Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Was Your Favorite Craft?

That's what we asked some artists as we get ready for the opening of Assignment: Crafty on June 4.

Elise Richman:
   "I loved making candles as a kid. The process involved amazing transformations and vats of heated wax seemed like witches' cauldrons. Candle crafts feel very elemental. I was rapt watching candle wax melt like ice bergs into pools of lava. Candles are shape-shifters of a sort becoming layered rainbow stars, solid scented blocks, dipped tapered stalks or just about anything.
   I could never master any crafts involving yarn and hooks. I always blamed my left-handedness but know this is a poor excuse since I'm certain many south paws are knitting/crocheting fiends. My fingers get twisted and I can't manage the delicate intricacies of casting on, stitching and knotting. This was a source of shame when knitting became hipper than cupcakes or being in a band."

Graham Bell:
   "My favorite was always drawing "boycentric" drawings. Of cars and dinosaurs and robots.
   My trouble was when it was realized by my teacher that I was just tracing out of a book with exceptionally thin paper and then adding on my own touches. Usually having to do with dino-robot-cars. Zoom. Rawr. Beep.
   Also I really liked gluing construction paper to itself with a gluestick. Never Elmer's. The slow-drying time was a definite negative."

Lisa Kinoshita:
   "As a kid I made daisy chains, also chains folded from Doublemint gum wrappers. Early inklings of jewelry making..."

Shannon Eakins:
   "That's a hard question for me, but I had a special love of that clay that you made from flour, salt, and water (an early self-drying clay?). I remember making figurines, and miniature girl-scout cookies with it. The best part was using my mom's clear nail polish (shhhh!) to seal my creations, always before they were completely dry, and then watching the mold grow."

Jennifer Adams:
   "When I was a kid, I enjoyed cross-stitch. Before heading to a friend's mountain cabin for two summertime weeks, we would head to the sewing store. My mom allowed my sister and me to pick up a little cross-stitch kit to pass the time when we weren't hiking, reading, playing UNO or saving mountain dogs.
   Now I enjoy knitting, which I am terrible at, and needle felting, which sometimes scares me because the needle is so big and barbed, and moving in such a fast stabbing motion!
   I have always wanted to whittle little animals out of wood, but am afraid of cutting myself to ribbons. As a kid, I tried with soap. I ended up with a chunk of chopped up soap and a mad dad."

Colleen Maloney:
   "My favorite craft is also a favorite family memory. When we were kids we got to decorate our own Christmas tree. So we sit on the floor and make our own ornaments out of straws, pipe cleaners, glitter, egg cartons and whatever else we could find. The only challenge was cleaning up the Elmer's glue and glitter on the coffee table."

Marc Dombrosky:
   "At the time, it felt more like an intensive training mission than a *craft*, but my brother and I would build extensive arsenals out of white paper and Scotch tape that we would then emblazon with insignias--Thundercats, Ho!--code numbers, buttons, and secret messages meticulously drawn in black marker. Telescoping swords would have components that would augment their use, like robotic gloves, secret compartments full of paper throwing stars and a shoulder strap. A shoulder strap?"

Revisiting craft projects culled from how-to books from the 1960s to the 1980s, Assignment: Crafty asked artists to explore three randomly assigned projects taken from these books. Artists were given the freedom to create one, two or all three projects, and encouraged to modify, combine and interpret the projects in any way through the filter of their own artistic practice.

Come see contemporary perspectives on fish printing, bottle gardens, rock creatures, Ojos de Dios and more from the following artists: Jennifer Adams, Jessica Bender, Peter Lynch, Matt Johnson, Ann Darling, Lauren Faulkner, Chris Sharp, Colleen Maloney, Elise Richman, Saya Moriyasu, Tobin Eckholt, Maria Jost, Meghan Mitchell, Lisa Kinoshita, Jennifer Peters, and Terry Dew.
Assignment: Crafty is curated by Ellen Ito and is on view at the Telephone Room Gallery from June 4-30, 2011. The opening is on June 4 from 5-9 p.m. Viewable by appointment almost anytime afterwards -- email us at thetelephoneroom@gmail.com for an appointment.

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