OH MY GOODNESS
edited my first book, and what a process!
Social Objects is the first book dedicated to Socially Engaged Craft (SEC), and features the writings of Namita Gupta Wiggers, the Socially Engaged Craft Collective, and friends.
Divided into three parts, this text journeys through and engages with SEC in a variety of ways, beginning with the theoretical approaches to SEC. I cannot recommend Namita Gupta Wigger's essay enough, it's a MUST for anyone interested in the field.
I had the opportunity to discuss the differences (and similarities) between SEC and Craftivism with my friend and colleague, Shannon Herbert Waldman. Our conversation touched on feminism and politics, and waded through the institutional barriers and opportunities in these two areas. It was a chance to contemplate nomenclatures and language, efficacy and potency. Believe me when I say it's very edited down, and our conversation lasted more than an hour!
Reflecting on the exhibition with the same name, Social Objects, at the c3:initiative in Portland, OR, members of the SECC discussed their motivations, strategies, and difficulties with SEC, discussing works within the exhibition and previous works.
The final portion of the book may be my favorite. We've been calling it "the workbook" behind the curtain, and it features stories, meditations, assignments, instructions, and prompts regarding SEC. There is something for EVERYONE here, from making cricket flour to working with elderly populations to poetry to cake decorating.
I'm so proud to have been apart of a publication that so readily embraced with complexities and diversity of this field!
You can pick it up online here. All proceeds benefit the Socially Engaged Craft Collective and our ongoing mission to exhibit and education about Socially Engaged Craft.
Mary Callahan Baumstark is a maker, writer, and researcher with an M.A. in Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories from OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario. She is interested in trendspotting in contemporary ceramics and organizing socially engaged or activist projects. She is the current Resident Art Historian for the Socially Engaged Craft Collective.