Dr. Emma Shercliff’s professional output

Collectively making thinking spaces using drawing and stitching

Article – Published 19th Sep 16

Discussions about craft education inevitably necessitate investigation into processes of acquiring embodied knowledge. By extension, this leads to explorations of what this embodied knowledge enables practitioners to do or to know, and its relevance to particular contexts.

In this paper I will discuss and compare examples of collective making and drawing for textiles – specifically hand-stitching and mark-making – that draw attention to ways of knowing that question the emphasis on individuality currently prized in arts education. I propose that these kinds of shared making experiences could open an alternative view which favours a mutually informed sense of multiplicity.

As a starting point, I present findings from my doctoral research, which examined the contemporary relevance of hand-stitching skills in social contexts. I then discuss examples of new research workshops that begin to explore some of these ideas in an educational setting, this time observing the rhythms and patterns of mark-making. Three groups of undergraduate Textiles students at the Arts University Bournemouth participated in collective drawing workshops; question prompts to elicit conversation explored their responses to the drawings and their reactions to the experience.

In the context of an increasingly networked world, where collaboration and interdisciplinary practices emerge as the norm, material practices that enable us “to think differently about our human situation … To understand how identities form, how relationships with others are actively invented… are essential knowledge if societies are to sustain themselves”, according to Carter (2004: XII). I want to suggest that increased opportunities for collective making practices in craft and design education may help to enhance the important human dimension within sustainable craft and design practice more widely.

Carter, P. (2004). Material Thinking: The Theory and Practice of Creative Research. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Publication details

Publication status Published
Refereed 1
Publication title Making Futures IV: craft and the (re)turn of the maker in a post-global sustainably aware society
Publishers name Plymouth College of Art
Volume Vol. 4
Number of pages 11
ISSN 2042-1664