Tuesday, 19 June 2007

hard or soft

I spent the weekend nursing a migraine and dyeing. A somewhat dire (no pun intended there) combination. In hindsight I should have taken to my bed and stayed there but orders have to be met! Instead of firing up the big electric copper I went gas and hooked up a burner in the backyard, loaded up the bigger stock pot and dyed smaller batches of the new lurex/angora gloves. Dyeing in the rain can be fun- almost like standing round a campfire on a cold day.
In the kitchen I spent Sunday making batches of fig and ginger jam and raspberry jam. If I don't have project on the boil in the kitchen, when I'm dyeing, I tend to wander off upstairs and forget to stir the pot and this nicely segues into this week's 'pot stirring'........

Since getting dropped from this year's Melbourne Design Market I've been musing on the difference between 'hard' and 'soft' craft. By 'hard crafts' I'm think such media as ceramics, resin, etc and 'soft' are therefore those that are textile, fibre, etc based, and the way they are defined by those in the design fraternity and are portrayed in the media (see last weekend's The Age Magazine).

Hard crafts seem to be classified as Design Products much more than say a textile product, and I have been mulling over whether this is also a male/female issue. I hate the division of craft along gender lines but am finding with the blog-craft movement that there is a definite twee 'mother-at-home-connecting-with-like-minded-crafters' feel to the depiction of textile-based craft in particular.

Anyway its getting late, I have to wash my hair and I would love to hear how others feel about this portrayal of textile craft practitioners.


  1. People are so often patronising about craft, seeing it as a domestic add-on.

    It makes me sigh and silently bemoan their ignorance.

    What else can you do.

    I deeply admire your rain-dyeing. It sounds like fun. And vaguely magical.

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  4. thought that was you!
    was looking at the address thinking 'i've seen that somewhere before..'
    do you wish top trash and re-submit?

  5. Yes I too have mused long and hard about this seemingly entrenched division, the irony for me of course being that is that so many men are still head the big fashion houses. Of course fashion is design, and therefore not domestic, and of course high fashion is not for domestic women, or in fact affordable to the domestics who keep their luxury villas in order. But enough of my bitterness. Yes there is also the uber-twee blogging factor perhaps a combination of an idealised domestic nostalgia, over educated design sensibility and retail availability of both raw materials and production machinery. It's much 'harder' to imagine kilns popping up in peoples houses like singer sewing machines...
    Even the riot grrrl inspired feminist making of renegage crafters is still informed by polemics of the gender bias we deal with daily.
    Seems that it's always been this way, and probably wont change in the forseeable future.
    It may be tiring, and you do get sick of the same old arguments but I still think that it's important to keep the fire... or in your case dye pot... burning.

  6. hey pen... there is the non personal email version for you...
    if you get a chance please feel free to bin the original luddite version...
    by they way the rasberry jam is immaculate!!!!!
    now if i could only pump out fresh crumpets like you.


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