Sarah Alford (Fulbright 2006) graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MA in Visual and Critical Studies and an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies. She has exhibited across Canada and in the United States, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. She has taught in the Historical and Critical Studies department at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, and is an Assistant Professor in Craft History and Theory at the Alberta University of the Arts.
I am in the practice of re-imagining what it means to know the world. As an undergraduate studying jewellery and metalsmithing, I learned it was once believed that the entire universe was made of light in varying densities. The more reflective it was, the less dense it was—lighter. All that winter on my walks home from the studio I looked for signs of this, and they were abundant, salt strewn streets, snow, frost, the drops of water, broken glass…. It changed how I saw jewellery making. I became more interested in adornment as an act, rather than as an object. However, as I became less focused on making, I understood how important it was that I had learned to make things well. I came to understand that the reconstruction of the world will require an act of craftsmanship, an act in which we skilfully and artfully bring together the broken pieces of our history. Making is a form of understanding what might be, and I have also come to see how it forms an understanding of history, value and place.
I contextualize my work within art practices that look to community, process, and intervention as meaningful sites for uncovering lost emancipatory moments and for growing political awareness in the present. My work, however, is often undidactic, ephemeral and asks viewers to suspend their beliefs and to place themselves somewhere between citing and citing.