Metamorphosis is the visual response of students, in the Applied Arts course at the City of Glasgow College, to the theme of climate change. The theme was explored using the framework of body adornment as the object and of craftivism as its philosophy. The brief was inspired by the recent (1-12 Nov) climate change conference in Glasgow for COP 26. The work will be shown beside the paintings by Sheena Graham to create a dialogue responding to the philosophy of craftivism, climate change and the act of painting.
The philosophy of craftivism was adopted because of its focus on socially engaged craft-making. The term is in fact a compound name incorporating the words craft and activism. Craftivism raises environmental issues through its techniques, materials and strategies, which for a long time have been associated with the art made within a domestic space. The show is titled metamorphosis as a hopeful term for change. Metamorphosis is a process of change in the nature of a form from one stage to another. This is a process very often associated with insects and the natural world. Using the metaphor of change as a starting point, students were asked to produce work, which reflects on the theme of climate change using body adornment as the object of their transformation while also adopting visual craftivist strategies.
Using the body as the canvas to raise awareness, the work on display reflects on climate change using a range of strategies personal to the individual students. Using text, sustainable making, biodegradable materials and sculptural adornment the objects on display become the locus to open a wider discussion on craft and its power to push towards a positive change.
Sheena Graham’s paintings are a mixture of abstraction, realism and imagination. The flowers and herbs depicted in the paintings express the secret life beneath and above the ground in the darkness and light where microbes, plants, and insects dance the dance.