Digital Project and Exhibition
Queer + Metals exhibition at the Ferrous Festival
A Craftspace exhibition co-curated by Dauvit Alexander and Deirdre Figueiredo in collaboration with Rebekah Frank.
The exhibition and digital residency with Rebekah Frank explores the multiplicity of queerness in relation to metalwork and metalsmithing. Whether as identities, lived experiences, thinking, cultures, aesthetics, influences, stories, places and imagination. Viewed together in this context, the artworks can be seen as an act of resistance. The exhibition is a means to empower, affirm and express solidarity between LGBTQIA+ creatives, making visible the ways they are shaping, disrupting and contributing to contemporary craft and design practices. Rather than provide answers or fixed ideas, it seeks to open up possibilities and make connections within a diverse, intersectional, complex and fluid community of making. We respect that for some within our community ‘queer’ is still associated with oppression whilst others are strongly reclaiming it as a liberating non-binary collective term.
UK artists are represented physically in the exhibition, whilst international artists who participated in Rebekah Frank’s digital residency are represented through an Instagram campaign and video interviews. The Queer + Metals project has included practitioners at different stages of their careers from a wide variety of backgrounds, many of whom have practices as intersectional as their lives. There are blacksmiths, sculptors, jewellers, farriers, welders, machinists, activists and performers.
Dauvit, Deirdre and Rebekah identify as LGBTQ+ as part of their intersectional identities, making this project a personal and collective endeavour. We are proud to occupy public space in presenting this work. It provides the opportunity for a wider audience to become more aware of diverse cultures and for LGBTQIA+ visitors to feel included.
Images: (top) John Moore, PagodaII. Photo: John Moore. (left) Fei He, Faye – Art Drag Queen, Aphrodite. Photo: Shawn Zang. (right) Theo Somerville Scott, Orlando. Photo: Martha Rose Photography.
Rebekah Frank, Queer + Metals Digital Residency with Craftspace
November 2021 to March 2022
Rebekah Frank is a white, queer, gender nonconforming writer and artist based in San Francisco. Craftspace commissioned her to undertake a residency to explore queerness in relation to the expansive field of metalworking and metalsmithing. She devised an online survey to gather perspectives from around the world. She was curious about what it means to be a queer metal artist, how queer-ness and metal-ness overlap and whether it matters. ‘Queer’ defies definition, it could be everything from a marginalized identity, an academic theory and a political stance to a rejection of rigidity. ‘Metals’ begins in a material and expands into disparate processes: a machinist, an engineer, a farrier, an artist blacksmith, a goldsmith, an art jeweller, a sculptor, a photographer. There was also an interest in how the intersections of race, gender, disability, class and sexuality might inform creative journeys and engagement with process and materials.
Questions in the survey included:
- How do you define your queerness? We aren’t here to define who is and isn’t queer. Let us know how you define yourself.
- What are other ways you identify? These can include race, class, immigration status, experience with health conditions or mental health, anything that is part of how you navigate the world.
- What does queer metal mean to you? We don’t have an answer, which is why we are asking you! Do you have a position on the concept of queer metal?
Rebekah received 120 responses from every continent except Antarctica!
The outcomes of the residency include: an Instagram campaign @Queer.art.words and @Craftspace_ during March 2022 featuring a selection of survey respondents; video interviews with eight respondents on our You Tube channel and an essay reflecting on the findings.
Images: Queer + Metals instagram grid. Rebekah Frank. (Photo: Cropped from an image by Lydia Daniller.) Rebekah Frank, steel necklaces.
Queer + Metals essay
Discover Rebakah Frank’s essay, Queer + Metals: Shaped by Us reflecting on the findings from her digital residency.
Launched as part of Ferrous Festival 2022 and the Queer + Metals exhibition.