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The Craft Exchange

by Sayraphim on October 2, 2008

I am in 3 exhibitions as part of Fringe this year. One is Totem, as you all know, one is Digital Fringe, which I submitted a bunch of digital images I’ve made over the past couple of years which is shown on hundreds of screens around the world (I think), and one is The Craft Exchange, by The Safari Team.

The idea was that you sign up and they send you some craft in the mail. In return, you make some craft, stick it in an envelope and post it back. Then everyone comes to see it on one night, which was last night.

I emailed them and got accepted. While waiting for my craft to arrive in the mail, I figured that I’d been wanting to knit eyeballs for a while and hadn’t had a reason, and that this would be the perfect opportunity. I figured since I’m so keen on the DIY thing, that I’d then write the pattern for the eyeballs, and post it to them as well, asking that they make a bunch of copies that people could take. Free eyeball patterns from a craft show, I’d be happy if I came across that.

My envelope of craft still hadn’t arrived by the time I’d knitted 4 eyeballs and perfected the pattern, and then I recieved an email saying – we still don’t have your craft yet, so post it on in!

So I trotted off to the post office like a good artist and sent my eyeballs.

The next day my craft envelope arrived, a lot flatter than I imagined. I opened it curiously to find that it was several A4 pieces of photocopied paper. Mosaics of a zine like nature. Kind of cool, but not at all what I expected.

Last night we went to the opening, down a darkened back alley in Northcote. It was held upstairs in a warehouse, a large room filled with people and lots and lots of photocopied art pinned to the wall. There were 7 ‘featured’ artists, which seemed to mean that the several large installations were done by favoured artists who had their name by their work. As to everyone else’s art, none of it was labeled and I found it the whole show a little weird. My eyeballs were sitting on a shelf with the photocopied patterns underneath them, but no sign or anything stating people could take one. I’m prepared to bet that no one did, because there was no way you could know you were allowed to walk away with one.

It wasn’t that it was a disappointing exhibition, lots of the art was well done or clever, but it jsut was totally not what I expected. I pictured a variety of different craft objects, rather than all just photocopies.

I wonder if they wanted mostly photocopies, or was it that most people were influenced by receiving the Safari’s craft before they started their own. I wonder if I had of seen the photocopies before I started, would I have changed my mind on what I was going to submit, or even dropped out thinking – well, photocopying isn’t really what I do…

There were a few 3d pieces, one of a finger cast in plaster or something, alablaster white sitting up from a little shelf with fake grass that I found kind of cool, and this piece to the right which was next to mine, but again, I have no idea who did it. The text has been stitched onto kitchen paper, but it was hung backwards making it impossible to read. I thought it was a beautiful piece, and wish it had an artist name.


Here is mine, in all it’s salon glory. The eyeballs make me laugh. And in the spirit of the DIY work, click here to download the pattern. It’s really simple, if you can increase, decrease, knit and purl, you too can knit an eyeball!

Let me know how they turn out 🙂

In other news, my tale of woe over missing balls of wool has taken a turn for the better. It turns out Leah of Yarn or a Tale hadn’t posted the wool yet. So the hand spun, hand dyed wool is winging its way here still. Yippee!

But so I’m buggered if I know what the missing package at the post office is…

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