Monday, September 22, 2008

Recap of ACC Salon - Politics of Craft

With journalist and consumer culture critic Rob Walker moderating a discussion with the smart, articulate multi-hyphenates Sabrina Gschwandtner (pictured right) and Liz Collins (with Walker, left), Thursday night's Salon at the American Craft Council was a feast of ideas and engaging insights.

The entire event is available to download as a podcast, and it's worth a listen.

Prompted by Walker's thought-provoking questions, Collins and Gschwandtner spoke to such issues as "what role do craft and design play to promote change?", "What is the value of non-utilitarian public expressions of craft?", and "What is the effect of trendiness on the DIY movement?"

Their considered, honest responses touched on a number of topics, from the Luddite Movement as an example of how craft can effect change (fascinating!), to how the fact that works of craft suggest a bodily presence might explain why craft is so popular today in our increasingly digital age. They discussed the challenge of craft in the context of the third world, and craft as an alternative to mainstream consumer society.

Toward the end, American Craft Magazine editor Andrew Wagner asked Walker how he came to craft as a topic. Walker said he found it to be the most interesting thing happening in consumer and material culture today, and it presents questions about what it means to make something, to buy something, etc.

This was the last in the Summer Salon Series at the American Craft Council, and I look forward to the third season of Salons next summer (and hope the ACC Library will have more chairs by then!!)

Posted and photos by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

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