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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Handmade Nation and Faythe Levine Come to Juneau!!

"Handmade Nation" a documentary about craft is brought to Juneau Jan. 26 by the Alaska Design Forum
In the world of artistic pursuits, “craft” often takes a backseat to its seemingly more prestigious cousin “design.” A crafter is seen as maker, following the steps of previous artisans where the pursuit is to replicate and recreate with precision, whereas the designer is the master of the invention, with an end goal of creating the new and never-before-seen. So it is apropos that the Alaska Design Forum has chosen to celebrate the new and inventive in the craft world with its upcoming showing of “Handmade Nation,” a documentary that follows the youthful, feminist, punk and rebellious side to the DIY craft movement.
Photos courtesy of Faythe Levine
As a featured speaker for ADF’s 2010/2011 Un/Common lecture series, author, director, boutique owner and crafts artist Faythe Levine will share her film “Handmade Nation” (released in book form in 2008), and speak about her travels across the country connecting with indie crafters, artists and designers.

“The important thing to me about craft no matter what a person’s skill level is that it is approachable and it creates community,” Levine said.

Levine joined with Cortney Heimerl and 24 unique crafters to give insight to the newly reclaimed movement of crafters where latch-hook rugs of pinups pair alongside stitched skulls and knitted graffiti to create a web-connected realm of the playful, personal, and political. Crafter Sarah Neuburger of the The Small Object pinpoints the drive of the successful full-time crafter in the book version of “Handmade Nation”: “We’re artists, designers, business managers, accountants, customer-service representatives, publicists, writers and website programmers.”

The cross-pollination of artists who craft, crafters who design and designers who create appear to make up the heart of this revolution in craft, and Levine is no exception to the multi-hat rule. With this visit, Levine will have her first chance to explore the Alaska craft landscape thanks in large part to the Alaska Design Forum.

Evelyn Rousso, architect and local ADF representative, said the goals of the nonprofit for the past 19 years has been “to motivate people to discuss, think, and ultimately act to create a built environment that inspires the soul and protects the body.” The Un/Common series is just one way they fulfill this purpose. With projects like FREEZE, an artist collaboration held in January 2009 in Anchorage with the goal of creating large-scale outdoor installations using snow, ice and light (freezeproject.org/alaska/ ), and the upcoming Un/Common design challenge which examines “the unforgotten, communal spaces in Alaskan communities,” including a space in Juneau, ADF works throughout the state to achieve their goals.

Other lecturers of the Un/Common series have explored new media, graphic design, video and animation. Rousso said Levine’s visit also offers an examination of how DIY fits in to larger issues of modern design.

“The DIY movement has been a great source of creativity and inspiration as a grass-roots movement that uses design and art as the basis of creating communities in both the physical and virtual worlds,” Rousso said.

For non-ADF members the film and lecture at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Backroom at the Silverbow will cost $10, $5 for students and military. Annual ADF membership comes with two season passes to all lectures. For more information about the Alaska Design Forum, membership and upcoming programs visit alaskadesignforum.org/. For more on Handmade Nation and Faythe Levine’s work, visit handmadenationmovie.com/.

First published here by the Juneau Empire . . .

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