'is contemporary crafts activity a refuge from the modern world or should crafts embrace modern life?
This question was sent to me through my website the other week. I made a quick reply to the sender, asking a couple of questions, and didn't receive a reply, so the initial query was never answered in full. But I thought it was an interesting question, and perhaps one that others might want to add to, as I know quite a few other textile artists stop be here!
I have never seen crafts activity as a refuge from the modern world - I was brought up with it, its always been a part of my world. My mother is an excellent seamstress and embroiderer, grandmother's both embroider, sew, one of whom was so excellent at delicate lace crochet that she never ceased to amaze me, my mother-in-law love knitting more than probably anything else. Even my father can knit!
With my mother, I tried all sorts of crafts when I was a child, and some of the best times were when we 'made' things - we really did have the 'craft' box where all sorts of bits went into for a rainy day! This type of activity meant that I was able to explore my creativity at a very early age, and to pursue an artistic career; something which I've always considered myself very lucky to be able to do. So, for me arts and crafts have embraced modern life - as it (in my day-to-day job as a designer) pays the bills!
I do think that it is a shame that hand-work hasn't got the level of respect that it used to have, and I do mean in all forms of art. Much of the real skill is gone, and the fact that so many imported goods have such a low price means that the average person hasn't got a real focus on the time and skill involved in many crafts. However, there does seem to be a little bit of a craft revival, and that can only be a Good Thing. The more people who try different crafts, the more people who can understand the effort that goes into it.
And so, off to finish a handbag!