In chapter one of The Persistence of Craft Paul Greenhalgh discusses craft in regards thirteen different issues. The points he made regarding gender and quality caught my interest.
Greenhalgh describes how gender has played a key role in crafts over the last decades. Crafts have been used by artists to explore the ideas of gender. In the 70s, feminist artists used their practice to change the perception of the role of women. I am especially interested in the way historians and makers have “begun to explore the way that craft objects of various types carry gender connotations.” Imparting a sexual identity on an essentially ungendered object. Although the domestic environment is naturally the woman’s domain, only within the last century have women taken over the role as “cultural producer.” Greenhalgh states, “in the last two decades, the demographic trends in some countries have seen a powerful shift whereby women have come to dominate certain practices.” This is something that I see happening now. A group show I recently helped curate will feature the work of nine women and two men. There are a lot of female potters who are emerging and successful artists.
As Greenhalgh was wordy in his thirteen different discussions regarding aspects of craft, below is his comment on quality and craft…
“Quality is an a priori condition of art. Art is the realization that material has the potential to be raised into a higher state. None of us should tolerate the absence of quality. None of us should tolerate the sophist verbiage that allow those who are against standards for political and economic reasons to equalize the world out into a cheap, uniform mediocrity.” (page 16)
At one point in his essay, Greenhalgh makes a connection between poetry and craft.
“The great poets are the ones who ready poetry.” (page 7)