Emma Shercliff

Emma presented a paper at the Transitions conference in Huddersfield last week. She has recently completed a PHD at the RCA and spoke about the importance of the hand and working with a group of ladies making textile pieces for churches etc.

RCA Emma


These were a few of the key points from her talk:

Joining In and Dropping Out: Hand stitching for the self and others.

Hand stitch as a congenial binder for community groups and creates social opportunities. Shared experiences and social ties to community through crafted process, craftivism, well being. Does not fit entirely into all these places neatly but somewhere else.

In the community and private domain. Images seem to focus on older generations, what about the working age men and women.. Ethnographic and auto ethnographic searching. Allowing the maker to decide on process as opposed to asking them to do something specifically.

How does it then affect your own work once you had joined a local embroidery group.

Significant role of talk in meetings as much as the sewing itself.

Feminist linguistics, role of talking and gossip. Emotional labour associated with the entomology of the word which comes from meetings of women after the birth of a new born child.

A continuos chorus. Shared pools of knowledge and life experiences.

Everyone works onto the same work, it is a shared piece, each week someone else would work into the same pieces. It was not about what the individual could do but the collective.

Being swallowed up and absorbed by the task in hand. FLOW – andrew jackson: Amateur practitioners in well equipped personal studios.

Oral culture, shared time and tasks becomes a performance. Experience a sense of belonging.

Has it changed your practice? Not every craft is a social craft.


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