G26 – Objecthood: Why we still need things

The recent emergence of the Metaverse and NFTs have brought into question the value of the real-life object (RLO). Indeed, objects can be a problem. They are fragile, take up space, instil greed and limited to one place at a time.

But are these qualities all drawbacks? The stories in our new issue help us consider the enduring value of objects. Maybe their limitations are actually their virtues. Fragility evokes care. Singularity grants aura.

This detour into the virtual may indeed be a useful journey to refresh our appreciation of the physical things that connect us. Along the way, we may also discover new ways of “owning” objects. Objects could have patrons or collective owners.

Enjoy poignant stories of objects as containers of memory and beautiful writing by potters.

This issue is dedicated to the pioneering Pakistani potter, Mohammed Nawaz (1954-2013).

Into the ether and back

Writing in clay

Memory stores

Making at large


The pathfinders for this issue were Abdullah M.I. Syed, Bic Tieu, Bin Dixon-Ward, Grace Pundyk, Jin Ah Joh, Kirstie Murdoch, Michaela Pegum, Rye Senjen, Sally Gray, Sun Woong Bahng and Yu-Fang Chi

Chroma: A mechanical translation of Nahuatl textiles - Ismael Rodríguez describes a project inspired by a sixteenth-century manuscript to reproduce a Nahuatl textile and appreciate the mistakes along the way.
Katsugi: Female divers of Japan come up for art - Zoe Devenport writes about an exhibition by Aiko Ohno and Zoe Porter that celebrates the life of female divers in ink and thread
Late Muhammad Nawaz: The unsurpassable master potter from Harappa, Pakistan - Noorjehan Bilgrami and J. Mark Kenoyer honour Muhammad Nawaz, who brought back to life the ceramic traditions of the ancient Indus Valley.
My pots from Pakistan and the memories they keep alive - Owen Rye recounts his ceramic adventures in Pakistan, with images of the pots that have lived with him in the 50 years since. 
NFT: Hype, new reality or just a giant con? - For Rye Senjen, NFTs are profoundly compromised by their vulnerability to exploitation and environmental footprint.
Imagining a nostalgic future: The cosmic ceramics of Douglas Black - Liliana Morais explores the world of a US-born ceramicist who gives expression to planetarity from his self-built house in the mountains of Japan.
The use of function - Rob Barnard argues for the value of use in ceramics as the door into a multi-sensuous experience.
Dancing with stars: From light to dark from dark to light  - Sebastian Blackie reflects on the celestial ceramics of Jane Perryman and Tom Hall writes about the accompanying soundtrack by Kevin Flanagan.
Yarn ni Yatra: Crafts as a board game - Mridushi Singhal explains the rules of the beautiful board game she designed to understand the craft cultures of Kutch.
Silk thangka: An unbroken thread - Gary Wornell journeys to the Pullahari Gumba Monastery hoping to find Nurbu, whose life is dedicated to the tradition of sacred Buddhist imagery in luscious silk.
Crafting a canon: Change through scholarship  - Inspired by writers like Edmund de Waal, D Wood argues for the importance of craft writing, by makers.
Oceans in a tea cup - Alma Studholme admires the work of Jayanto Tan and reflects on her own work that bridges migration with the warmth of a teacup.
When the land becomes a jewel - Yu-Fang Chi describes her Belgian residency when she applied her jewellery weaving technique to the land itself.
Rediscovering the salt of the earth in COVID times - According to Pamela See, Joachim Froese revives the nineteenth-century craft of salt printing to capture the ethos of the COVID-19 epoch.
Glimpses through glass of worlds recently lost - Holly Grace shares the journeys that inspired her homages in glass to a disappearing world
On joining the NFT art mania: Creative liberation or lotacracy - Abdullah M.I. Syed registers a classic Pakistani object as a non-fungible token (NFT) only to re-affirm its value as a real tangible object. 
Abdullah’s lullaby of lost looms - Songül ARAL finds a way to connect with childhood objects through miniature looms made by a retired mechanic and his memories.
Wrapping the present within the past  - From her Bruny Island home in Tasmania, Janine Combes gathers stray objects where memories live.
The box: A magic object of objects - Beginning with the Japanese animation Spirited Away, Bic Tieu traces her fascination for the magic of the box in Japanese craft and discovers how it connects humans and nature.
Wildfire: Glimpses of art from open train doors - Reviled in its time, Joshua Nash and Tobias Nash find cultural value in Adelaide's graffiti scene of the 1980s documented in a new book.
Heirlooms for distant generations - Clare Hooper re-creates an extended family in found heirlooms.