Craft: Identity through material
Crafts are the material manifestations of people’s identity, history and culture. Historically, they tell us about how different communities exist not only in the past, but in the present. Whether it’s through building shelter, gathering food or creating garments, the specific materials and techniques used are rooted in the very cultural, ecological and geographic spaces these communities occupy. People make do with what they have; with the resources that surrounds them. This allows for a much more harmonious, creative and sustainable way of being.
This project was developed during my residency in the Cayman Islands. I wanted to explore how we can understand, value and progress cultures without losing identity. Cayman Islands can be looked at as a reflection of the impacts of colonial history and migration.
How can nature, traditions, and people help in my exploration of this? And how can we use these aspects to understand the relationship between ourselves, our bodies, and our surroundings? To me, it is in the connection to natural elements, geographical landmarks, the harmony between myself and the eco-systems to which I reside and choose to create in.
I decided to learn how to silver thatch, which is the dying craft that exists in the Cayman community. To delve into a community craft is an attempt to understand culture and history. To use the materials of your eco-system is to connect with nature and to develop aesthetics which are harmonious to the space.
This is the first attempt of many to integrate dying crafts into my work, merging between different fields to integrate older ways of being into newer ways of creating. Creating based on the immersion of the eco-system you reside in while hoping that this can heal, teach, and offer a different way of being.
How can people, communities, and cultures progress uniquely?
How can we conserve our traditions and rituals in a progressive yet unique manner?
How can we maintain individuality in our identities without it diluting into a world of sameness?
It is through the preservation of community, nature and traditions that I find value and belonging.
Video of Final Product
Digital Layouts from Book
Community, Culture & Craft
Mixed Media Book, 2023
Digital Layouts from Book
Photography Selection from Project
Medium Format Selection
Photography and Outfits were created in collaboration with Samo Shalaby during our residency in the Cayman Islands. It is always a privilege to create with you.
This whole project, including the build of this book, used a variety of natural techniques and materials such as plaiting, sun-printing patterns, images, and creating textiles and textures out of dyes and older processes. I hope this inspires the thought that creation can be fuelled by your surroundings. I hope you consider your own way of being and creating. An alternative approach to creating and merging crafts into your practice too.