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.