Jury Standards, Part 2

Submitted by: Ferron, SCC Member Services Coordinator

Last week we took a look at what the jury standards of the Saskatchewan Craft Council are.  This week, we will take a brief look at their history, and learn more about other ways jury standards have been used with an article from The Craft Factor.

The Saskatchewan Craft Council has utilized jury standards for over thirty years, beginning in 1977 when the SCC took over organizing Saskatchewan Handcraft Festival.  At the time, and for many years afterward, each market was juried separately, and by a panel of jurors from various mediums.  In the early days of the jury process, applications were made via images and slides.  Eventually, the jurying evolved to include physical samples of the work, and by 1997 more specific jury standards for each medium were developed.

Though the jury standards have changed over the years, the fundamentals have remained the same, for example, the following recommendations are from a Standards Report in April 1978:

"That the SCC recommend that the jury be guided by the following criteria in choosing work for exhibition: technical competence, functionalism (re use or decoration), and aesthetic quality..."

"That for SCC sponsored craft sales works accepted must be technically competent and meet the functional requirements for which they were intended.  Items must be hand crafted; those craftspersons who control most or more of their own designing and production with be given preferences when there are a limited number of sales spaces available."

The focus on technical competence, aesthetic quality and functionality are still key aspects of the jury standards today.  The standards were shaped over the years and the Standards and Jurying Policy of the Saskatchewan Craft Council adopted in 2001 is the basis for our standards today - though with some noteworthy changes; visual arts and food products having been introduced as an affiliate category since. 

While the SCC was one of the first craft organizations to use formal jury standards, the jurying practice became utilized by many craft organizations.
The Canada Council for the Arts established a separate jury for craft in 1996 to ensure that applicants for individual grants would be assessed by jurors with specific craft knowledge.  

In this feature from the fall 1996 edition of The Craft Factor, Brian Gladwell outlines his experience s one of five jurors who served on the first Canada Council craft jury.  Brian explains the selection process, how to present to the jury, and looks at how this jury process serves craft.

Read the entire article here

Jury standards, whether they be used by the SCC to ensure that only high quality, original, genuinely handmade work is available at SCC markets; or as part of a granting body, serve a purpose of formally assessing fine craft and give both craftspersons and patrons of fine craft a set of expectations and guidelines to follow.

Jury Standards: What Do They Mean, and Where Did They Come From?

Submitted by: Ferron, SCC Member Services Coordinator

The annual jury session of the Saskatchewan Craft Council is coming up in just a few short months, in mid-March.  As we begin to prepare for the session, let’s take a look at the jury standards and their history in a two part series.

Part 1 – The Jury Standards

The SCC utilizes jury standards to ensure that products sold at SCC markets are high quality handmade objects, in keeping with the mandate to promote excellence in Craft.  There are over twenty different mediums juried by the SCC, each with their own specific criteria.  There is also general product eligibility criteria, which lays out the basic requirements for any craft article; including that it must be the original idea of the craftsperson, well designed technically and aesthetically, and capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed. 

Another, very key piece of the jury standards, is that articles must be made by hand – assembly of commercially available parts as opposed to skillful manipulation of materials are not accepted, nor is the use of commercial kits or molds.  Ready-made parts or components are permitted only if they are subordinate to the total design and craftsmanship of the article. This means that only high quality, original, genuinely handmade work is available at SCC markets, and in other SCC marketing initiatives such as the Fine Craft Boutique.

WinterGreen Fine Craft Market 2013
Claude Morin
Photo Credit Thom Archer

WinterGreen Fine Craft Market 2013
Melody Armstrong
Photo Credit Thom Archer

The jury standards ensure works sold at SCC markets fit with the mandate of the organization, but they do not mean that those works which would not pass the jury are necessarily non-functional, unappealing, or otherwise inferior.  Rather, it may mean that they are well crafted but use a large percent of ready-made items.  Or perhaps that the finish or fit of an item is slightly off – such as a ceramic vase that has an uneven base, or a bracelet that is unfinished on the inside.  As a craftsperson becomes more experienced they may refine their work to a point where it meets jury standards, or they may very happily market items that are outside of the scope of the SCC jury standards.  

For more information on the current jury standards and criteria, visit the SCC website.  In order to apply for the jury, one must be a current SCC Professional Craftsperson or Affiliated Marketer member.

Next week we will take a look back at the history of jury standards at the SCC and standards nationally.  Stay tuned!

Lark Craft Books - 500 Series

Submitted by: Vivian Orr, SCC Communications & Publications Coordinator

"Lark Craft Books - 500 Series provides an overview of the best contemporary work in fields such as ceramics, jewelry making, woodworking, and more. Each book is juried by an expert, features informative introductory text, and showcases spectacular images of state-of-the-art work … With an international roster of contributors that includes both established names and up-and-coming craftspeople, each volume spotlights the shared and divergent approaches taken by artists who are producing visionary work."

500 prints on clay carries on that tradition. As a graphic designer who likes to play with clay this is an easy book to love. The marriage between image-transfer techniques and clay give the pieces a very contemporary, cutting edge feel.

Yet there are visual allusions to historical imagery and shapes that imbue some pieces with a very "traditional" air. A perfect example of that is the set of "Chinese Zodiac Bowls" by Hong-Ling Wee. Stark white porcelain bowls with bright red Chinese "papercut" zodiac images. Very clean, very simple, very recognizable - but two formats not normally combined. Or the "Naked Raku with Koi"; an elegant, graphic black & white raku vase with skillfully integrated transfers of line drawn koi.

Does a factory-made sink covered in whimsical animal decals qualify as an “installation” piece? Maruta Mariza Raude sink is certainly entertaining. Charlie Cummings “Returning to the Light” is unquestionably an installation. Combining four-color separation silk-screen; ceramic monoprint, kiln glass cast, masked video as well as porcelain, and earthenware clay. It looks fascinating.

Lark Crafts has done a great job with 500 prints on clay and the 500 Series in general. If you see any of these books and it features a medium that interests you – flip through it. It is inspirational eye-candy for the artist.

You can visit the publishers website here

The Craft Factor - Dimensions

Volume 11, Number 2 Summer 1986

Dimensions is the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s touring, juried, exhibition of Fine Craft open to all Saskatchewan craftspeople. Dimensions is a dynamic, colourful exhibition of thirty-five Fine Craft works in a wide variety of media. 
2013 celebrates the 30th  Dimensions exhibition organized by the Saskatchewan Craft Council. As we welcome Dimensions into our gallery once again, let us take a look back.

The thirty-five works in Dimensions '86 are as dynamic and varied as the works in Dimensions today.  

A sample of pieces from Dimensions '86

Dimensions 2013 at the Affinity Gallery

Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber is one craftsperson who has had work selected for numerous Dimensions over the years, including 1986.  
Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber
A Midsummernight's Dream - Dimensions 1986
(detail shown)

This year, Annemarie was awarded the Premier’s Prize Award for the Outstanding Entry, for her piece Homo Sapiens on Stitches.

Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber, Saskatoon
Homo Sapiens on Stitches
Photography: Grant Kernan, AK Photos

This piece, along with the other outstanding works in Dimensions 2013 can be viewed at the Affinity Gallery from November 15, 2013 to January 5, 2014

Reception: January 3 from 7-9pm

Tips on Pricing Your Craft - Part Two: An Equation for Pricing for Profit

Submitted by: Amanda Bosiak, Former Member Services Coordinator

This is Part Two of our "Tips on Pricing Your Craft" series.  This week looks at Pricing for Profit.

Realistically, how do you place a dollar figure on your work? And how do you make it a profitable figure? Many craft people use a Material Cost + Profit equation that all too often falls way short of the mark. How do you know how much “profit” is enough? And how much of that is really profit? Remember that you have costs related to selling your work that cut into that profit. If you sell your own work at markets, those expenses (booth fees, travel and meals, accommodations and time lost from your studio) all eat into your profit by 30% - 50%. If you sell your work by wholesale or commission, you also lose up to 50% off the retail price.

Well, there is a tried and true method known as “Cost Plus Pricing”. Here is the basic formula:


Here is a brief breakdown of that formula:

MATERIALS: This is pretty self-explanatory – the cost of materials for each piece.

WAGE: This is the really important part! If you aren't paying yourself a wage, you should really start now! Be reasonable and fair with yourself – start at minimum wage and add to it based on your experience, education etc. You can also think of the wage part of the equation as the minimum profit you will make on each sale – so if you are uncomfortable with working out a wage for yourself, put the minimum profit amount in its place. Now, whether you sell the work yourself, through wholesale or commission, you KNOW that you will profit at least that much!

OVERHEAD: This is the pro-rated amount of your annual utility bills (for studio and office space), packaging and office supplies, equipment and professional fees, etc. Even if you work out of a corner of your basement, living room or garage, you still have overhead.

COST: Now you see the real cost of your work, beyond the cost of materials!

X2 = RETAIL: Now you see what the retail value of your work really is!
After you apply the Cost Plus formula to your work, you will probably still have to do some adjustment for your customer base, competitive advantage, and tiered pricing levels. Adjustments can be made to round figures up or down to more “attractive” price points (amounts ending in 0, 5 or 9 for example: round an item that is $27.86 up to $30 or down to $25) or to allow for consistency in pricing between different sizes of similar products.
In addition, you may find that some products will require the application of “Added Value” strategies. Branding and packaging are two ways to do this. Also, offering “limited edition” work and including support material with your work such as a biography on yourself, and care instructions for your product, all add to the perceived value of your work.

If after all this you find that you have in fact been vastly under pricing your work, you will be in a position where you need to decide on a strategy for gradually increasing your prices. Should you find that you have been selling your work for half of what you need to in order to make a profit, it can be difficult to suddenly double all of your prices. It will be a shock to your customers, and a hard thing for you to confidently stand behind.

There are two times of the year when price increases are the easiest to apply, and these tend to fall during craft market and retail sales lulls; that is September (after summer sales, before Christmas sales) and January/February (after Christmas sales, before spring sales). So rather than doubling your prices at one time, try going up roughly 20% in the fall, and another 20% or so in the new year, or the next fall. New customers won’t know the difference, and your regular customers will take it in stride when you apply larger increases slowly over a set period of time.

Pricing your craft work – for profit and sales – is an ongoing process. Evaluating your prices every year or two should be a part of your business practice. There are a few other things to keep in mind:
Your costs will change (usually becoming higher) and so will your access to the materials you use for your work.
Your customer base will change – regular customer will age and experience income changes over time. New customers will require new products, and lower priced items to introduce them to your work.
The economy is in constant flux, with customers having varying amounts of disposable income from year to year. Even over the course of the year, as noted above, there are ebbs and flows in the annual spending cycle of the typical consumer.
Sometimes, it isn't the price of your work that keeps people from buying it. It could be that you are selling in the wrong markets (craft markets and/or stores/galleries with the wrong customer base). OR, the harder thing to admit to (on your ego and artistic soul), is it could be the product itself is not attractive to consumers, either in style or functionality. Consider your market and your product as you work towards successful sales, and good luck!

Tips on Pricing Your Craft

Submitted by: Amanda Bosiak, Former Member Services Coordinator

This two-part article is a summary of information provided in the SCC’s “Pricing your craft” workshop. The workshop is offered once or twice a year by the SCC in both Saskatoon and Regina. Groups or guilds can also request a presentation of the workshop by emailing scc.memberservices@sasktel.net.

Pricing can be one of the most difficult aspects of a craft artist’s practice. Unlike the creative process, pricing is part of the business side of craft – the side that a) takes time away from the studio and b) forces an artist to consider the worth of their work. Simply put, pricing can be both annoying and scary. It is however, essential to the success of a craft artist’s career. Getting money for your work is one thing – making a profit from your work is an entirely different matter.
In my experience more often than not, craft artists under price their work. This happens for various reasons, but the most common are
  • The artist undervalues their own skill and experience: they are too humble to ask what they should be asking for their work
  • The artist worries that if they price their work at what it is worth, it will not sell
  • The artist has work they feel is similar to items available at big box and chain retail outlets, and they feel that in order to compete they need to have lower prices

Regardless of the reason for under pricing, the end result is the same. For one thing, under pricing because you don’t value your work can also lead to your customers undervaluing your work and you, as a creator. For another, it can mean that you are not making the money (profit) you should be making from your craft business. Under pricing can lead to financial loss. If you are hoping to make a living off of selling your craft, then you simply can’t afford to ask for less than what your product is worth.

As for competing with big box stores and the like – you aren’t. Craft purchasers are a distinct group of consumers, often separate from the group of consumers that frequent discount retailers and chain stores. Yes, there is some cross-over but generally speaking, your customer base is a group of people with discerning taste, who chose to shop locally and shop handmade as often as possible.

It is easy to forget this, because the odd person who comes to your booth at a market and gasps that the price is too high, are the people that stick in your mind. Forget them. They are not a part of your customer base.

Still worried about competing with big retail? Have a look at this mug from Anthropologie for $38 USD.  Or this handwoven scarf from Browns Fashion for $335 CAD.

Once you get over all the reasons (excuses!) you have for under pricing your work, there are a few Golden Rules to keep in mind about pricing.
  1. Always stand behind your price: Don’t undervalue yourself or your work by haggling with your customer.
  2. NEVER lower the price if an item isn’t selling. Instead you may need to look at ways to Add Value (make it more attractive to the customer). Alternately, you may need to assess the product: the price may not be the reason it isn’t selling. Does the product function in a way that fits your customer’s needs? Does the style speak to your current customer base while also attracting new customers?
  3. BE CONSISTENT. Whether you sell your work out of your studio, at a market or in a gift shop or gallery, the price should be the same at all locations. This is a basic professional practice.
  4. Provide a quality product! Whether it is a new product, or one you have been selling for years; make it well.
In the second part of this series on pricing, I will introduce you to the Cost Plus method for pricing for profit!  Stay tuned!

Packing Textiles for Storage and Shipping

Submitted by Judy Haraldson: Professional Craftsperson: Fibre, Former Exhibitions Coordinator, Saskatchewan Craft Council

While working for the Saskatchewan Craft Council in the Gallery / Exhibitions area for 10 years, I've seen some good packing of handcrafted pieces and a fair bit of bad packing.  The reason for packing textiles or any craft object properly, is to protect it from damage.  Similar ideas and methods apply when packing for storage or packing for shipping.

The kinds of damage you want to protect your pieces from suffering include:  mechanical, dirt, fluids, light, chemical, molds, and insects.  Mechanical damage of textiles involves cutting, creasing, tearing, snagging, and sagging.  Damage from dirt includes dust and any residues from body contact.  Fluids are water, mostly, but also could be humidity and other liquids like oils and solvents.  Light damage can be fading of dyes and fibre breakdown.  Chemical damage in this case results from contact with acid-bearing wood and paper products, as well as metal which can rust.  Molds include mildew.  Insect damage is a concern to all fibre lovers.  Hazards abound!

There are a few general themes for packing textiles.  Start clean and keep it clean.  Prevent creasing.  Keep it dark and dry.  Don’t let it touch damaging surfaces.  Watch for bugs and get rid of them.  Put it in sturdy containers.  Use breathable covers for long storage.  Use water resistance covers for shipping.

Clean is pretty straightforward; clean it before packing and cover it from dust.  This can also include keeping the textile dry and out of the light.  Make sure it is completely dry before packing and store it in low humidity.  For long term storage, covers and containers should be breathable.  Shipping involves other considerations and less permeable materials should be used.

Protection from damaging surfaces is less obvious.  Wood and many paper products contain acids which, over time, can discolour and / or break down fibres in contact with them.  Painting wood with water-base urethane or latex paint provides protection.  Use acid-free paper products or use protective liners to prevent direct contact with the textile.  Cloth covers should be washed unbleached cotton; old white cotton sheets work very well.  Metal surfaces can rust or oxidize and stain textiles; again, use protective liners.  Plastics are neutral inert surfaces.

There is lots of information on fibre-damaging insects and what to do about them.  Isolate the infested or suspicious textile and kill the culprits by the method least harmful to the textile.  Repeated deep freezing works pretty well.  Mothballs are no longer considered to be very safe.  Insecticides require a lot of caution.  Inspect long term storage conditions regularly.

Containers for textiles need to protect from mechanical, chemical, and fluid damage.  For shipping, sturdy cardboard boxes with plastic covers on the textile are fine.  Plastic containers are very good for shipping.  For longer storage of textiles, drawers that have been painted with urethane are best.  Plastic containers can be used but textiles should be taken out and inspected and aired every so often.  Cardboard containers must be lined with neutral materials.

Creasing results from folding textiles and can strain fibres causing them to weaken and eventually break.  Keep small flat textiles (eg. runners, doilies) as flat as possible; if you need to fold them, pad the fold.  Large or long flat textiles can be rolled and covered.  Use a cloth covered rolling tube, and roll carefully without creases.  Make sure the roll is large enough in both diameter and length.  Tapestries and pile textiles are rolled face out, i.e with the back toward the roll.  Textured textiles (eg. beaded or embroidered) need padding between the layers whether folded or rolled.

Garments require some special considerations.  For long term storage, laying out flat puts little strain on seams and hanging parts, but folds must be padded to prevent creasing.  Acid-free tissue paper rolls or fabric pads are best.  Shipping a garment involves making it as compact as possible while keeping creasing to a minimum, and protecting it from mechanical and fluid damage.  Plastic tote boxes, cotton cloth covers and pads, or zippered sweater bags in sturdy cardboard boxes are some methods.  If your garment is going to be unpacked and repacked, include specific and clear instructions with photos or diagrams to ensure it is done right.

Three-dimensional objects need special packing for shipping, especially if they are fragile.  Framed pieces should be covered with bubble pack, then packed in a box large enough to include packing materials on all sides.  Irregularly shaped pieces should be packed in such a way that extending bits are supported and the object cannot shift within the packing materials.  Bubble pack envelopes are good for tiny objects.  Styrofoam chips are good packing material, but if possible, contain them inside plastic bags.

There is quite a bit of information out on the Internet about textile conservation and storage.  Here are some web sites to check out:

What is the Curatorial Committee?

Submitted by: Stephanie Canning, Exhibitions and Education Coordinator

Affinity Gallery’s annual call for exhibition proposals is fast approaching (November 15!). 
When you submit a proposal to exhibit in our gallery, Les and myself along with the Curatorial Committee asses your application and choose which exhibitions will be featured in our gallery.  

We exhibit up to six exhibitions each year which are scheduled 1 to 2 years in advance. What you see in our space is not only the result of a lot of hard work and talent on behalf of the artist, but also much planning and organizing at the SCC.

The process of selecting exhibitions for the SCC’s Affinity Gallery is done with great care and attention. The experience, technical knowledge and expertise of our Curatorial Committee is extremely valuable during this process. 
The SCC’s Curatorial Committee is made up of established professional craft artists working in a variety of mediums. The Curatorial Committee for the 2013 is;

Anita Rocamora, ceramic artist.
Zach Hauser, furniture maker and photographer.
Miranda Jones, mixed media artist.
Megan Broner, jewellery artist.
M. Craig Campbell, blacksmith.

For more information about the application requirements please see; http://www.saskcraftcouncil.org/gallery/exhibition-application-guide.pdf

If you have any questions about applying for an exhibition please contact Les or myself at scc.exhibitions@sasktel.net or 306.653.3616 ext. 25.

SCC Fine Craft Boutique: Cindy Obuck and Felting

Submitted by: Maia Stark, Gallery Assistant

Let’s talk about our feelings. Well, actually, I’d like to talk about feltings and fullings—the pun was well worth it, wasn’t it? Felting is a process that occurs when fibers are physically agitated, so that they seem to knit themselves together. Microscopic scales cover filaments of animal hair (wool, for example), and these scales swell open when agitated, causing filaments to interlock with each other. This agitation can occur through physical agitation, moistness, or changes in the pH of the fibers from using soap.[i] Felt is known to be one of the oldest fabrics known to humankind, as anthropologists have found artifacts of felted materials dating back to 500BC! The characteristics of felt being strong but light, and water and wind-resistant at certain thicknesses made it the perfect choice for tents and clothing for nomadic groups.[ii] 

Neck warmer with button, detail, Cindy Obuck, (SCC Boutique).
There are many ways to felt wool, but there are two main distinctions: wet felting and dry felting. Dry felting requires the use of a felting needle, which has barbs cut into its metal shaft allowing the needle to snag and intertwine filaments.[iii] Wet felting uses heat, moisture, and agitation to turn the loose wool fibers into felt. For example, some artists compress the wool with soapy water, then roll the wool sheet in bubble wrap or thermal wrap, and use a combination of rolling, throwing, and kneading over hours to create a good quality dense felt: a very laborious process![iv]  It’s important to note that “felting” is quite different from “fulling.” Felting uses raw wool, while fulling is a process applied to wool that has already been treated in a particular way; fulling is the process of fluffing up an already woven or knitted piece of woven cloth, while felting does not use any sort of weaving process for initial structure.[v]

Cindy Obuck, a professional craftsperson with the Saskatchewan Craft Council, was always interested in art but never investigated it outside her qualifications as a graphic designer until discovering felting. Self-taught, Obuck mostly uses welt felting and needle felting, and even quilting techniques to create her unique wall hangings and wool sculptures.[vi]

“Anemone Delight,” Cindy Obuck, 2013 (cindyobuck.com).

“Prince,” mONsTer pODs, Cindy Obuck (cindyobuck.com).

Obuck has a sensitive approach to her work, creating subtle variations in tone and hue. The range of her work is impressive as well, from comical monsters to beautiful neck-warmers with buttons, and sturdy purses with leather straps. Despite the various incarnations, each piece Obuck makes incorporates her signature whimsical style.

Neck warmer with button, Cindy Obuck (SCC Boutique).

If you are interested in purchasing one of Cindy Obuck’s pieces, or seeing what other fabulous work we have in store, please visit the SCC Fine Craft Boutique, located in the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s Affinity Gallery at 813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, SK.

[i] strongfelt.com
[ii] Amanostudios.com
[iii] strongfelt.com
[iv] Amanostudios.com
[v] Fuzzygalore.biz
[vi] Cindyobuck.com

The Aftermath

Submitted by Cathryn Miller: Professional Craftsperson: Paper

I have been a professional craftsperson for almost forty years, first as a weaver, most recently as a book artist. Over those decades people have frequently said to me “You are so efficient!”  and “You must be so organised!”

I have a dirty little secret: when pushed to meet deadlines, I stop cleaning up.

There was a massive amount of work involved in producing the pieces for Word View. Although it was spread over a period of about three years, the last four months were intensive — working seven days a week, often ten or twelve hours a day. During that time I also met a number of other deadlines.

But I did not clean up! Things got left on the floor or piled on one of my worktables.

This resulted in spaces that looked like this

and this.

I am spending this week clearing and sorting and filing and throwing out.

I calculate that it will take about one full workweek to eliminate the incredible mess, but I also estimate that I would have spent at least three times that many hours if I had kept things ‘tidy’ as I went along, hours that I really didn’t have.

It takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude to work in spaces that look like the aftermath of a tornado. It also takes a good memory: I last saw the scissors ... ?!

I don’t actually recommend this as a regular approach to the maintenance of a studio space, particularly if you work with potentially hazardous materials, but it has worked for me.

Can anyone tell me where I left the shovel?

Cathryn's exhibition "Word View" can be seen in the Affinity Gallery from September 27-November 9, 2013. Reception Friday November 8, 7-9pm.

The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Saskatchewan Craft Council.

SCC Fine Craft Boutique - Oval Shaker Boxes

Submitted by: Sydney Luther, Gallery Assistant

Our brand new SCC Fine Craft Boutique is filled with beautiful pieces of many different mediums, a few of which our readers may not know much about. We hope to educate these readers through a new collection of blog posts highlighting the different mediums and styles of work we feature in our boutique.

The History and Creation of the Oval Shaker Box
Wayne Dueck is a woodworker from Saskatoon who is a juried member of the Saskatchewan Craft Council. He specializes in the oval Shaker box, which is a sturdy wood box with a tight fitting lid, the style of which was invented by an American religious group known as the Shakers. 

Wayne Dueck's oval Shaker boxes come in many different sizes.
The Shakers, more formally known as The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, is a group which began in the 17th century in France, but soon after immigrated to the United States. The group focused on creating a utopian society based on the virtues of purity, pacifism, tolerance, and equality of the sexes. In the early 19th century, the Shakers reached their peak membership, with more than 6000 Shakers living in 19 different communities in the eastern United States. Today, the last remaining Shaker community is located in Maine, after their numbers dwindled throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Dueck's boxes are created without any glue, only copper tacks.
The Shakers strived for perfection in everything they did, and this can be seen in their fine but simple woodworking. Dueck agrees with the society’s focus on the utility of handmade objects, and not only beauty. This worldview is engrained in Wayne’s creation of the simple Shaker boxes, which are fashioned using no glue, but only small copper tacks. His design is taken directly from the original Shaker tradition, which dates back to the 1790s. Dueck uses quartersawn cherry and birdseye maple wood in his Shaker boxes, which feature uniform, slender sides, symmetrical joints, and tight fitting lids. Coated with a combination of beeswax and linseed oil, the boxes come in a variety of sizes and can be used to store an assortment of household items and personal treasures. The boxes range in price from $40-$80, depending on their size.

Dueck's Shaker boxes are featured in the SCC Fine Craft Boutique.

If you are interested in purchasing one of Wayne's traditional oval Shaker boxes, please visit the SCC Fine Craft Boutique, located in the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s Affinity Gallery at 813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, SK.

The Craft Factor - Marketing in Cyberspace

Vol 20, No 2 Summer/Fall 1995

In the mid 90s, Karen Schoonover addressed issues around artists using the Internet - still a very new thing in most households, workplaces and schools at the time - to market them self. The internet was - and still is - a low-cost option for artists to use for self promotion, and as an inherently visual medium, offered much potential to boost awareness about an artist and their work.

Excerpt from "Marketing in Cyberspace"
If you need to be reminded: What radio did was bring music into people's homes for free, giving them a sample of what the musician had to offer, and encouraging album sales. The hope was that artists could offer sample images of their work online, and this exposure would lead to sales.

Unlike the music industry however, sales in art and craft aren't charted via tools like Billboards Top 20 (which is based on hard figures from album sales). So the direct connection between online exposure and eventual sales can't be measured.

But if you consider how often a potential customer or gallery owner asks you if they can view images of your work online, then you can begin to understand just how close to the mark Karen was almost 20 years ago.

Read the complete article ...

Artist Profile: Kate MacDowell, United States

 Submitted by: Maia Stark, Gallery Assistant

Kate MacDowell did not initially plan her life around being a craftsperson and artist. MacDowell began a career teaching in urban high schools, then created websites in a high tech corporate environment, and then, somewhat contrarily, went to India and volunteered at a rural meditation retreat— it was only when she returned to the United States in 2004 that she began to study ceramics, and only then as something to occupy herself until her “next step.” However, MacDowell quickly became engaged with the medium of clay (Wolfe, Interview with Kate MacDowell) and is now a recognized and established ceramicist and artist.

Canary, hand built porcelain, compact fluorescent lights, wiring, 2008

MacDowell has always had a fascination with nature and the human relationship to the natural world. She often draws and sculpts from scientific illustrations and photographs, always hand-sculpting her porcelain sculptures and only recently using molds to make a collection of similar works meant to be shown together. Her process is labor intensive: she often strays from her original design, changing the sculpture half way through and pushing her technique further with more detail and increasingly delicate parts (Wolfe, Interview with Kate MacDowell). 

The Craft Factor - Mel Bolen

Vol 26 No 2 Winter 2002

Currently at Affinity Gallery is Two Perspectives, an exhibition of work by ceramic artist Mel Bolen and painter Karen Holden. The exhibition is unique juxtaposition of sculpture and painting and an exploration of surface and texture in nature.

These are concepts Mel Bolen has been exploring for most of his craft career, which spans over 40 years. In 2002, artist Grant McConnell reviewed an exhibition by Bolen, "Salt of the Earth" at Darrell Bell Gallery. The review was accompanied by a first hand account of Bolen's process in creating his sculptural masterpieces.

Read the complete articles ...

Artist Profile - Laura Steadman

Submitted by: Sydney Luther, Gallery Assistant

Laura Steadman has been creating art for as long as she can remember. She says when she was young, she used to design and sew teddy bears. For now, she has decided to focus on jewellery making as her main artistic outlet. Laura’s jewellery company is called EllJay Design, and she designs and creates all of her jewellery pieces by hand.
Works in progress in Laura's studio
Laura, who was born and raised in Regina, works out of her home studio. She hand creates metal earrings, rings, and pendants, with which she often incorporates her handmade lampwork glass beads. She calls silver her first love, but also works with copper and titanium and hopes to move onto using gold in her jewelery soon. Although she focuses on jewellery, Laura also does crochet, Hardanger embroidery, cross stitch, petit point, and origami, to name a few.