23 January 2007

craft research

craft research
BeautyMy research is raising interesting questions, and there is one I’d like to share and discuss here: ‘Is the concept of beauty timeless and unchanging?’Looking at an example of historical craft practice, namely the ‘Vine Corridor’ (created in 1899, commissioned by the 3rd Marquis of Bute, and situated in the House of Falkland, Scotland), I’d like to explore the question by initially concentrating on the role of natural light and its relation to beauty.In the narrow ‘Vine Corridor’, natural light dances through three, small stain-glass domed windows. The three windows represent different parts of the day, namely ‘dawn’ ‘mid-day’ and ‘dusk’ and are coloured accordingly. For example, the morning window is coloured with cool, soft mauves, greys and blues, the midday window is golden with oranges, yellows and pale blues, and the early evening window has a rich, warm, palette with deep pink, red, purple and gold. The windows in themselves are aesthetically pleasing, quality pieces of craft. But, when natural light passes through the stain-glass and falls on the highly patterned and colourful ‘stucco’ plasterwork on the walls, the significance of the craft aesthetic is heightened. There is a new story being told, one that brings the natural cycle of day together with symbolism in the 'Vine Corridor'. When you walk through the corridor you realise beauty is a dynamic quality; it demands that the eye is constantly moving, challenging the eye's ability to stay focused on one element for a sustained period of time. This is one of my observations, but what are your observations of the role of natural light on craft practice? How does it affect your practice? Does it? Perhaps you would like to comment on another aspect?


  1. Hi Liz
    Ive just read a really interesting dissertation by a final year student who distinguishes between craft in the Uk where the aesthetic is concerned with an external set of symbols and visual images associated with the arts & crafts movement and an inner process related aesthetic associated with Japanese craft. This notion might also be worth exploring further in your own research. What is the visual vocabulary associated with the corridor.

    If the corridor is more concerned with an outer aesthetic then its beauty may be more time specific. How much of the visual language for example is still relevant to us?

    The issue of light is an interesting one - as it suggests that the craftsperson acknowledged the natural world and sought to work with it rather than against it. The beauty associated with this dimension may be more timeless.



  2. Thanks Sandra, I will look at that. Wabi-Sabi also addresses the inner value of the craft process. Thanks for your input.