant context for the 21st Century,
    create through language, an entry point for a new audience outside of the established craft gallery ‘system’ and existing audience

    Look forward to the show and to following the debate.

  7. Pingback: Slow Revolution exhibition « Anna Gravelle's Blog

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