Shake-n-Make is a queer art collective based in Hamilton, Ontario whose work directly references the 1970s while elevating craft and subject matter beyond kitsch to speak to our current moment in history. 1970s crafts were all about making something homey and comforting out of cheap and readily available materials. In a sense, it was an attempt to escape the turmoil of the time (recession, oil crisis, terrorism) by crafting back to a nostalgic version of the 1950s (a seemingly more prosperous and peaceful time). Our current era bears more than a passing resemblance to the 70s. The recession, the oil crisis, and terrorism dominate our news. Environmentalism is again a driving concern. Crafting has become chic. Shake-n-Makeendeavors to manifest these connections in its work.
Claudia B. Manley:
As an artist I am specifically interested in the intersection of craft, text, and creative expression. While my formal training is in fiction writing, for the past several years I have been expanding my professional creative practice into visual arts and performance. As an active member of Shake-n-Make, I create works that incorporate a range of 70s crafts as well as text and photo-based works. My work within the collective has focused on reverse appliqué, soft sculptures, macramé, beaded sculpture, string art, and photo-text work. An active canner, cook, and crafter, Shake-n-Make provides me with an opportunity to combine the DIY philosophy inherent in my day-to-day activities with my interdisciplinary art practice.
After a decade of creating queer camp short videos and photo
projects, my more recent work engages with experimental approaches to personal
narrative, particularly as informed by growing up in the 70s. Part of this
project has involved making abstract works out of everyday gestures and objects
(i.e. puck paintings, large scale photos of candy compositions, digital
composites of Spirograph patterns) that resonate with me. My work in Shake-n-Make represents a continuation of my interest in bringing
elements of popular culture, along with personal and autobiographical content,
into a highly aestheticised and often abstract art practice. My
intention is to re-invest a range of common objects and aesthetic approaches
with new meaning.
Plastic beads, toy car, plastic gas can, 2009
SHAKE-n-MAKE: More Than A Feeling
(Foreground l - r) Relic: Rainbow Brite, 2011, $1400; Relic: Black Gold, 2010, $1400; Relic, 2009, $1200.