The Queue: Shae Bishop
Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.
A biweekly roundup for and by the craft community, The Queue introduces you to the artists, curators, organizers, and more featured in the current issue of American Craft. We invite these inspiring individuals to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now.
Based in North Carolina, Shae Bishop is a ceramist, fiber artist, and lover of reptiles. He assembles ceramic pieces and fashions them into garments—some of which are to be worn when looking for salamanders. When we asked him to write about what fashion means in his work and for craft, he said this was his “dream assignment.” You can read his insights in "The Fashion Factor" which is featured in the Spring 2022 issue of American Craft.
How do you describe your work or practice?
I make sculptural garments from ceramic and fiber materials, using the visual language of clothing to construct personal and cultural narrative. I tailor the garments to my own body and display them with photographs of myself wearing the pieces in specific environments, furthering the story.
The past 18+ months have presented many challenges, from a global pandemic to renewed urgency around issues of racial equity and police brutality. As we slowly move into a post-pandemic world, how are you finding beauty and staying grounded?
I’m so fortunate that the pandemic has been a time of very productive, focused studio time for me. But it can be hard staying engaged with the world outside my studio bubble. Being an involved member of Crafting the Future, an organization that works to diversify the art/craft field, is one way I try to do that. @crafting_the_future
The theme of the current issue of American Craft is "Fashion." Can you reflect on that theme as it relates to your work and practice?
Fashion, past and present, is one of the primary inspirations in my artwork. I’m interested in the role of dress in communication and personal identity, and the way we ascribe meanings to clothing in cycles throughout time. The concepts I express often reference those modes of operation in fashion.
What book should we be reading or paying attention to right now, and why?
Dress Codes by Richard Thompson Ford is the best thing I’ve read lately. It’s an incisive look at the power of clothing and the many attempts to control or subvert that power throughout history. The author looks at politics, race, and gender through the lens of fashion and draws conclusions that are smart and relevant.
What’s your favorite social media post you’ve seen recently, and why?
Erika Diamond posted some great process photos recently. She was showing how she breaks apart eggshells, arranges them, and stitches them between layers of tulle to create a shirt. The concept, technique, and execution are so excellent, and I loved seeing a piece under construction. @diamond_erika
If you could purchase any craft artist's work for your home or studio, whose would it be and why?
I would buy a pair of bespoke shoes from Amara Hark Weber in St. Paul, Minnesota. Probably oxford ankle boots with a fiddleback waist and spade sole! I had the pleasure of taking a class with Amara last year and have fallen in love with shoemaking. @harkweberstudio
Inspired by the people featured in The Queue?
Dive deeper into their work in the pages of American Craft magazine. Become a member of the American Craft Council to get a subscription and help fund a range of nonprofit programs that elevate the craft community.