I want to share two short videos that are both reflections of craft and process. Both come from design studios that I love very much and follow very closely. They couldn’t be more different when it comes to process, and it has left me thinking about what craft means, what design demands, and what is of value in a completed object.
The first comes from Nervous System, a design studio in Massachusetts. They represent a creative movement powered by devices like 3D printers, which (I suspect) have had a huge impact on design and material production, especially with regard to skill, material, and timing.
I don’t at all agree with what Louis-Rosenberg’s claim that their work is unique because of the unpredictability of their material. In handcraft materials are always unpredictable; cellulose and protein fibers are like the animal and plant organisms that produce them. There is something else, I think, about Nervous System’s process that is unique, something that relates both to modeling and to production. They’re an example of what can be done now that 3D printing has changed production for those who have access; they seem to me like a better example of what might be possible if we make technology (and access) more democratic.
The second comes from Andrea Donnelly, a local weaver whose work is on display now at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. It’s a longer video, but well worth the time, especially if you have any interest in textiles. Donnelly’s weaving is large-scale and incredibly time consuming. It does not, as Jessica predicts in the video above, take years to complete a piece, but it is hard to estimate the hours, especially once you notice that in many cases, Donnelly is weaving a project, dyeing it, unravelling it, and then weaving it again into two projects using the warp and the weft separately:
When I realized exactly what Donnelly’s process was, I was a little terrified and a little in love. Weaving one instance of her works would take an intimidating amount of time. Weaving, unweaving, and reweaving an entire installation is a bit unthinkable. I rather worry that viewers can’t appreciate the magnitude of what she’s doing here. Part, or perhaps a majority of the piece is the private performance we glimpse in the video above; it’s something you can’t see in a gallery, but it is central to the work.
How does process impact concept and final product? Does it matter at all, if the audience doesn’t have that information?
“Nervous System & Growing Designs with Shapeways 3D Printing.” Shapeways. Youtube.com. 16 Oct. 2012. 28 Oct. 2012.