Nostalgia is not what it used to be. Nor are a lot of things. A big part of my current project - and creative work in general - is looking back to look forward. Finding patterns in behaviour, trends, colour and shape to try and imagine what the future will look like. The current project a memory of a memory, discusses the idea of weave as a contemporary craft.
There's constant debate around the definition of craft and the impact it has on it's practice. The concept that craft is define by its past - centuries of a technique being used and manipulated, "crafted" in the greatest sense of the word - makes for contemporary craft to exist as a bit of an oxymoron. How can you make something truly contemporary, truly "new" if you're drawing upon a technique that's been practiced for years?
I'm slowly coming round to a new way of seeing craft and as usual, it's best describe through another concept. Analysing how things can be defined by their past yet also project into the future naturally leads one to the topic of time, particularly the sense of now.
There are long debates around how one can live in the moment, for as soon as one is aware of the moment, that moment has already passed. In a sense for something to be a moment, and for one to purely live in it, one cannot be aware of the moment at all but then does the moment exist at all? It's a tad ridiculous. An easier way of considering it is as a perception paradox. We are only aware of the moment and can identify it because we are aware of what has come before and can remember it. Yet at the same time, as soon as we're aware of that moment we confine it to our past and become aware of the future. Basically, the moment is sandwiched in-between the past and future.
And that's a way of seeing contemporary craft. In it's physicality it's perception is controlled by time. At the time of creating, the craft can be seen as contemporary, in knowledge of and in comparison to all that has come before. Yet once the physical object is created, it is no longer part of the future. It's a bit of a muddle really. But by positioning contemporary craft so that it's always trying to sit on the edge of the future, rather than one step back in the past, you're going to have a decent Neo-Craft sandwich.
It's why I like the name "Nostalgia is Not What it Used to Be" as alludes to that idea of constant contradiction. The more we try to tack something down to a certain time or place, the more muddled we get. It seems to come back to the easiest way of saying it - in the discussion of craft and any creative practice, the only constant is change.