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Filmed in the Rann of Kutch contents include: blowing shisha glass, mirror work, chain stitch, cross stitch, applique, interlacing and soof embroidery. The Indian decorative embroidery art of Mirror Work (shisha) is thought to have been developed by the wife of Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal in her honour. Since the time of the Moghuls the women of Gujarat have continued to use mirrors in their embroideries. This film shows in detail how the mirrors are produced in small furnaces and features the dowry embroidery of blouses and dress fronts, shawls, bedding covers, jewellery bags, and quilts - all incorporating the mirrors. These are worn and used by herding and nomadic Muslim and Hindu communities: Ahir, Rabari, Harijans, Paks, Jats, Sodha Rajputs. I formed Ends of the Earth in 1987 with the aim of assisting the survival of traditional crafts which are everywhere threatened by industrial development and modern life.
Handmade Nation documents the new wave of art, craft and design that is capturing the attention of the nation. It is the feature film debut of director, author, artist and curator Faythe Levine. Levine travelled to 15 cities and covered more than 19,000 miles to interview artists, crafters, makers, curators and community members. Today's craft world has emerged as a synthesis of historical technique, punk culture, and the DIY ethos, also influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art.
Since winning the Turner Prize in 2003, Grayson Perry has become the nation's favourite transvestite potter. In this film, he speaks engagingly about why he is an artist that uses ceramics and not a potter, and about the defining themes that run through his work. He explains the elaborate, labour intensive process involved in the making of his work and how he typically uses a variety of different techniques. Alongside the edgy undermining of our expectations of what pottery is, beauty and sensual overload are also of great importance to his practice.
'Claire', he remarks, informs everything that he does, because she is part of him and "my work is often about part of me. The press use the word 'alter ego' which drives me mad. She's not an alter ego. She's just me in a dress."
The Emmy-winning story of how an American adventurer and a brilliant, self-taught Mexican artist transformed a dying desert village into a home for world-class art. When anthropologist Spencer MacCallum walked into a second-hand store in Deming, New Mexico, in 1976 and bought three pieces of pottery, he had no idea that he was about to embark on a journey that would lead to the revival of an ancient art form. Finding his way to Mata Ortiz, Mexico, MacCallum partnered with self-taught artist Juan Quezada and slowly they created an industry that today is known world-wide not only for its interpretations of a centuries-old style of ceramics, but for stunning post-modern works as well.
"The Tradition of No Tradition" begins by asking: What is a potter?" "What is clay?" and "What makes a pot a vessel?"
The film goes on to explore American ceramics' background by examining its European origins. Museum curators and art historians talk about the astonishing work of turn-of-the-century artists such as Maria Longworth Nichols, Adelaide Alsop Robineau, and the Rookwood Art Pottery. It closes with a look at the outrageous "Mad Potter of Biloxi," George Ohr, whose work was so far ahead of his time that he is considered by many to be the best potter who ever lived.