Employing handicrafts to communicate the course of trauma : a test in using handicrafts as an explanatory method
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This report contains discussion of four design projects aimed to investigate the ability of handicrafts to communicate complicated subject matter. In this exploration, handicrafts are used to present the experience of recovering from a traumatic experience by challenging commonly held stereotypes about handicrafts. By breaking the trauma and recovery process into four distinct stages, each stage can be discussed in detail via the corresponding design piece. Consequently, each stage also allows for new opportunities to apply handicraft practices in new ways. Through this line of questioning, the four pieces expand upon the imagery, materiality, subject matter, and formal creation techniques typically used in handicraft projects. This collection adds to a greater body of work that intersects traumatic experiences with art and design and that explores the power of design as a communication tool. It opens the door for further investigation into the application’s potential as a teaching tool for trauma victims, nontraditional applications of the craft, its ability to aid in the recovery process, and the potential risk and benefit victims have from such work being done and from creating such pieces themselves.