Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Wordsworthian Introduction

This evening we were introduced to the staff and resident poets at the Wordsworth Trust. Each of us was asked to say in a sentence or two what our ambitions for the residency are. Here is what a said, with a little elaboration.

My ambition for this residency is to engage with local makers in order to examine the role of craft in the construction of national identity. I hope to meet with traditional craftspeople to learn skills and to talk with makers about their relationship to history and to Englishness. I am also hoping to find pockets of traditional craft practice that one could characterize as revolutionary, as oxymoronic as that may sound. I am interested in the social histories around craft, especially instances of making under extreme circumstances, as in the example of trench art. In contrast to the assumption that crafts such as pottery or textiles are functional and/or decorative, and therefore mute, I would like to look at the potentially political function of crafts, as well as the use of decoration to convey a political message. I would like to explore traditional craftwork as a form of historical reenactment, in which the maker’s activities are like a form of lifestyle protest with anti-capitalist undertones. And finally, I would like to find a new word for the kind of “craft” that interests me.


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