Sensing the Studio: The Role of Embodied Knowledge in Understanding Visual Representations of Craft Studios

This twenty-year comparative visual and sensory ethnographic analysis of fiber studio photographs from the archive of 'American Craft Council Magazine' (2000-2020) foregrounded my embodied knowledge as a craftsperson. By defining “studio photography” as photographs of craftspeople, materials, space and actions, I then identified a spectrum of studio photographs from a wide discipline of textile processes and spaces. In many photographs, through memory and imagination, I was able to perceive the feel, sound and smell of materials and tools. By situating myself in experiential terms, I explored my body-mind interactions with body positions, materials, techniques, and the time they require. In this analysis it became essential to articulate both implicit and embodied knowledge. Using interdisciplinary methods that included embodied sensations and memories expanded my ability to analyze images using various forms of knowledge not always associated with visual analysis. This demonstrates how researchers and craftspeople can extend their methods beyond propositional knowledge to include an array of alternative knowledge evoked through a spectrum of photographs.
Craft, Studio, Phenomenology, Senses, Ethnography, Visual Analysis, Photography, Representation, American Craft Council, Magazine