CFP: Collecting Design, Craft and Fashion (2/15/06; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
John Potvin
contact email: 

Collecting Subjects:
The Meanings and Pleasures of Material Culture

We invite papers for a book which explores the
interstices between subjectivity, collecting, and
craft, fashion and design. Much has been written
about collecting 'high art' objects such as paintings
and sculpture, as well as common objects from the
everyday. However, how do we understand those objects
which fall somewhere in between? And more importantly,
what to make of the affects of collecting on
subjectivity and the relationship between collector
and producer? The objects we are attempting to examine
are in practice used in the everyday, however, in
theory are elevated in large measure due to
subjectivity propped up by the status of authorship
and/or uniqueness (ie. a Issey Miyake dress, William
de Morgan tiles, an Eileen Gray lacquer screen).
Conversely, if there is no identifiable
designer/craftsperson, does the collector assume the
role of arbiter and even co-creator (ie. Japanese
kimono, Art Deco velvet satee, Irish lace)?

Despite collector's attempts to order, catalogue and
systemize their coveted objects, collecting on some
level is irrational, often emotional and psychological
rather than defined by pure reason and logic.
Subjectivity, as we understand it here, refers to how
objects help to create, construct and/or define a
collector's notion of self. As a result, we also do
not understand objects as necessarily separate or
distinct from a subject's knowledge of him/her self in
the world. How does collecting of design, craft and
fashion affect the experiences/notions of space,
bodies and time? In other words, how does a
collector/designer envision an embodied subject's
experiences of being in spaces occupied by objects
which form either a homogenous, complete environment
or look or an eclecticism created through varied
periods and various cultures?

We welcome a range of submissions including, and not
limited to the following issues/themes:

- collecting objects a means toward creating personal
structure to knowledge
- objects to recreate personal and collective
history/memory through the aesthetic
- producer/consumer relationship
- the identity we attribute to objects
- collector as producer of meaning/knowledge
- the effect of collecting on subjectivity
- collecting painted pictures not as 'fine art', but
as objects for a total design interior schema in
tandem with other objects
- collections as part of an aesthetic domestic program
- craft objects and domestic structures
- relationship between collector/patron and
- effects of patronage on craftsperson/designer
- private, clandestine collections (fetish and erotic
- the display of objects in the private domain
- the racial, gendered and sexualized associations
with the decorative, craft and design objects
- the relationship of the body to material culture and
its objects
- how collected objects figure in writing (exhibition
and sale catalogues, autobiographies, diaries,
literary texts, etc.)
- the trans-historical relationship between objects of
different periods as they make up a broader interior
- collecting fashion and clothing for pleasure or as
decoration and adornment for the body, home and beyond
- the performance of collecting/collections
- time, space and body and their theoretical
relationship to collecting

The editors invite papers both theoretical and
object-centered from any geographic or time frame.

Please submit a 500-600 word abstract along with a
list of images for completed papers to be in the range
of 5000 to 7000 words including footnotes and
bibliography, in addition to a bio of 250 words by
email to both:

Alla Myzelev (Queen's University, Canada)

- and-

John Potvin (University of Guelph, Canada)

Deadline for abstracts and bio. (and if available
completed paper): 15 February, 2006.
Notification of selected abstracts: March 2006.

Dr. John Potvin
Assistant Professor
School of Fine Art and Music
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON
N1G 2W1 Canada
+ 519-824-4120 ext. 56741
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Received on Sat Jan 07 2006 - 12:20:21 EST