Integrating Handcraft with Design

Since completing my Masters in Design (MDes) I have been working hard to align all of my work under one name. Before my masters, I was separating my design work ( from my hand work ( I saw one as my vocation and the other as my hobby, my passion. This separation was due to my perceived understanding that one (hand work) was less than the other (vocation). Why? From where does this understanding stem?

Design Teaching

This line of questioning is where my thesis project began to take shape. Historically, and arguably at present, hand work such as sewing is seen as domestic, and not as valuable as work done outside of the home. Looking back on my life, although raised in a family of makers, this perception has continually been reinforced through comments made by family, friends, colleagues and even strangers—comments not meant maliciously but steeped in sexist beliefs. Such comments continually affirmed these notions in my own life and thus it became very difficult for me to realign and recondition my thinking when working through my thesis—a shift in thinking that is probably, as yet, not complete.

Design Research Exhibits

My thesis looked at how hand work can be used in graphic design. Various designers and their work that integrated hand work into their commercial and personal projects were investigated and my own explorations were conducted (see personal portfolio for examples). The work that I produced during this time were intersections of various sewing techniques and printed materials such as magazine pages and product packaging. The method of making, either sewing using a machine or hand, combined with the materials being used held rhetorical qualities that became the focus of my final works that landed me my Masters Degree.

Design paste up

After returning to earth after completing my MDes I realized that I needed to realign my life to these new frames of reference. Thus the amalgamation and redesign of websites began. In honour of the history of design, influences such as Ed Fella and Martin Venezki, as well as my penchant for collage I used paste-up techniques to layout my website and honoured this method by allowing the paste up technique to be seen. This transparency makes for an interesting clash between technique and technology and posed a bit of a problem for my very patient programmer.

The end result is one website that houses all of my work in equal standing—hand work, design work, research, exhibits, craft shows, and online shop.

I am very proud of this realignment as it has not come about without struggle.