Material Vernaculars

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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
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    The Future is in Your Hands: Portrait Photography from Senegal
    (Indiana University Press, 2023-11) Buggenhagen, Beth
    In Senegal, portraiture serves as a vital index and creator of social connection. People sit for and display portraits, keep albums, and view illustrated magazines together. Through these portraiture practices, Senegalese have fashioned idealized images to mend fraught and fragmented lives in the context of decades of migration. The Future Is in Your Hands provides an expansive frame for photography to highlight the role of affect in portraiture practices. Moving from the colonial to the newly independent Senegal, Beth Buggenhagen combines museum, ethnographic, and archival research on photography's past with lens-based artists who address themes of separation, visibility, rupture, and repatriation through portraiture. Buggenhagen, in collaboration with Senegalese photographers, explores how photographs, as visual and material objects, migrate themselves and, like the bodies they represent, create a record not only of lived experiences but also of the cycle of migration for this labor-exporting country. By complicating the history of portraiture in Senegal, The Future Is in Your Hands reveals the enduring power of images and the efforts under way to keep this art form safely in Senegalese hands.
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    The Michiana Potters: Art, Community, and Collaboration in the Midwest
    (Indiana University Press, 2020-08) McGriff, Meredith A.
    A new pottery tradition has been developing along the border of northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Despite the fact that this region is not yet an established destination for pottery collectors, Michiana potters are committed to pursuing their craft thanks to the presence of a community of like-minded artists. The Michiana Potters, an ethnographic exploration of the lives and art of these potters, examines the communal traditions and aesthetics that have developed in this region. Author Meredith A. E. McGriff identifies several shared methods and styles, such as a preference for wood-fired wares, glossy glaze surfaces, cooler colors, the dripping or layering of glazes on ceramics that are not wood-fired, the handcrafting of useful wares as opposed to sculptural work, and a tendency to borrow forms and decorative effects from other regional artists. In addition to demonstrating a methodology that can be applied to studies of other emergent regional traditions, McGriff concludes that these styles and methods form a communal bond that inextricably links the processes of creating and sharing pottery in Michiana.
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    Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community: A Giving Heritage
    (Indiana University Press, 2018) Swan, Daniel C.; Cooley, Jim
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    The Expressive Lives of Elders: Folklore, Art, and Aging
    (Indiana University Press, 2018) Kay, Jon
    Can traditional arts improve an older adult’s quality of life? Are arts interventions more effective when they align with an elder’s cultural identity? In The Expressive Lives of Elders, Jon Kay and contributors from a diverse range of public institutions argue that such mediations work best when they are culturally, socially, and personally relevant to the participants. From quilting and canning to weaving and woodworking, this book explores the role of traditional arts and folklore in the lives of older adults in the United States, highlighting the critical importance of ethnographic studies of creative aging for both understanding the expressive lives of elders and for designing effective arts therapies and programs. Each case study in this volume demonstrates how folklore and traditional practices help elders maintain their health and wellness, providing a road map for initiatives to improve the lives and well-being of America’s aging population.
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    Framing Sukkot: Tradition and Transformation in Jewish Vernacular Architecture
    (Indiana University Press, 2017) Gabrielle Anna Berlinger
    The sukkah, the symbolic ritual home built during the annual Jewish holiday of Sukkot, commemorates the temporary structures that sheltered the Israelites as they journeyed across the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Despite the simple Biblical prescription for its design, the remarkable variety of creative expression in the construction, decoration, and use of the sukkah, in both times of peace and national upheaval, reveals the cultural traditions, political convictions, philosophical ideals, and individual aspirations that the sukkah communicates for its builders and users today. In this ethnography of contemporary Sukkot observance, Gabrielle Anna Berlinger examines the powerful role of ritual and vernacular architecture in the formation of self and society in three sharply contrasting Jewish communities: Bloomington, Indiana; South Tel Aviv, Israel; and Brooklyn, New York. Through vivid description and in-depth interviews, she demonstrates how constructing and decorating the sukkah and performing the weeklong holiday’s rituals of hospitality provide unique circumstances for creative expression, social interaction, and political struggle. Through an exploration of the intersections between the rituals of Sukkot and contemporary issues, such as the global Occupy movement, Berlinger finds that the sukkah becomes a tangible expression of the need for housing and economic justice, as well as a symbol of the longing for home.
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    Material Vernaculars: Objects, Images, and Their Social Worlds
    (Indiana University Press, 2016) Jackson, Jason Baird
    The role of objects and images in everyday life are illuminated incisively in Material Vernaculars, which combines historical, ethnographic, and object-based methods across a diverse range of material and visual cultural forms. The contributors to this volume offer revealing insights into the significance of such practices as scrapbooking, folk art produced by the elderly, the wedding coat in Osage ceremonial exchanges, temporary huts built during the Jewish festival of Sukkot, and Kiowa women's traditional roles in raiding and warfare. While emphasizing local vernacular culture, the contributors point to the ways that culture is put to social ends within larger social networks and within the stream of history. While attending to the material world, these case studies explicate the manner in which the tangible and intangible, the material and the meaningful, are constantly entwined and co-constituted.
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    Folk Art and Aging: Life-Story Objects and Their Makers
    (Indiana University Press, 2016) Kay, Jon
    Growing old doesn’t have to be seen as an eventual failure but rather as an important developmental stage of creativity. Offering an absorbing and fresh perspective on aging and crafts, Jon Kay explores how elders choose to tap into their creative and personal potential through making life-story objects. Carving, painting, and rug hooking not only help seniors to cope with the ailments of aging and loneliness but also to achieve greater satisfaction with their lives. Whether revived from childhood memories or inspired by their capacity to connect to others, meaningful memory projects serve as a lens for focusing on, remaking, and sharing the long-ago. These activities often help elders productively fill the hours after they have raised their children, retired from their jobs, and/or lost a loved one. These individuals forge new identities for themselves that do not erase their earlier lives but build on them and new lives that include sharing scenes and stories from their memories.