The Naked Craft Network is a collaboration between researchers in Scotland and Canada, where craft plays a key role in the cultural and creative industries.
As part of the Network’s activities, its lead researchers and curators have come together to tour an exhibition of 22 makers’ work to eight venues either side of the Atlantic, from Nova Scotia to Stornoway.
Having reviewed the Naked Craft exhibition during its current run at Tweeddale Museum & Gallery, Magdalena Cattan went along to the New Positions symposium at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) to interview the show’s curatorial team.
In her interview, Magdalena - who is currently doing a PhD on craft in South America at ECA - talks to the group about working across cultures, the impact of the Network on makers, the story behind the show’s four themes and the perception and relevance of craft.
Here are some of our favourite quotes from the interview:
Emma Quin, CEO of Craft Ontario
Pictured second from right in the main photograph
“Collaboration stimulates ideas to grow bigger and bolder. Recognising similarities and shared histories has helped the makers grow their practice in new ways. I think there’s been an incredible impact on the makers, in terms of the connections they’ve made and the international continuum their work now has”.
Denis Longchamps, Artistic Director & Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Burlington
Pictured on the right in the main photograph
“In my practice as a curator, it’s opened up the way I do things. So, I am doing more international projects than I used to because Naked Craft has kind of demystified the process. We always put barriers in front of us - "oh, it’s too expensive" or too this or that - but this project started differently. We decided ‘no barriers’, we’ll do it no matter what. So we dreamt big and now I am always dreaming big!”
Sandra Alfody, Professor in Craft History at NSCAD University
Pictured in the centre of the main photograph
“I don't think that craft has ever been hotter as a research topic. Just like [the exhibition] proved with audience acceptance and openness, I’m finding that topics that would not traditionally be put under ‘craft’ are now reaching out to craft. And it’s interdisciplinary so, for example, I am working with political scientists, people from sociology… I don't think that there has been a more exciting moment”.
Juliette MacDonald, Head of the School of Design at ECA
Pictured second from left in the main photograph
“At ECA, we are looking at innovation, technology, the digital… what that might bring, but we’re also making sure that glass, jewellery and more traditional disciplines are still there and looking at what we can do to work together. It’s not a case of ditching one and embracing another, it is really bringing craft right up to date and making sure it is still relevant”.
Arno Verhoeven, Programme Director for Product Design at ECA
Pictured at the front in the main photograph
“I think we are at the start of a new age. We are starting to challenge. 3d printers, different kinds of open source software… they are all disrupting traditional supply chains and logistics and I think craft offers an opportunity for people to participate in that disruption. There is a freedom to make, which is really exciting”.
The Scottish tour of Naked Craft is generously supported by Creative Scotland Lottery Funding and the University of Edinburgh. It is on at Tweeddale Museum & Gallery until 4th March 2017 and tours to The Gallery, An Lanntair, Stornoway in April 2017.