A Way of Thinking

 Kokedama I, Gwen Wilkinson, from the series “A fine balance”, Tintype (photograph on a metal plate)

Kokedama I, Gwen Wilkinson, from the series “A fine balance”, Tintype (photograph on a metal plate)

 
 

October 14 2014

We’ve become accustomed to seeing the word ‘craft’ used as a general catch all term for specific objects like pots, chairs and brooches or the professions concerned with the creation of such objects such as ceramicist, furniture maker or silversmith. However, for those who engage with it on a deeper level, craft is an idea that transcends disciplines. As Glen Adamson states in Thinking through Craft, ‘Just as scholars are beginning to view craft practice from the standpoint of social history, anthropology and economics, practitioners of various kinds are exploring the problematics of craft through increasingly diverse means.’

I was reminded of this recently when working with fine art photographer, Gwen Wilkinson. In discussing her work, she spoke at length about the process of crafting a photograph, the importance of understanding materials, the complexities of the making process and how both were integral to the expression of the work. Wilkinson’s work explores the points of intersection between nature and artifice, metamorphosis and decay, fiction and reality. To realise her work, she employs a variety of photographic techniques ranging from historic analogue methods such as wet plate collodion, albumen and cyanotype printing, to advanced digital composites. As we continue to discuss craft, it’s good to be reminded of the scope of the idea and how it should no longer be simply defined as a discipline or practice but as a way of thinking.

 

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Frances McDonald