Reinventing the Wheel
“The music of the wheel will be as balm to your soul. I believe that the yarn we spin is capable of mending the broken warp and woof of our life.” Mahatma Gandhi (1949)
We have unfinished business.
Despite the importance of craft in the ongoing human story, it is often demeaned as “backward”. Most other creative dimensions of life such as fine arts and music are recognised in their own disciplines of knowledge. While much has been written about craft, scholars are often isolated and located in other disciplines. Meanwhile, a generation of craft postgraduates has gone back to the studio or workshop, missing the academic culture. We can be stronger together.
What’s to be done? There is much work needed in putting craft on the agenda in broader discussions such as environment and international relations. Fortunately, there are technologies that now allow collaboration across a dispersed network.
To this end, the Wheel, as a “knowledge house” for craft, is currently being developed. This will be a place to build a deep understanding of the role that craft plays in the world. You can leave your email address here to be updated.
In preparation, a series of talks on the third Wednesday of each month will explore different spokes of the wheel. These provide learnings that will be important in our journey forward. You are welcome to join them.
Your help is appreciated in developing our repository of craft knowledge. See Knowledge Weaving Laboratory for information about our monthly sessions.
Follow the algorithm: New journeys through the world of textiles - As part of Reinventing the Wheel, India’s MAP Academy will present a new platform that helps in discovering new artworks and textile objects based on artificial intelligence. There has been much interest in the use of new artificial intelligence tools for writing. What about AI for objects? Craft provides a critical perspective on technology. In this case, we can assess how well algorithms can help us navigate complex collections of craft objects. It also opens our eyes to the innovative culture of contemporary India which seeks to connect the past to the future. We invite you to an online workshop to explore INTERWOVEN, an AI-based platform developed in partnership with Microsoft, that enables users to visualise and draw connections between […] Fold craft: Uncovering the Nivi sari - In our Reinventing the Wheel series, Kaamya Sharma reflects on the emergence of the Nivi sari as a national dress and how it demonstrates the craft of using as well as making. Anying CHEN: Craft revivals in today’s China - The tenth talk in our Reinventing the Wheel series goes to mainland China, where Professor Anying CHEN discusses many projects by his university that revive traditional crafts across the country. The Art of Masks - The eighth Reinventing the Wheel talk focuses on the craft of protection, as featured in the latest issue of The Journal of Modern Craft. Ezra Shales: The Shape of Craft - In the seventh Reinventing the Wheel talk, Ezra Shales considers how we should value craft found in everyday work and life.