Care making: practices of gleaning, using and future fashioning by Tania Splawa-Neyman

* Click on the red time-stamp to go directly to each segment in the video

Panel: Dr Oliver Vodeb (OV) Dr Abby Mellick Lopes (AML) Dr Denise Rall (DR)

Chair: Suzie Attiwell

00:00 Introduction to Examination (chair): Introduction of panel members: Formal examination procedures and disclaimers

02:56 Welcome and thank you to humans: Acknowledges the importance of being witnessed in the picking over of the physical artifacts of the research.

03:56 Intentional Anthropomorphising of objects: Thanks materials and objects that have been apart of the projects. (ethics / contribution)

04:26 Project Description / Introduction: The person Red Jacket Description of the history of the jacket (methodology / physical demonstration)

05:08 Framing the research / Practice enquiry: Why do we abandoned objects after they have helped us so much? (ethics / contributing / physical demonstration)

05:46 Framing the research / Practice enquiry: What is it that our practices of material and object use and disposal, agree to? (ethics)

06:18 Framing the research / Practice enquiry: How do we determine what has once lived or that even lives? Inert or inorganic things might have a sense of aliveness thorough living with us vibrant things that show use and wear like the warn out cuff of red jacket. (ethics)

07:55 Relationship to things: Description that the things plead to give them this life. The life that is assisted in making occurs through careful making (contributing / methodology / ethics)

08:09 What constitutes Red Jacket: Description of the living of red jacket as ‘here’ within it’s the evolving form also exists in its remnant pieces, in the letters written to red jacket to understand how to make with the object. Where red jackets ends it not clear. (methodology / contributing / ethics / physical demonstration)

08:44 The site of research: Description of the garden and workroom as being the site where research is sited and unfolds and where the roles mingle and merge through research practice.

09:49 The site of practice: Statement that the emergent practice is situated in the garden/workroom domestic setting. How can this practice be taken out into the world?(ethics)

10:22 Summary of practice and process: Description of relationship/positioning to/with materials. Statement of practice being to work with the left overs, abandoned things that plead for a life. (methodology)

10:38 The question of representation: Description that the collection of the stuff (in the building) could only be a pile.

11:11 Ethics of practice: Description of beliefs of the practice as rejecting the mythical place of ‘away’ (methodology / ethics)

11:20 Statement of practice: Description of the practice and definition of the practitioner as having become a gleaner, a user, a make of other possibilities through careful making. Through the practice, there is no away place (methodology / contributing / ethics)

11:36 Relationship to waste: Description of The pile and how it enabled the understanding of practices’ relationship to waste (physical demonstration)

14:27 Project Description: Calf Lick Shirt. Description of making things that make no waste (methodology / physical demonstration)

14:43 Reflection and defining remnants: Discussion about at what point are the remnants no longer considered whole. Description that to a gleaner, the state of the material at the moment of encounter is a state of wholeness. (contributing / methodology / ethics)

15:01 Guiding the practice: Description that by using pieces as they are found, is an approach that is vital in guiding the actual making processes. (methodology)

15:20 Engaging with the material: Description of how the interaction with each piece heightens the awareness of the possible expression of the material. (methodology)

15:25 Statement of methodology of practice: I respond to how to make with the material through the process of making. (practice methodology)

15:39 Project Description: Description of Rough Stapling project. (physical demonstration / physical demonstration)

16:02 Repeated practice motives: Description of methodology of using triangular shapes to arrange remnant pieces (methodology / physical demonstration)

16:24 Project Description: Description of Tessellated Dress (methodology / physical demonstration)

17:11 Project Description: Description of Red jacket (using triangulated remnants, and how through project parts were redefined from remnants to no bad parts (methodology / physical demonstration)

17:46 Approach to material: The material is described as having it's own type of life and that interaction with material through using - expresses time / experience and living that we have done together (contributing / ethics)

18:25 Practice methodology: Description that the practice works with remnants to make a useful object. (methodology)

18:42 Project Description: Description of The Apron project (methodology/ physical demonstration)

20:38 Reflection on practice: Definition of the practice as gleaning which remakes things into valuable things. (methodology/ physical demonstration)

21:01 Project Description: Description of the Tent Structure project and how the offcuts were dealt with (methodology / ethics/ physical demonstration)

28:45 Defining gleaning: Discussion of the definition and desires of gleaning.

30:20 Project Description: Description of the Puzzling object. Reflection that the practice was no longer interested in making fetish-wear.

31.46 Community of peers: Sites Marjorie Bligh’s Frugal making practices as a key reference. (situating)

32:13 Project Description: Description of the Crochet Bag Bag. (methodology/ physical demonstration)

34:41 Project Description: Description of the Crochet plastic lettuces project and how it enabled reflection on the practices relationship to usefulness (methodology/ physical demonstration)

35:08 Reflection on unusefulness: Description that the making of the un-useful lettuce enabled the emergence of unexpected possibilities and revealed unexpected life hidden within the material. (methodology / contributing/ physical demonstration)

37:05 Statement of practice: Description that making intensifies the material intensity (contributing / ethics)

38:19 Description of the chip packet Vow project as making amends for 'consumerist bingeing' (ethics / methodology / physical demonstration)

39:20 Relationship to community of peers: Marjory Bligh’s museum of usefulness sited and reflection that making is informed by what comes before. (situating)

40:15 Description of the Log Cabin Quilt Gleaning Studio at RMIT (methodology/ physical demonstration)

47:01 Description of the Jeans Crotch project as prettying up utilitarian things (methodology / ethics/ physical demonstration)

52:31 Description of the Laptop Cover project as caring and visible repairing (methodology / physical demonstration)

53:40 Description of the Lettuce Power and how it seemed to strike a balancing between with usefulness (methodology / physical demonstration)

59:13 Research Challenges: Reflection on the challenges of the research being to surrender and let go of so much so the practice can become redirective (ethics / contribution/ methodology)

59:47 Conclusion and Contribution of the Practice: Description of the contribution of the practice. The practice is summarised as making with waste wisely and making waste wisely. (methodology / contribution / ethics)

1:04:44 End of presentation

1:04:52 Panel Discussion

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The scene of this research is a fashion design practice centred on immersive material engagement. Professional skills honed through the crafting of intimate, body-based garments and objects, find new relevance within the maker’s everyday living space, where craft practices emerging from domestic concerns reside. The professional, the domestician and the gardener, as personified practitioner modes, entwine through their inherent care of, and response to, materials when making. The mingling that ensues within this co-residency of skills, folds into the creation of a micro, home-based, artisanal practice.

The quest is to redirect away from the unsustainable, aiming to shake the systemic roots of practices and products that negate future existence. The terrain explored lies beyond technocratic fixes to make existing products and their systems of production more efficient and less environmentally damaging; beyond creation motivated by capitalist growth. Taking a redirective approach, the exploration follows in the traces of the originating practice. An overgrown path, stuffed with too much stuff, is discovered: unused materials yet to be made; under-utilised skills, wasting away; made things yet to be used; and used things that now lay stagnant.

The way is shown through a series of iterative making experiments in a domestic environment, seeded by the initial concern for a bagged, abundance of inactive leather remnants. Via intentional anthropomorphising and a process of empathetic, materially attuned making, the leftovers become companions in making, appreciated in all of their unique, imperfect and unexpected states. When gleaned, materials and knowledge that lack a palpably useful life are reactivated and given a potential future life. A barbecue, clothed in a covering fashioned from husband’s degraded jeans, reinforces a future life of barbecuing together, expressed in the sharing of the garment form. The letters written to the maker’s own red jacket, while in the process of the jacket’s remake, tell of balances between retention and surrender, in the remade form. Crocheted lettuce forms created using the maker’s own post consumer waste fold into questioning of the surrounding practices that generate this waste. Linkages are formed through making and using, merged as one practice.

Practicing the care required for this iterative making, functions as a bridge, connecting narratives of the objects, their maker and the surrounding artificial ecology. Created and intermingled through care, these stories tell of capabilities afforded, lives honoured and beauty discovered and used well. Preoccupation with physical transformation — making waste material into functional, usable products — dissolves, as its endpoints are superseded by the most salient point, that making, and a newly developed fashion ability, function to critique, and to critique themselves. Objects and ways are fashioned that in turn, engendering further care, fold into an ecology of objects: a personal system for making and living, that like a garden, is a curated life, imbued with care.

Year: 2014
Examiners: Dr Abby Mellick Lopes, Prof Denise Rall, Dr Oliver Vodeb  Supervisors: Assoc Professor Pia Ednie-Brown, EM/Prof Peter Downton, Ms Denise Sprynskyj


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