Tuesday, 28 October 2008

"Craft: transforming traditional crafts" - the review

Well, of course I could not actually resist buying myself a copy of "Craft:transforming traditional crafts" (issue 8) - see earlier post on 17th October. And I am pleased to report that it's really quite impressive. They have packed a lot into a compact size - it's following the trend of some magazines here to downsize so its about 2/3 the usual (although frustratingly its a matter of millimeters too deep and wide to qualify as a "letter" rather than a "large letter" by the Royal Mail).

There's a number of well written articles including the now compulsory contribution to the debate about the uneasy/unholy alliances between "fine art" and "craft" and whether the two terms can ever be used together for the same piece (personally I say yes and stuff all the snobbery, but that would make a short and dull article).

I don't know whether it is just conincidence but there are two separate articles about craft mixing with technology for some fascinating results. The most intersting of the two was about knitting yarn that is coated with infrared ink. As the knitter knits they can stop at various points to record videos, photos or sounds. Once the piece is complete they do some technological voodoo and you can then use an infrared camera to locate specific points on the garment that link to the recording made at that time. One person was knitting a scarf for her brother and various points along the scarf were linked to a series of videos and pictures of her baking some cookies. Another person recorded moments of resolving technical challenges in the piece (could be ever so useful for Distant Stitch!). Another article included someone who had woven a piece out of audiotape and "when you touch it, your skin completes a circuit and it generates a series of clicks".

Some things seemed ridiculously ambitious, for example the piece explaining how to create your own stained glass "over just a weekend". I wonder if that includes for time spent in the emergency department or not? Or how about making your own stilts? There was the article on making a bedcover out of vintage scarves - I had to scream "no", because it seemed infintely preferable to keep them as scarves to me.

Other items that were great and I can't wait to ty them out include build your own lap loom, make your own googlemap of places of interest in your area, create your own digital handwriting typeface on www.fontifier.com , and weaving a rug from old sweaters. Although I haven't had time yet to try out any of these and test just how robust the instructions are, they do look well written and logical and are set out in numbered steps.

My conclusion is, certainly worth buying specific copies, although a monthly subscription at £9 a time is maybe a bit steep. I'd be quite happy to start it off on a postal trip around any Distant Stitchers who are interested ( if you give me a week or so to enjoy it first). A quick calculation on the Royal Mail site gives a postage cost of 90p second class, so if you're interested just let me know.


JaneO said...

Kathryn, I would love to borrow it when you are ready, the whole knitting/video thing sounds fascinating. ps am now addicted to StumbleUpon.

Karen said...

Sounds fascinating. Just had a look at the front cover on Amazon and it gives a completely different impression.
Wonder how easy it is to get an infrared camera.