Craft Futures Fund
Prototyping Utopia is a living archive of Hancock Shaker Village’s maker-in-residence program. We are creating an online portal that contains documentation, research, and DIY tutorials teaching craft-based skills expanding on the Shaker legacy. Shaker communities were founded on the ideals of resiliency, sustainability, integrity, and inclusion of all races, genders, and abilities. We celebrate and further these ideals with a focus on the ways individuals and communities can be more self-sufficient, creative, and caring to others.
The makers working at Hancock Shaker Village in 2021 mine history to engage the present, and their work cross-pollinates between fields influenced by the Shakers. Gary Graham, who is creating work to be installed in a period room in the Brick Dwelling, is inspired by the Shakers’ cloaks, and is creating several versions of his cocoon coat using historic fabrics. He is also creating a video that will show many of the textiles used being woven at Thistle Hill weavers, and project a video of a model moving through our Round Stone Barn showing the many ways the coat can be worn and interchanged while in motion. Each garment weaves a story, informed by the history of the location of the place and through unique textiles, intricate stitching and details. Each garment is informed by dreams, history, and stories.
Laura Sansone of the New York Textile Lab is dedicated to sustainability with a fiber installation that tracks the process of transforming raw wool into a woven or knitted product, showing the resilience of regional fiber sheds and the capacity to transform the clothing industry through regional slow fashion. Using wool from our sheep last April, she is working with three designers who will create finished products (the most amazing lining to a coat, a sweater, etc.) and we’ll follow the contemporary and Shaker process and finished product, emphasizing a small carbon footprint and the values created through such a small supply system. This installation (called From Ranch to Runway) will be in the Poultry House.
Thank you to the Center for Craft, whose grant helps us support these makers whose work expands the legacy of the Shakers, and provide access to digital tools that help us record content and upload to our youtube channel and elsewhere.