Following last weeks post on “90%”, trying to understand the definition of art and crafts related to the market, I was able to attend some art/craft events and an art/craft market. The events were Culture Days in New Glasgow, Windfall Fine Art and handcrafts market. and Antigonight in Antigonish. The first events were Windfall And Antigonight, held on a beautiful Saturday during the last weekend of September, in Antigonish.
The Windfall market was interesting to say the least. Ran into a good friend of mind there, Rachel De Conde (check her work out at https://www.facebook.com/Racheldecondeceramics ), who was selling there. It was a market which had some great pieces of ceramics there including Bronwyn Arundel ( http://www.arundelstudios.ca/) and Shauna MacLeod ( http://blackcrowpottery.ca/index.php/pottery), and of course Rachel. As I was walking around, I began to realize that not was all that it seemed. The market itself had a variety of products for sale, which is all fine, people should be allowed to sell where they can. But the unfortunate thing was that all of sudden you go from high-end products, hand-made products to one’s you are not so sure about. When I got to the tie-dye clothing, I was not sure how to define this market. I understand the need to expand the product range when doing a market, but how do you choose a range of products that will conflict with other objects sold. I am basically saying that including tie-dye t-shirts within a fine craft arena is downplaying all the rest of the products sold within the market.
On the other side, The Antigonight ( https://www.facebook.com/antigonightfest) showing had no conflict within it’s event. All art and crafts melded together and formed great group of work and ideas. The show also encouraged interaction with the crowd (within a high concentration), and the crowd was more than willing to join in. While I understand the intention for the night was the interaction aspect, director Fenn Martin had the right idea and no doubt juried the applicants extensively. And this is my point. Why are the markets and crafts shows so relaxed about jurying the shows they start? This is not to say that all or most of fine art or craft markets are not juried well, this is impossible to know, but my experience is that they have some issues.
This is when we hit the reason, hobbyists. Hobbyist’s often present themselves in a market with no real reason to promote their work or meet a level of success. While I admire the notion that hobbyists have a yearning to make some craft or art in their free time, and they do love what they are making, they do not however feel a necessity about the selling, success and promotion of the product they are creating. Their involvement in their work ends only at their self-interest level. This is what I see occurring in places such as Windfall. I have no idea behind their choices within the jury, or for that matter, the commonalities in the show, but the investigation and promotion of the show should be based on the perception of artists and crafts persons making work for a living. The show delegates should also promote the show on a city, provincial and international wide level. This all depends on where the show is situated. Windfall did however have a good online presence, advertising some of the products to be had. And it is to say that I do not know the entirety of the selection process, how many applied and the good applications over the bad. What I can see is that perhaps the show worked for some, maybe some broke even financially, but the thing that confuses me about this type of showing is : Who they are advertising to and who do they want attending; and who is fit to show at such an event. I believe more questions within this market setting should be addressed.
In regards to Culture Days within New Glasgow, it was a fine day to show the process of my work as well as other artists from the area. While not many attended, due mainly to the last day of summer happening outside, it was good to run into Creative Pictou County initiative. This group is attempting to understand the artist needs and the artist community at large within Pictou County , Nova Scotia. About where the artists are situated and what help, if any, that they need. It was worthwhile to make this connection at this point of the residency. The event was also a reminder of the importance of community involvement, where it is strong and where it is lacking. This involvement needs to be fought on two fronts: the council should consider ways to bring in creative initiatives and promote culture back to the county (perhaps a deeper search for reasons of the why’s and why not’s of public interests, directly related to creative purposes); and artist accountability to promote such events. I understand that most art/crafts needs to be brought to the people, where to look for them is key.
Now for some light reading, in and around the subject of this post: