The Making Game by Jeanette Winterson - blog from Rachel

Jeanette Winterson's introduction to the catalogue for the Jerwood Contemporary Makers 2010 is an extraordinarily beautiful exploration of our relationships to made objects, past and present.

"Life is about relationship – to each other – and to the material world. Making something is a relationship.


I have a set of silverware made by an eighteenth century silverworker called Hester Bateman, one of the very few women working in flatware at that time. When I eat with one of her spoons, I feel the work and the satisfaction that went into making them – the handle and bowl are in equal balance – and I feel a part of time as it really is – not chopped into little bits but continuous. She made this beautiful thing, it’s still here, and I am here too, writing my books, eating my soup, two women making things across time. I feel connection, respect, delight. And it is just a spoon...


So I am in relationship to the object and in relationship to the maker. This allows me to escape from the anonymity and clutter of the way we live now. Instead of surrounding myself with lots of things I hardly notice, I have a few things that also seem to notice me. No doubt this is a fantasy – but...

The life of objects is a strange one." 

Her articulation of the sense of creative continuum that a handmade object can provoke, the sterility of a consumer/producer relationship and the idea that craft can make everyday life so much richer resonated strongly. There's something in the latter about everyday life versus the setting aside of a ritual space for art or 'making special' (as in Ellen Dissanyake's essay) but that's for another day.

For the full text, read the Jerwood catalogue in PDF format.

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