Our work experiencer Alice Wilmott took a Feed to find out more about what it means to be a designer maker – and a woman – in today’s craft industry. Here’s what she discovered…
Feminism. Craft. Art. Local artist Amy Isles Freeman combines all these in her practice – but how?
Yesterday I spent the day with Amy Isles Freeman, a 24 year old artist working in a small studio in the west of Cornwall. We spoke about how Amy expresses her feminist views through her art and painted bowls. Whilst painting some of her hand turned bowls and pots with her we also discussed her opinions on working in the predominately male craft of woodwork, and how she combines this with the stereotypically feminine practice of detailed decoration.
Expressing feminism through art
Amy’s bowls and prints are a tangle of leaves, plants, birds and nude women. While sifting through her old sketchbooks and learning about past projects, Amy told me that she sees her art (including her intricately decorated bowls), as an expression of her feminist opinions.
When discussing how Amy expresses her feminist views through her work she explained that she felt that it needed to be humorous, because she has discovered that by making feminist art that is funny, like her Rejoice project from university and her naked lady designs, she has received a much more accepting and positive reaction than when making angry feminist art.
By making humorous feminine art she is helping to break the stigma of calling yourself a feminist.
She also feels that by making humorous feminine art she is helping to break the stigma of calling yourself a feminist, because feminists are all too often framed as angry man haters who can be difficult to talk to.
Encouraging other women to make
Whilst painting hand turned sugar maple bowls and listening to the Archers on Radio 4, Amy told me she feels that it’s really important to shout about being a woman who makes, because it gives other women who want to explore new crafts, often predominately male crafts, the confidence to do so even if they have little experience or knowledge.
From my inspiring day spent with Amy Isles Freeman I learnt that there are many different aspects to feminism, and that it is important to think of it in a light hearted manner and not to have an angry attitude as that has little effect in changing anything…
I also kind of want to get a studio and paint all day for a living. Here’s the bowl I painted with Amy on the day: