Monday, 25 June 2012

Craft Wars on the Horizon

This is Widow by Janice Wright Cheney.  He is life-sized and made of fabric flowers.  It reminds me of the Remembrance Day poppies.

Has anybody else noticed how craft based art has edged its way from the margins of the art world to the main stage?  Years and years ago, it was a big deal when Barb Hunt first showed her hand knit landmines at the AGO in Toronto.  "Knitting at the Art Gallery of Ontario!" the craft insiders like myself crowed.  Well, over the past decade it has happened with more and more frequency until no one bats an eyelash in surprise. 

I follow the weekly, e-version of Canadian Art Magazine.  It's cheap, informative and unlike the growing pile of books beside my bed I actually read it faithfully.  It also has concise artist videos that are worth watching.  (No, this is not a commercial.) It's a good way for me to follow trends on the mainland art world.  Naturally, when they cover a craft based artist I sit up and take notice.  For example, on March 13th they had a feature on Textile art.  Here's a little clip,

"In decades past, textile art was taught in schools as a completely separate domain than the fine arts. Even today, those who work with textiles as part of their art practice have sometimes had training in other creative areas, like fashion and design. In this video, three contemporary Canadian artists who use textile as a medium—Kai Chan, Lyn Carter and Heather Goodchild—talk about their work."
Coy-wolves by Janice Wright Cheney.  When I commented that I loved their false eye lashes her response was "Well, they are coy."

On March 23rd, they had an article about Brendan Tang the ceramic artist (who by the way, Jason Holley will be coming up against in the RBC people's choice award competition at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art this Fall. You are going to vote "Jason" aren't you?) On April 3rd they had another article about Brendan Tang but he was described as Brendan Lee Satish Tang.  Shari Boyle is also another ceramic artist who gets regular coverage in Canadian Art.
Reading about the Mass/MOCA event in Canadian Art I couldn't help but notice that Janice Wright Cheney (she of the onion skin cockroaches and coy-wolves) had one of her life-sized, gorgeous, rose bear sculptures at the entrance.  It is called Widow and I think it speaks volumes.

Craft Wars, the TV program.  Not a committee meeting

Classification: Reality
Genre: Arts & Crafts | Family
Status: New Series
Network: TLC ( USA)
Airs: Tuesdays at 10:00 pm
Runtime: 60 Minutes
Premiere: June 26, 2012
Episode Order: 10

Two unrelated things in closing.  There is actually going to be a TV program launched very shortly on Canadian TV called Craft Wars.  I watched the preview the other night on television with my son.  He asked, "Why do I think you should know everyone on this program?"  And when I mentioned it to my husband he teased me, "What, aren't you going to star in it?"  (My son's nickname for me is the Craft Dragon, a hybrid of my work in the field of craft and the Dragon's Den.)  I suspect it will be a competition styled program that will pit "average crafters" against each other.  God, and people who have already seen it in the States, only knows what it will be like.  But I know the demographic for the viewer-ship will be huge.  Craft is enjoying a massive resurgence through the youth fuelled DIY movement.

Finally, I was very pleased to learn that Jonathon Bancroft-Snell, of the gallery by the same name, has deservedly won an award!  It is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.  Jonathon has worked for years and years to help raise the profile of Canadian ceramics and is behind the building of some of the most significant private collections of Canadian ceramics.  So, last week I drank a toast to his magic, red shoes and his accomplishments.  Bravo Jonathon!

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