Functional Needle Project

The Functional Needle Project, Quebec, 2014. The Functional Needle Project, Quebec, 2014.

The Functional Needle Project was a textile installation set up in Canada in 2014. The project leader was the textile artist, Aram Han Sifuentes. The aim of the project was to explore the role of hand work.

The artists and artisans involved were: Pierre Bourgault (artist), Violette Desrochers (wood sculptor), Nicole Deschénes (wood sculptor), Judith Dubord (artist and artisan), Pawel Dzieman (artist), Eloi Gagnon (furniture maker), Gaetan Godro (wood sculptor), Robert Godro (wood sculptor), Etienne Guay (blacksmith), Noel Guay (wood sculptor), Aram Han (artist), Maurice Harvey (marble sculptor), Florence Ar Mor (woodworker).

The project was based at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada. The following description of the Function Needle Project is taken from the Aram Han’s website, as it describes the whole process concisely.

I left Chicago with only a carry-on bag. To avoid any conflict with TSA, I left behind my fundamental tool for making a needle. I was interested in the challenge that I created for myself to construct needles out of what I could find in my everyday environment in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli as a resident artist at Est-Nord-Est. I took the bus into town and saw the main road crowded with artisan studios and shops. I came to learn that Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is Quebec’s capital for woodcarving and fine arts. In that moment, I decided to ask this community to help me in my endeavor to create handmade needles. 

Each artist and artisan had the freedom to choose the material, size, and shape of the needle. The only instruction that I gave that it was to be functional. And each needle-maker interpreted this in his/her own way. Many made decisions based on practicality and utility, while some artists and artisans created nearly non-functional needles with a sense of humor, knowing that I would have to drastically alter my way of making in order to adapt and accommodate to each needle’s characteristics. For example, artist Pierre Bourgault wanted to playfully test my skills as a sewer by making me a curved needle shaped like a roller coaster. 

The act of commissioning needles was a mere catalyst of engaging in a conversation about hand labor. The artisans’ and artists’ hands go into skillfully crafting an object that is then passed into my hand for use; every decision that they made in creating the tool is felt in my process and evident in each stitch. 

Digital source (retrieved 7 May 2016)

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 4 June 2016).

SA and GVE

Last modified on Saturday, 29 April 2017 09:40
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