Define Me By My Craft (2020)
Define me by my craft is an on-going project that recognises female/female identifying craft makers around the United Kingdom. The work brings together a community of craftswomen and celebrates those who make.
The concept of craftsmanship is ever-changing; it’s fluidity is what makes it timeless. The merging of old and new technologies has been integral for the survival of the industry. With the rise of the digital era, the crafts movement has reacted with a romanticised ideology of materiality, referring to an authenticity of labour-ship, allowing you to see, feel and even smell how things were made.
Since its emergence in the 1800s, crafting has been considered a male-dominated profession, perpetuating the division of gender, race and class. Text written about craftsmanship made little reference to the importance of women in the development of the industry. This work aims to generate conversations surrounding craft and feminism, developing a platform for craftswomen to express themselves.
Tia Bryant uses a handmade camera as a tool to meet other craftswomen and open up conversations about making. After the COVID-19 outbreak, the project evolved and embraced the use of modern technology, allowing for the continuation of the work from home. Combining traditional darkroom methodologies of photo-making with modern technology has brought a hybridity to the project, showing that old and new processes of making can work hand-in-hand with each other.
Whilst the photos created are not definitively perfect images, each photo tells a story about how it was made. The prints act as a document of this community of women developed during the uncertain times caused by the COVID-19. Every encounter, whether physical or digital, has been immortalised into a single, inimitable print.