© 2012 gabriel craig
The Gospel According to Craft
In 2009, I took my handmade soapbox to the streets of Richmond, Virginia to preach the gospel of craft. Fitted with a hidden camera and a wire, I usurped a corner on the high street frequented by apocalyptic preachers. I donned the uniform.
In the Gospel According to Craft I engaged with an ethnically and socio-economically diverse viewing audience as I had in past performances, but instead of gauging their reaction to jewelry, craft or the handmade, this performance used the form language of religious preaching to both attract and repel potential viewers. Many people were confused by my preacher persona advocating handwork rather than Jesus. It is exactly this slippage or tampering – with the public’s assumptions – that I find to be so delicious and worthy of investigation. In the instantaneous navigation of an invitation to talk about craft, passers-by are forced to re-consider stereotype in mid-stride. But beneath the ridiculousness of the activity there is a genuine desire to share craft and its virtues with a wider audience. Though I found some new converts, some were unready to hear craft's message.