Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Big (Craft) Day Out - Review

What: Craft Out West

When: 24th - 25th July 2010

Where: Waitakere Trusts Stadium

What we saw: Lots of Grannies, acrylic throws, cheap and nasty knitwear. A few quality handcrafters.

What we liked: Miniature knitted dolls, teddies, cartoon characters and tea cosies- amazing!-(see first image below); One crafter was selling good value-for-money handcrafted dolls and toys (second image). We loved her use of old scraps and remnants (including some left over billiard table cloth); It was good to see someone selling crocheted cotton dishcloths; One charming older couple were selling some good quality handmade doll beds, pushchairs etc.; A few stalls were selling vintage toys/cloth/tablecloths/teatowels/fabric; There was a friendly, fun vibe and it was a nice touch that the proceeds of the entry charge were going to the West Auckland Hospice.

What was missing: Pacific arts and crafts- would’ve loved to have seen some tapa cloths, tuvaevae, or weaving; We were disappointed no one was selling patterns or wool remnants. Where can you get cheap bags of leftover wool these days? And where was the Granny Chic? We were hoping for inspiration from other young crafters looking back to older patterns and reinventing them, making them contemporary and stylish. Two elderly women were selling beautifully crafted baby blankets, they used funky colours but they were all acrylic- what a shame!

It was a fun afternoon but there weren’t very many young people around, either behind or in front of the stalls. We were left with the impression that craft out west really needs to be revamped. Perhaps we should take it upon ourselves to do so!

What: Auckland Art and Craft Fair

When: Saturday 24th July 2010

Where: Art Lounge, New Gallery

What we saw: Craft in the design/art sense of the word.

What we liked: Much of it was very slick, humorous and trendy, some of it was beautiful, but there was nothing in particular that struck us as exceptional.

What was missing: Once again, there were no Pacific or Maori crafts. There was some work using textiles, but almost nothing in the home textile craft tradition. It would seem that the dichotomy between domestic craft and art/design craft objects that Rosemary Mcleod alludes to in her Thrift to Fantasy – Home Textile Crafts of the 1930s – 1950s is alive and kicking.

Perhaps the KraftBomb at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on Sunday 25th (and the last Sunday of every month, next one Sunday 29th August, 2010 11am-2pm) or the Devonport Craft Market at Devonport Community House on 1st August (and the first Sunday of every month, next one Sunday 5th September) might prove us wrong. Surely there are many other crafters (or consumers for that matter) who appreciate and value, as we do, the tradition, the history and soul that handcrafted, individual objects bring when we place them in our homes.


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