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.
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.