Laura Potter ‘Craft Samples’ @ Personal Space Project

21 04 2015

Once again I’m totally enamored with an exhibition in Zoe Brand’s ‘Personal Space Project’ : Laura Potter‘s ‘Craft Samples‘.

This collection is titled ‘Redacted Brooches‘.

exhibition media; image used with explicit permission

exhibition media; image used with explicit permission

Without being able to see these in person, I can only get a feel for them via Zoe’s images. But what’s not to love about this group I ask you? The muted colours of the denuded transfer-printed fabric, the little ephemeral wisps of brightly-coloured embroidery thread saved into little plastic bags … like the outcome from an archeological dig or scientific investigation.

Exhibition media: “I had no idea so much of the handicraft I saw as a child came in kit-form, allowing impressive household items to be fashioned by women who had very little skill or feel for materials. My mother subscribed to a monthly magazine full of projects to sew, weave, cast and carve. It was like a craft recipe book with a list of materials and tools, step-by-step instructions, tutorial images and patterns to cut out and use. It was craft-by-numbers. I thought what my [relatives were] doing was accomplished and difficult. I am now not so sure that it was.

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

I admit to getting a bit lost in revery about this collection.

I wondered if Laura’s quasi-destruction of these pieces is an expression of her disappointment that these aren’t the unique and special objects she was led to believe. She is excavating the evidence that they’re not personally designed nor very special at all.

Perhaps she wants revenge for being tricked by exposing them for what they are? Though I dare say that if there was genuine anger then these handcrafted brooches (in their original frames) wouldn’t be so carefully disassembled for us to see their components.

At times I can see a kind of sadness here too … a quiet sorrow for things not being as once thought.

This is a such a brilliant meditation on the subject…

exhibition media

exhibition media; used with explicit permission

I completely love the display – the large group makes the investigation seem compulsive and perhaps even unfinished, both sentiments I can relate to.

As a child I did a lot of similar ’embroider by numbers’ – textile kits, with pre-printed and cut and finished fabric, and all the thread you need. I have a soft nostalgia for these objects, maybe a kinder recollection. Interestingly, I don’t ever remember seeing embroidered brooches like these, and perhaps that’s explained by Laura being a UK native – maybe these just weren’t done in Australia, but more a British object.

Be sure to read Zoe’s text about the work for her perspective too – I like reading how others’ see things; and also for more images.

Laura Potter ‘Craft Samples‘ is online at Personal Space Project (personal visits by appointment) until 30th April 2015.


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