49. “Abstracting craft : the practiced digital hand” by Malcolm McCulloughby

Metals studio manager, Jennifer Wall will be giving a lecture entitled Craft in the Digital Age in the Centrum Studio at the OCAC campus today (Monday, March 19th) at 12:45 pm.

The talk will discuss her work as well as historic and contemporary precedents for using technology in the craft realm (and vice versa).

More information about Jennifer Wall and her work can be found here:


Inspired by Wall’s lecture topic, the library has selected the following title for this week’s library pick: Abstracting craft : the practiced digital hand by Malcolm McCulloughby.

The publisher provides a rather thorough summary of this work:

“The love of making things need not be confined to the physical world – electronic form giving can also be a rewarding hands-on experience. In this investigation of the possibility of craft in the digital realm, Malcolm McCullough observes that the emergence of computation as a medium, rather than just a set of tools, suggests a growing correspondence between digital work and traditional craft. Chapter by chapter, McCullough builds a case for upholding humane traits and values during the formative stages of new practices in digital media. He covers the nature of hand-eye coordination, the working context of the image culture, aspects of tool usage and medium appreciation, uses and limitations of symbolic methods, issues in human-computer interaction, geometric constructions and abstract methods in design, the necessity of improvisation, and the personal worth of work. For those new to computing, McCullough offers an inside view of what the technology is like, what the important technical issues are, and how creative computing fits within a larger intellectual history.” –from the publisher.

This is a most intriguing book and one that is somewhat difficult to keep on our shelves. While some of what the author discusses occasionally feels a little dated, most of the discussion has held up well over the last 15 years.

It will be interesting to see how Jennifer Wall’s lecture might pick up where this book has left off. Come check out her lecture, and, if you can find a copy, check out this book too!



10 thoughts on “49. “Abstracting craft : the practiced digital hand” by Malcolm McCulloughby

  1. This book was also popular in the library I used to work in – I think because it is such an important area in craft now and there is not that much written on the theory side. Thanks for the link to Jennifer’s work as I had not come across her before.

  2. I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s a very interesting topic. Especially for a printmaker who has seen the technological revolution growing within such a traditional medium to the point where there are questions about the validity of the old processes over conceptualism and digital print. I’ll have to pick up the book.

  3. having a moment of convergence here, I was just thinking about just this thing (digital craft and abstraction) oh how I wish I were there, I feel Jennifer and I might find much to talk about in the realm of wallpaper & decoration. Thanks for the link to her site. “My” librarian is enjoying the search for all “your” books, and so far has been very successful in locating copies close to me. Keep them coming!

  4. Thank you so much for the tip on the book! Can’t wait to check it out! The lecture sounded super interesting as well, sadly I’m not in a position to catch one at the moment! Love to hear people speak about what they love! 🙂

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