Sunday, 20 January 2008

Other materials for making

The hair arrangement by the newly married zulu woman... by understanding structure and looking carefully I was able to work out how it was constructed and maintained and I stand corected if it is not so.
The question ,'what other materials may be available to use' . The craft consumer in South Africa has been trained to expect refined, well made objects whether it be a telephone wire basket, a straw broom, a carved animal or an exquisitely beaded necklace .
Not only do the consumers but also the makers have the same high standards of what craft should aspire to.
The use of 'feral' materials, and there will be some, takes a long time to explore and then 'tame' to a standard of acceptance.
At the Phansi Museum in Durban there are original works that were used within a culture. Many of those pieces were quite freely constructed, not necessarily made to last and certainly using much recycled material particulalrly textiles..
If the contemporary makers were able to view those collections then I feel that they may percieve other materials which could be used.
It would be wonderful if an exhibition of such objects could be taken on a mobile tour to villages where the makers could have a very close look at them, even handle them. Many people will never have seen the older crafted objects in a non confronting enviroment.
This would lead to exploring materials which may not have been considered, particularly manufactured materials.
It seems hard to imagine any materials that have not yet been eyed off.
However there in the Drakensburg the women had not shredded up mealie bags which have endless thread in them so it is possible.
In Australia we have hardly scratched the surface in the use of fibrous materials from recycled sources for making. Happy days to come.
The image is Heather's cloak made from hand made string of red hot poker leaves then the string was netted to a cloak. shape.
Corn husks could be used in a similar manner.

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