University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Unfinished Business: craft and revivification

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 05:56 authored by Karen HallKaren Hall, Mae FinlaysonMae Finlayson
Reactivating incomplete and discarded domestic craft projects is an exploration of how such objects can mediate between presence and absence. Contemporary creative work that gathers and reclaims the unfinished projects acknowledges, extends and plays with their rich materiality as well as the dormant stories embedded within them. Using unfinished objects can be a way of speaking to loss and absence, and an assertion of the presence of other voices in the act of repurposing. A material dialogue, created through the trace of the hand and the repetitive labour of crafting, emphasises the potential within these discarded objects. The tension between the implied presence of the first maker and the displacement of the past through revivification is the entry point to nostalgia, a label that implies both being out of place as well as out of time. While nostalgia is often seen as an innately conservative practice, functioning as a reductive stand-in for the richness of the past, we take up Svetlana Boym’s (2001) argument that the impossible longing of reflective nostalgia can be productive, humorous and utopian. This essay explores the interplay of past and present in the process of finding, remaking and repurposing.


Publication title

Craft and Design Enquiry








School of Creative Arts and Media


ANU Press

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2014 ANU Press

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

The creative arts

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania