Recent years have seen a decline in craft and creative education in schools and a shift from practical to theoretical learning models in higher education. Young people are leaving school with no idea that craft-based careers are even possible, and graduates of craft-based degree courses are entering the workplace with so few hand skills that their employers must train them from scratch.
Where did the idea come from that white-collar work should be rewarded more with money and status than that of a blue-collar worker? Intelligent Hands looks at this phenomenon, the historical precedents that led us here and why hand skills are crucial in education and for lifelong learning. The authors are on a mission to enlighten the uninitiated and persuade the nay-sayers who dismiss craft as no more than a nice hobby or believe that doing things with your hands is for those who can’t use their heads.
Celia Pym explores the varied evidence of damage: how repair draws attention to the places where garments and cloth wear down and grow thin. These personal tales document the intimate damage caused to clothing by everyday use and the parallels with the consequent wear and tear on the body.
Rag Manifesto is a unique, artist’s view of the traditional art of rag rug making for this age of the Anthropocene. Projects highlight a reverence for our lost textiles, a response to the environmental impact of fast fashion and a proof that rag is a rich resource, wrongly classed as a taboo material. Rachael Matthews gives us permission to cut up our old fabrics offering a support structure for decision making and a chart on how to make liberating decisions about destroying a garment.