Sorry this is so long overdue, but last month I was lucky to be able to attend the American Craft Council Conference: Creating a New Craft Culture in Minneapolis, MN. It was a great opportunity and I will do my best to summarize…
Opening Keynote: The Craftsman in Socity, Richard Sennett
Sennett’s opening remarks truly set the stage for rest the of the conference. He talks about the craftsman in an inclusive way and summarizes the term to include all the technicians in our society, remarking that we are all craftspersons in one way or another. Craftwork=problem solving + problem finding, I definitely know this to be true. He also posed the question, “Why does Mediocracy dominate over craftsmanship”? He also believes that modern capitalism works against the craftsperson (unfortunately yes).
Lifestyle and Livelyhood in Craft Culture, Elissa Auther
Auther spoke about the colapse of boundaries bewteen craft, work, and politics.
Lifestyle – social identity, reflex of practice, reflexive model of identity
Livelihood – how one earns money often interwines with lifestyle
Craftsman Ideal – intertwining of art + life (work + live)
Round Table Discussion: Craft in the 21st Century: Identity, Choice, Meaning, Sandra Alfoldy, moderator, with panelists Claudia Crisan, Thomas Patti and Michael Sherrill
This discussion set about to conquer questions about the preconceived notions of the crafts: and then there was MARTHA
1. You don’t need to use traditional craft materials to be a craftsperson. (I believe this to be truem I mean, just look at my work!)
2. Crafts is an environmental, sustainable set of practices. (Not necessarily)
3. Functional Craft is less important than one-of-a-kind work. (What about functional one-of-a-kind work?)
4. Making it by hand makes it craft.
There was a huge debate about this one. My obvious reaction is no, I use hand and digital techniques in my work and yet I still believe that there is a place in the world of craft for what I am doing.
5. The Craft field is dyeing and DIY will save it.
And then there was Martha. This question brought up a huge debate about Martha Stewart and how she is either helping or hurting the craft community. As you probably know I think that most of what Martha does is great, and it’s not just about the crafts. If anything, she sparks an interest in people about craft. It operates on an entirely seperate realm than that of “fine craft” and that’s obvious. I don’t think she’s hurting the craft field, she’s getting people to notice it who maybe wouldn’t normally do so. And let me also just say that she was brought up atleast another 10 times after this….huge debate….still thinking about it today…
On another note, Sandra Alfoldy was a professor of mine at NSCADU and it was great to see her again. I really enjoyed everthing that Claudia Crisan had to say. Here is an example of her work:
She and her husband own an Edible Art Bakery…so fun!
okay, I think that’s all I can handle for now…I will post more about the conference a little later!