Unfold the hand: a stroll through current arts and crafts

Environment, time and body: three itineraries through the universe of contemporary arts and crafts in Catalonia and Occitania

“Unfold the hand” describes the initiation movement of an intelligence which characterises us as a species: the connection between hand and thought.

Arts and crafts, pushed into the background by our western culture that gives priority to the concepts of art transcendence and design aesthetics, are vigorously emerging and building a contemporarily created language based on their intimate and daily universe.

Unfold the hand: a stroll through current arts and crafts

Environment, time and body: three itineraries through the universe of contemporary arts and crafts in Catalonia and Occitania

“Unfold the hand” describes the initiation movement of an intelligence which characterises us as a species: the connection between hand and thought.

Arts and crafts, pushed into the background by our western culture that gives priority to the concepts of art transcendence and design aesthetics, are vigorously emerging and building a contemporarily created language based on their intimate and daily universe.

Environment:
building our world

Environment

"The mark of handmade work transmits the evidence of human presence"

Maria Montessori

When they make their objects, men and women become the builders of their own world.
Pushed aside by modernity and industrial production, we see how the importance of traditional know-how, natural materials and link to the territory is coming back to the surface, reclaiming a new relationship with environment.

Mònica and the everyday nature of the making

Environment

Description

In accordance with traditional domestic arts and crafts, where the making of pieces used to be carried out together with other daily tasks, Mònica Guilera works and lives in her house-workshop in Vilanova i la Geltrú. Mingling life and work, she creates baskets and other objects with vegetable fibres and, in the making process, she builds her own world. She combines the traditional techniques of the Catalan basketwork with other specific ones such as the fishing basketwork, which she reinterprets, giving them a new life through the creation of contemporary objects.
She has become a basket maker to be a bit freer and speaks in favour of the historical legacy of basketwork and its current presence in order to link work, making process and daily object again, in search of a world of proximity.

Credits

Mònica Guilera Subirana

Lina and the mountain weaving

Environment

Description

Settled in the heart of the Pyrenean mountains of Lleida, Lina embodies a double tradition: the typical domestic and rural weaving loom, deeply rooted in the Pyrenees; and the knitting table used in Terrassa’s textile industry that she would use with her family.
Lina dyes and makes vegetable printings (ecoprints) thanks to the plants she collects around and uses wools from businesses that attach importance to local resources.
Through the collection of the materials in the surrounding nature and her work at the workshop, Lina’s daily life becomes an act of care: her pieces both protect from the cold and preserve her environment.

Credits

Lina Ratia

Olivia, Sarah and the cycle of wool

Environment

Description

Going back to the living material and recovering its sense, linked to the natural seasons and cycles. This is the aim of Olivia and Sarah’s initiative, which promotes the revival of the wool in the Ariège region, a local raw material that had almost fallen in disuse in the mechanisms of industrial production.
Following the rhythm of the seasons, the project recovers the traditional cycles and habits: wool obtained by shearing, long manufacturing processes and creation of pieces through traditional techniques and movements that preserve the presence of handwork. This project is rooted in the territory and contributes to the growth of a series of agents who generate new material and social networks on a local scale.

Credits

Laines Paysannes

The course of time

Time

"The time involved in handmade work is the metric poesy of the object"

Richard Sennett

Handmade production draws a continuity line between the legacy of the past and the new movements that will produce the objects of the future. In this making process, the rhythm of the body, the presence of the human and the relationship with the machine gain strength.

Stéphanie and the legacy of Martres-Tolosane

Time

Description

Trained in the deep tradition of earthenware in Martres-Tolosane, Stéphanie looks for her way from the legacy she received. In Martres-Tolosane, the workshops host the traditional motifs of flowers and birds with highly delicate handmade decorations that have lived on since the 18th century.

In those workshops, Stéphanie learnt the techniques and colours that she transforms into new motifs. Daily scenes and new brush-strokes transform that traditional universe respecting the legacy, reproducing the learnt movements and looking for a new language to express herself.

Credits

Stéphanie Joffre

Zoe and the dilated time

Time

Description

Zoe invites us to the universe of her workshop in Foix, where her creative work is marked by slowness and constant rhythm. Following a spiral movement to create jewels or the rhythm of the weaving loom, she draws up a work based on the repetition of movements that looks like a meditation process.

In contrast with the fast speed of industrial production, craft time allows us to become aware of the time of the making process and of the necessary moments to produce things: making a plant grow to obtain the raw material, collecting it, preparing it and spinning it.

Craft time becomes a dilated time in a society of immediacy.

Credits

Zoë Montagu

Mar, David and the movements of the future

Time

Description

The arrival of new technologies poses uncertain questions to the craft world: what will the relationship be like between the machine and some hands that are used to touching the material? How can you make your work yours with the distance of the new technologies? How can you preserve the movements you have learnt from generation to generation?…

According to Mar, 3D printing opens new ways of creating and experimenting and replaces the repetitive processes which do not provide any added value to artisanal work. In the face of fear and uncertainty, David claims that machines become assistants and that there is no risk of losing the genuine artisanal touch: the life and the soul of a piece can only be obtained through the movement of craftsmen and craftswomen.

Credits

Ceramistes de La Bisbal
David Rosell Perez
Mar Marcelino

Head, heart and hand

Body

"Fine art is that in which the hand, the head and the heart of man go together"

John Ruskin

The artisanal practice requires the involvement of the craftsman or craftswoman’s body: the head to plan the piece, the heart to experiment new forms and shapes, and the hand to execute the traditional movements and techniques again.

Xavier and the art of experimenting

Body

Description

Xavier’s work invites us to reflect on the experience of the making process, on the future of the learning in relation to the work. In his workshop, together with his team, he carries out several research processes based on different techniques and materials.

Xavier tells us about the tension between the comfort of the learnt movements, the knowledge of the tools and the possibilities of the materials on the one hand, and the necessary discomfort of work to open new ways for research, on the other hand.

Credits

Xavier Mañosa

Xavier and the projecting hand

Body

Description

According to Xavier, the work is planned with the hand and the act of prototyping is carried out through the pattern and the drawing. With a pencil, he draws several versions of a piece until he gets the appropriate result.

When planning a work, he speaks in favour of the synergy between the knowledge of the technique and the know-how of the hand. Xavier Mas collects wooden boards that wait for their project. What could be a mere cold design object is completed by the heart to become an artisanal creative work based on the head-heart-hand trio.

Credits

Xavier Mas

Sylvie and the tactile look

Body

Description

In the heart of the High Pyrenees, Sylvie carries out her research on traditional ceramic containers asking herself about the limits between the daily object and the artistic one. Apart from giving shape to the thinking, her movement goes further and opens new horizons.

The living hand and the feeling through touch are the expression and the manifestation of her thinking. She says that her creation involves the whole body. Each and every touch on her pieces gives a presence to her work: her own presence.

Credits

Sylvie Enjalbert

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