Oriental Terrace resident, Ann Calhoun, has just produced an ebook on her specialist subject: the New Zealand arts and crafts movement. "Arts & Crafts Design: 'like yet not like' nature: sources for a New Zealand story" is Ann's most recent project on what is her long-standing passion. (In 2000, Ann's "The Arts & Crafts Movement in New Zealand 1870–1940" was published by Auckland University Press. This was a review of the movement in New Zealand).
Her aim in writing the ebook, she says, was to give "a tribute to beauty through nature... It is free in order to give all New Zealanders a chance to appreciate this aspect of their heritage and culture."
Ann loves the arts and crafts movement because it pays homage to materials and skills, such as woodcarving,stained glass, jewellery, art metal-work, art needle-work, appliqué, stencilling, illustration, tiles, ceramics,weaving and, most importantly, architecture. Many of these objects were decorated by designs from nature. Shealso appreciates the fact that the development of the arts and crafts movement in New Zealand is unique in its use of Maori motifs and designs.
Last century the concept of what craft meant changed, as traditional handicrafts were mechanised. Crafts became associated with leisure, instead of being a necessity. So a distinction emerged between "fine art" and "craft" — the latter often dismissed as merely "decorative."
When the term Arts and Crafts was born it became a happy composite description. The spiritual and social value of handicrafts was recognised. It also gave particular scope to women, as it valued their talents and offered possible financial gain.
JCD, Bay View newsletter 66, November 2015