February 1, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 18°F

Life & Culture

New Handwerker exhibit shows handmade crafts

The Handwerker Gallery at Ithaca College will be showing the beauty in manual labor with its latest exhibition, “Make Do,” which focuses on craftsmanship.

“Make Do” opened Nov. 12, and it features artwork from four different artists. The pieces included are unconventional, like Aram Han Sifuentes’ “A Mend: A Collection of Scraps from Local Seamstresses and Tailors.” The piece is a large, hanging tapestry made from the remnants of denim jeans. Other forms of artwork in the exhibition include pottery, weaving and woodwork.

This exhibition is curated by Mara Baldwin, the director of the Handwerker Gallery, and junior art history major Vincent Manta. Manta was awarded a Dana Student Internship grant from the college for Summer 2015, which allowed him to do extensive research over the summer that culminated in the production of this exhibition.

Manta said craftsmanship is not commonly considered to be a sophisticated art form, and focusing on the idea of labor as art is a different perspective.

“This show is really based around the relationships between work and home, the value in labor, art and craft, and aesthetics and forms,” Manta said. “Each of these artists speak to one of those dichotomies a little, and they all kind of engage with them differently. It’s really about recontextualizing craft and putting it in a lens that it’s maybe not always thought to be in.”

Manta said the collection of art in “Make Do” and the way it’s arranged is uncommon, which is part of what makes the exhibition so special and entertaining. He said even though visitors can’t physically touch the pieces, they can get close to them and view them from different angles, which provides different perspectives of the art’s beauty.

“Visually, it’s very interesting,” Manta said. “It’s something that you won’t see in many other galleries. You won’t see pottery next to baskets next to a giant tapestry or flower pressings on the wall, so it’s something that’s unique.”

“Make Do” will be presented at the Handwerker Gallery until Dec. 13 and will host Artist Talks at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 and Dec. 3.