MA Critical Craft Studies Practicum Projects

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 7
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    Interwoven Mesh of Re-existence: Craft Knowledges in Puerto Rico
    (2022) López, Maru
    This essay is rooted in place specifically in Puerto Rico. From the distance of 15 years of living outside of the archipelago, I attempt to understand how the precarity brought by multiple crises has created a moment when spaces and relations have sprung to help people survive and thrive. I reflect on the work of four Puerto Rican artists, Jorge González Santos, Javier Orfón, Zaida Goveo Balmaseda and Lulu Varona. These artists are exploring craft knowledges through which they engage and learn about the land and its history while creating a mesh of relations that expand the notions of Puerto Rican identity. Through a close look at their practices, I analyze the dialogue between the state-led projects of modernization of the 1950s and the present situation. This dialogue allows exploration of the connections between craft, crises, colonialism, and ideas of Puerto Rican identity. In the essay I move in a nonlinear way, sharing memories and sensory experiences. These are intertwined with oral interviews and historical context that present the ways these artists critically engage with ideas of the land, social relations, and history. As they explore textiles, ceramics, and straw they create networks that contribute to building systems that allow them to envision change. I define these processes as decolonial. Decoloniality is a messy, nonlinear, ongoing process through which different perspectives emerge and coexist. Furthermore, it entails a multiplicity of knowledges and a plurality of being that are essential for the creative thinking necessary for imagining possible futures for Puerto Ricans.
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    Learning to Dye in the Anthropocene: Environmentalism in Natural Dyeing in the United States from the 1960s to Today
    (2022) Guthrie, Laurin Colleen
    This paper examines how issues of environmentalism are addressed in writing about natural dyeing from the 1960s and 1970s to today. Using a critical lens of environmental art and art activism proposed by scholar T.J. Demos, the writing of contemporary natural dyers Sasha Duerr and Dede Styles are examined alongside the historic literature to understand how approaches to natural dyeing have shifted in response to the environmental concerns which characterize the Anthropocene.
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    Spoons in Exchange: Carving Intimacies
    (2022) Hawes, Kate;
    With the role of the internet becoming increasingly important to craft learning and craft community-making, my research on spoon swapping in a spoon-carving community points to how social relationships impact craft learning and the sustaining of a craft practice. More emphasis should be placed on craft learning in present day popular craft movements. My paper shows how spoon carvers learn from each other in hon-hierarchical structures like copying each other’s spoons in spoon swaps, carving online, and in social craft gatherings.
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    "The Steadiness of a Demolition Expert:" Craft Skill in 1960s Eye Makeup
    (2022) Lorentz, Kae Anne
    This paper examines the relationship between makeup and craft, reframing makeup as a craft praxis and the body as a craft object, using the case study of the “cut crease” technique of eye makeup application popularized in the 1960s. In doing so, I examine how-to content from the mid-20th century in order to show that the 1960s were an inflection point in the history of makeup due to a reconfiguring of boundaries between “professional” and “amateur” skillsets and a broadening of the vocabulary used to describe makeup techniques among non-professionals. The final portion of this paper is an in-depth firsthand description of a series of three different makeup applications featuring different permutations of the cut crease technique using instructions, tools, and products analogous to ones available to middle-class American consumers in the 1960s. This illustrates the skills and specialized knowledge required to create such a look as well as the limitations of the how-to content of the era.
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    In the Fray: Black Women and Craft, 1850 - 1910
    (2021) Goodman, Mellanee
    In the Fray: Black Women and Craft, 1850- 1910, examines the lives of Black craftswomen from enslavement and beyond emancipation, suggesting that these women have been historically invisible within and outside of the craft canon. By examining craft through the lens of skilled craftswomen, this research centers on Black women who lived between 1850 and 1910, looking specifically at the change from craftswomen being enslaved to craftswomen being free women entering into institutionalized education. By taking the upper South, including the Southern Appalachian Mountains, as a geographical area of reference, this paper puts forth an analysis that refutes existing work that suggested that this area was without a Black craft history. Additionally, this approach highlights change over time in the upper South while resting on the context of Black life during this tumultuous period of American history.