Pictures of dogs – the start of Handshake 3

During February the Handshakers gathered in a hot stuffy room to undertake the first major stepping stone for the project – Jewellery bootcamp.

The week long event (held in Wellington) enabled us to get an introduction to the project, see presentations of each others work (nearly all of which included an image of the family pet), and take part in two challenging workshops (run by international guests Sophia Bjorkman and Hilde de Decker).

The bulk of time was spent with Hide de Decker in her masterclass ‘On Collaboration’. Over the course of four days we sat down as a group and teased out answers to a series of questions relating to the idea of collaboration, looking at how it can be implemented more in Handshake 3. We also had discussion sessions where we looked at our individual work and plans moving forward.

There were tears, laughter and celebrations. It was hard work but very useful – I walked away feeling exhausted and nervous in anticipation.

Most interesting, but also unsettling, was Hilde’s ability to ask direct questions touching at the core of what the project and our practices are about. What do we see the group as, what do we see our work as, and what do we do we want of the audience?

As a parting thank you Hilde’s partner gave us each a lovely gift – a small pedant consisting of a single shell (gathered from a near by beach) strung onto a slither of plastic (cut from a supermarket bag).
What a beautiful way to resolve the issue of string (also a theme that ran through the week)!
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