Rachel Jones MFA Applied Craft + Design Practicum 2017
Informally, Gizmo: An Incomplete Encyclopedia
Informally, Gizmo: An Incomplete Encyclopedia is a series of illustrations and writings that express the kinesthetic relationship between the body and tools. Making a case for the value of trades-skills as a mechanism for self-empowerment, I call attention to the body performing trades-skills. I argue for an approach to teaching tool-use with a methodology more akin to dance or yoga; and discuss my motivations for creating a narrative to that end as a way to subvert and dismantle the masculine culture which hinders women from accessing trades-skills education. Acknowledging the power that story plays in dictating gender roles, I problematize gender-based aesthetic associations in marketing and branding objects, lifestyles, and identities, especially those associated with feminism; and observe the dissonance between the way male and female artists portray ownership over and their relationship to tools. Ultimately I describe the process of developing a kinesthetic language and supporting imagery stripped of gendered associations. Rather than to say that females can be masculine, or that traditionally masculine objects and actions can be feminine, Informally, Gizmo: An Incomplete Encyclopedia makes space for tools and their associated actions to be equally owned by the sexes and produces a much needed intimate portrait of tools from a place of ownership, familiarity, and wonder from the female perspective.