When Art Meets Craft

by Judy Newman

At the recent Sydney Contemporary art fair I was interested to see several works made using craft techniques and/or materials. This characteristic seems to give the works a familiarity which enables people to relate to them easily but to also look at the craft in a new way.

Here are some pieces that took my eye because of their craft content.

Images 1 to 4: Series of mixed media embroidery, appliqué by Joy Ivill, for sale from around $1,350 to around $2,500. There’s nothing nanna about this fancy work. They are worked in basic embroidery stitches with some appliqué on vintage linen (mostly tea towels actually).

Images 5 and 6: Take a bunch of crocheted motifs, spray paint them in silver and charcoal tones and pin them to the wall – and doesn’t it look amazing. The title is Grow in Light by Wendy Kawabata, an artist who is based in Hawaii and regularly uses handcraft in her work. This work is designed to be look different each time it is installed; you’ll notice that the motifs are individually pinned in place rather than being stitched or glued together.

Images 7 and 8: This delicate installation of printed feathers is titled Mist Net by Rebecca Jewell, and is selling for $18,645.

Image 9: New Zealand artist Wayne Youle enlisted the help of his mum for this one, so the gallery assistant told me, and she appears to be a keen knitter. 25 metres of garter stitch later and Wayne has the work: How Long a Piece of String Actually Is.

Image 10. Another piece by Wayne Youle, Sleeping Dad, hand sewn acrylic felt on Belgian linen, $16,000.

Image 11. Detail of Moth to a Flame 3 by Lyndi Sales, is created with Vilene, bamboo and string. Vilene is probably a much underrated material, easy to work with and affordable, note to self.

Image 12: And this is a painted work in progress which I loved. It could make a great quilt design. Apologies to the artist as I missed recording his name.

What do you think of these crafty artworks? … it seems the selling prices are a world away from the craft market but I do love the fact that craft is being seen as ‘art’.

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