Thursday, November 5, 2009

Creating a New Craft Culture

I've had intentions of doing a post about my trip to the American Craft Council Conference for weeks now, and have finally realized that I just don't have time (my thesis is 4 months away, every minute counts right now!) to write the quality of post I was hoping for. So, instead of telling you all about the conference, I will just tell you briefly my feelings on the event. If you want a great in depth run through of conference events head on over to Harriete Estel Bermans blog, she has done a great job posting on all of the conference ins and outs. Emiko Oye also wrote about the conference on her blog.
I am SO glad I had the opportunity to attend this years conference in Minneapolis (despite it being WAY past my cold temperature tolerance level!) I'm grateful to ACC for the scholarship they awarded me to attend the conference. Thank you!
The conference was SO packed full of lectures, each one so full of information I feel like I have months of research ahead of me, just to soak in and absorb all I saw and heard. My favorite talks were,

"Meat Fabrication", by owner of a local butcher store, Kristin Tombers of Clancy’s Meat & Fish

Natalie Chanin - “Marketplace and the Personal – A Story of Thread”

Faythe Levine - “A Handmade Nation”

and Garth Clark - "Palace and Cottage"

Overall the programing at the entire conference was great...I felt enriched after leaving, and a bit overwhelmed at the responsibility I felt to follow up on all I learned about. The only thing I wanted more of was lectures by makers. I would have liked to see/hear more talks by actual
working artists about their work.
Something that came up A LOT at the conference was the tired, art vs. craft argument, as well as the issue (some) craftspeople have with DIYers. The question "Will DIYers be the downfall of craft?" came up repeatedly. Seriously??? Come ON! Honestly, I rolled my eyes every time these subjects came up because it seemed like such a waste of time to argue about these things, but it sure was a hot topic. I liked Garth Clarks response to those with that attitude, basically he said you should be embracing anyone that shares your values (craft, the handmade object, etc.) Yes, there is a lot of crap on Etsy, but there is also a lot of amazing work by established well known artists. He called ACC out on their elitist attitude and questioned their general attitude towards the indie craft culture. Basically he said, get over it. His talk was a little scary, but defin
itely the most memorable and probably the most meaningful. Anyway, I wish I had time to elaborate but I don't, so head on over to Harriete and Emikos blogs to hear what they had to say. ACC also posted lots of notes about each event at the conference on their website.
I had a great time and loved being able to share in the experience with friends!