The original concept for Talking About was developed by Damian Skinner and Moyra Elliott and from this initial discussion Talking About has taken shape. We were delighted that Damian agreed to act as curator/editor for the project and it has been a great pleasure, as the project’s coordinator, to work with him. The idea for Talking About was to ask a number of contributors to select an object, or group of related objects, and to write about them in some depth drawing in some way upon the discourses of craft and design. When we drew up a list of possible contributors we looked first at people with a track record in writing about objects, regardless of the disciplines in which they have been trained. Our thanks go to the Talking About contributors; Don Bassett, Moyra Elliott, Ngarino Ellis, Richard Fahey, Bronwyn Fletcher, Louis Le Valliant & Rigel Sorzano, Sean Mallon, Anna Miles, Cushla Parekowhai, Elizabeth Rankin and Grant Thompson who responded to the opportunity with alacrity and whose writings so richly engage and stimulate the reader in relation to the cultural, historical, social and technological dimensions of their chosen objects.
The contributions mirror the diversity of Aotearoa, and range from the anecdotal to the art historical. These essays reveal that it is impossible, and probably undesirable, to suggest that object discourse in Aotearoa has any set features, or must necessarily assume certain rhetorical or genre forms. Talking About reveals the seriousness with which many writers approach objects, and the importance that craft and design can assume when thinking through contemporary critical issues.