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The semantics of the word ‘craft’ carries with it presuppositions and implications concerning references and meanings that change depending on who is speaking or who is involved.
I craft. I am a craftsperson.I am crafty. Wait, what? I thought I was an artist?
Ceramist? These are all labels that can be quite constricting.
Making: forming, building, constructing, sculpting, painting, knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, in other words imagining and creating, matters. It is a foundation of human activity across the globe. Being skilled or proficient with material - ‘honing one’s craft’, matters. The maker can get their point or idea across well and they are understood. This is very important for the maker.
Using materials with hands, heart, and mind becomes an identity point for people like me, the craftsperson, painter, chef, horticulturist, and essentially anybody who creates. Craft is an expression of how I am tuned in and choose to reflect and state my human experience. It is transforming.
As artists we want to define what we do and why it matters.Craft seeks to understand the nuances of material and how to get the best from it.
Craft allows us to feel energized and sparked by our imaginations forever; this includes our past, present and future.We wish to make sense of our perceptions using material.It is often a slow process that keeps traditional techniques alive.The crafted object becomes an invitation to see a record of time, place and vocation as it evolves. Craft becomes a singular personal identity but is also a cultural identity, as I am not alone. All across Canada and the world I have colleagues who are makers.The nature of this work keeps us alive and happy. ‘I am’ when I am in my studio.
To be fully engaged in my craft allows me to be free of language.The materiality embodies and anchors all of my developments in understanding form, colour, texture, etc. Making is a record of my stories, ideas, beliefs and aesthetics. It is it’s own language that exemplifies and communicates without words.
In some ways I feel like what I do in my studio has not particularly changed during this past year, living in a pandemic and lockdowns. For me, the land, sky and water that surrounds me is as important as ever. Watching seasonal changes, the subtle sounds and sightings of each is sustaining and has been my steady nurturer.I continue to mirror this in a personal way, looking inward to find renewal and change in my work. Finding this rhythm and balance is a kind of elixir for life. The approach to making is just as important as the outcome. Searching for new statements to make from the exceptionally versatile clay medium is exhilarating. There are so many variables and nuances to techniques and processes and this takes time to develop.
Which we have a lot of right now. Where are we to go? What are we going to do? There is my studio ten paces away, beckoning for me to reckon with all my feelings and concerns.
Mass-produced objects can never possess the meaning that hand made objects hold. In each there is a magical combination of imagination, individuality, passion and skill. There is a lasting joy to be surrounded by and to live with hand made things, that in turn over time take on new meaning to those who possess them.
It is a constant source of joy in my life to meet those interested in what I make.Not sharing with others, either by the lack of shows or not being able to teach right now is a big hurdle through this time.Craft appreciation has become very difficult because vital elements of sensory experience are unavailable in a virtual experience. How does one replace the face to face setting? What is the story behind the piece?
I value the people who have been able to break through these constraints at this time and continue to support me. Being able to relate to the pieces still, via socially distanced gallery visits or visual snippets on social media you prove another point. You value this human moment of connection and the essence of what craft means and why it matters.