The Jury's Out - Round Table Discussion

Submitted by: Leslie Potter, Exhibitions and Education Coordinator

Meeting in the middle of the many and varied pieces from the exhibition, "The Jury's Out", we held our final discussion (round table style) on the jurying process. This was a continuation from the panel discussion held previously and consisted of a small, but vigorous group of makers. Discussion branched out from what was talked about at the previous panel.  Questions about the different kinds of jurying were fielded. For example, jurying for Dimensions focuses on putting an exhibition together from all the works submitted, while jurying for markets focuses on a single maker and what they create. Clearly these have different intents. As well, we talked about the differences between curating and jurying. Curating an exhibition for a venue like Affinity Gallery can often be thematic or medium-based and does not consider whether one piece is "better" or "more successful" than another.

Ceramic artist Bonnie Gilmour poses questions to SCC Exhibition Coordinators Leslie Potter & Stephanie Canning,
and one of this years Dimensions jurors, Michael Hosaluk

One part of the discussion dealt with how we can improve an exhibition such as Dimensions. Questions such as, "how are jurors chosen" and "what constitutes new work" were posed. As well, there was a discussion on why some makers choose not to enter Dimensions.

The Craft Factor - Saskatchewan Arts Board Part 1

Vol 13, No 3, Fall 1988

The Saskatchewan Arts Board is celebrating the organizations 65th Anniversary in 2013. Support from the SAB was fundamental in the creation of the Saskatchewan Craft Council, in helping the SCC secure funding in the early days and continuing to support funding for the SCC, and in recognizing craft as an art form.

Long before the SCC was officially ratified in 1975, the Handicraft Committee of the Saskatchewan Arts Board had been organizing craft markets, juried touring exhibitions, workshops and artists in residence programs.

In the Fall of 1988, the late Jane Turnbull Evans submitted Part 1 of a 3 part series in The Craft Factor "Championing the Crafts: The Role of the Saskatchewan Arts Board in The Development of Crafts - The First Ten Years"

Excerpt from Part 1 of "Championing the Crafts" Vol 13, No 3 - Fall 1988
Read the full article ...

Upcoming related posts:

Championing the Crafts Part 2 (June 5, 2013)
Championing the Crafts Part 3 (June 12, 2013)

Cathedral Village Arts Festival 2013

Submitted by: Amanda Bosiak, Member Services

One of the best arts related highlights each spring in Regina is the CathedralVillage Arts Festival. It takes place the week following the May long weekend annually, and includes various musical, film and theatrical performances throughout the week, and culminates in the CVAF Street Fair.

The CVAF Street Fair is HUGE. It may be one of the largest in Canada. This year, the CVAF extended a full 16 blocks along 13th Avenue (Between Angus & Elphinstone) as well as along roughly half a dozen side streets. I was at the festival with the SCC Information booth and was only able to take in 5 or 6 blocks during my breaks. Not only was there so much to see – between craft and art, food and info booths as well as buskers and other performances, and activities for adults and children – it was CROWDED. I can’t even hazard a guess as to how many people went through but it was probably close to 10,000 or more. We certainly had plenty of people stop by the SCC booth to say hello! (My voice was pretty croaky the next day from all the chatting.) The people watching was also pretty incredible.

Writing a Craft Business Plan

Submitted by: Vivian Orr, Communications & Publications Coordinator

“To be prepared is half the victory.”

Let's face it - professional craftspeople are small business entrepreneurs. To make a living creating fine craft the products have to generate income. To do this efficiently, effectively and economically you need to be prepared – you need a business plan.

Don't let your eyes glaze over or start tensing your shoulders up to your ears. I do not advocate creating 3-inch thick business plans document (unless you are approaching a bank for a major financial investment/loan).

What I suggest is do the planning you need to run your craft business better. Planning is a powerful tool for driving your business. A road map that keeps you going in the right direction towards your goal but is flexible enough that you can explore opportunities that may appear along the way.

 "…plans are useless, but planning is indispensable"

Questions to answer for yourself:

1) Who you are. Do you identify yourself as a ceramic artist, a blacksmith, a jeweller, a fibre artist? What do you do well, differently, better? What do you like to do? What do you want to do? What sets you apart from the crowd? Think about the other side of the coin: who you are not, what you do not do well, what you do not want to do.

2) Whom you reach. Who is your target market? Can you refine your target so you can answer: how is your target different from the rest? Again think about the flip side: whom do you not reach and why? Do not try to be all things for all people.

3) What you do for your target market. Put yourself in your clients' shoes and answer the age old customer question: what's in it for me? This question is not about you as the artist, crafts person, creator - it is all about the people who purchase your pieces with their hard earned dollars.

Now that you have given some thought to: what, why, how and who? You need to deal with: how much... How much capital do you need? What is your budget and cash flow? Learn the math involved in setting a price. Consider attending a SCC Pricing your Craft workshop.

Did this wet your appetite for business planning? Then explore some of these links:

The Craft Factor - Member Participation Urged at AGM

Vol 10 No 2, Summer 1985

The 2013 AGM for the Saskatchewan Craft Council takes place this Saturday, May 25th at The Neil Balkwill Centre in Regina, with pizza at 5:30pm and the AGM beginning at 6:30pm. In addition to the presentation of reports and financial statements, new board members are also voted in to fill vacant positions ... if quorum (a minimum of 25 voting members) is reached. In the 1985 Craft Factor, SCC member Joan Flood summed up the issue of attendance at the AGM (with no small amount of grace):

Excerpt from "Member Participation Urged at AGM"
Please join us at this year's AGM - in addition to the business of the AGM and voting, the event gives members the chance to meet and chat with the SCC board and staff face-to-face, rather than via email or over the telephone. We certainly relish that chance, which is all too infrequent.

See you at the AGM!

Yarn-Bombing: Craftivism and Urban Aesthetic

Submitted by: Maia Stark, Gallery Assistant

“Yarn-bombing” goes by many different names: “guerilla knitting,” “yarn-storming,” “urban knitting,” and even “grandmotherly graffiti,” just to name a few. What these various names have in common is the particular presentation of a particular medium: that of knitted or crocheted pieces left it in public spaces. These works are often wrapped around static objects, such as trees, fire hydrants, phone booths, poles, fences, and more.
Many yarn bombers play on the idea of making “cozies” for unconventional objects: for example, pictured above, a bicycle wrapped in a cozy by recognized fibre artist Agata Oleksiak.
Yarn-bombing has become a dynamic and acknowledged form of public art over the last ten years, as “bombed” spaces from all over the world gain attention in the media. The roots of this movement can be tied to “craftivism,” a term coined to signify the merging of crafting with activism: “craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite.” (Betsy Greer,  qtd. By Wallace, Yarn Bombing, Knit Graffiti, and Underground Brigades). Early craftivists include artists such as Judy Chicago and Joyce Wieland in the 1970’s and 80’s. Craft as a subversive form was used by such artists as a method of feminist expression and as a critique of the male-dominated art world (Wallace, Yarn Bombing…). Current public art which incorporates craft owes its legacy to early craftivism, though of course yarn-bombing or other types of public craft need not necessarily work under their predecessor’s political motivations. Yarn-bombing can simply work under the desire to bring beauty into a public space.

2013 marks the 30th anniversary of DIMENSIONS!

Submitted by: Stephanie Canning, Exhibitions and Education Coordinator

While pursuing some past DIMENSIONS catalogues, I came across a list of all the past jurors up to 2001. I have updated the list and shared it with you here. It is interesting to note that for many years DIMENSIONS had 3 jurors, many of which were not craftspeople, but instructors, curators and arts administrators. In 1993 Dimensions had 1 juror and every year since has been juried by 2 craftspeople – 1 local and 1 out-of-province. The SCC Exhibition & Education Coordinators are responsible for inviting craftspeople to jury Dimensions. Taking into consideration the jurors expertise and looking for jurors that will complement each other.

DIMENSIONS came into being when Alex Dillabough, Mayor of Battleford, lobbied the Government of Saskatchewan for some promotional assistance linking craft and the tourism industry. Exhibitions were organized by the Saskatchewan Department of Industry and Commerce in 1974 and 1975 in conjunction with the Handcraft Festival. The newly formed Saskatchewan Craft Council (SCC) provided a jury in 1976, and the first Premier’s Prize was awarded in 1977.

Who would you like to see as a DIMENSIONS juror?

1974 –   Victor Cicansky, ceramic artist, Regina, SK.
1975 - Cathryn Miller, Saskatoon, Franklin Heisler, ceramic artist and instructor, U of R, Louise Walters, painter, Saskatoon
1976 –   Kaija Sanelma Harris, weaver, Saskatoon, SK; Wayne Morgan, curator, Regina, SK; Marline Zora, ceramic artist, Saskatoon, SK. (First adjudicators provided by the SCC).
1977 –   Gary Essar, quilter/curator, Regina, SK; Mel Bolen, ceramic artist, Humboldt, SK; Elly Danica, weaver, Marquis, SK. (first Premier’s Prize presented)
1978 –   Franklyn Heisler, wood sculptor, Saskatoon, SK; Ric Gomez, sculptor, Regina, SK; Annemarie Buchmann – Gerber, mixed media/fibre artist, Prince Albert, SK.
1979 –   Paul Lapointe, wood sculptor, Saskatoon, SK; Ric Gomez, sculptor, Regina, SK; Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber, mixed media/fibre artist, Prince Albert, SK.
1980 –   Victor Cicansky, ceramic artist, Craven, SK; Carol A. Phillips, curator, Regina, SK; Lorna Cutting, visual artist, Saskatoon, SK.
1981 –   Robert Billyard, ceramic artist, Saskatoon, SK; Nancy Vivian, weaver, Vancouver, BC; Doris          Larsen, visual artist, Saskatoon, SK.
1982  –  George Glenn, painter, Prince Albert, SK; Adrienne van Riemsdijk, jeweller and metalsmith,      Winnipeg, MB; Jack Sures, ceramic artist, Regina, SK. (juried exhibition named Dimensions)
1983 –   Randy Woolsey, ceramic artist, Ruddell, SK; George Fry, crafts instructor, Frederiction, NB; Jane Turnbull Evans, curator, Regina, SK.
1984 –   Deborah Forbes, weaver, Medicine Hat, AB; Donal McKinely, furniture designer, Mississauga, ON; Linda Milrod, curator, Saskatoon, SK.
1985 –   Les Manning, ceramic artist, Banff, AB; Don Stuart, metalsmith, Barrie, ON; Peter White,              curator, Regina, SK.
1986 –   Judith MacKenzie, textile designer, Nanaimo, BC; Patrick Close, mixed media, Regina, SK;
George Glenn, painter, Prince Albert, SK.
1987 –   Karen Cantine, metalsmith, Edmonton, AB; Matthew Teitelbaum, curator, Saskatoon, SK; James Thornsbury, ceramic artist, Vancouver, BC.
1988 –   Elizabeth Kirby, weaver, Ottawa, ON; Sandor Nagyszalanczy, editor, USA; Gisele Amantea, visual artist, Regina, SK.
1989 –   Clyde Jones, woodworder, Mendocino, CA; Diane Mortensen, weaver, Vancouver, BC; Frances Burke, ceramic artist, Edmonton, AB.
1990 –   Lois Etherington Betterridge, silversmith/goldsmith, Guelph, ON; Sam Carter, artist/educator, Vancouver, BC; Robert Jekyll, stained glass artist, Toronto, ON.
1991 –   Marilyn Stothers, quilter, Winnipeg, MB; Donovan Chester, painter/potter, Regina, SK; Bruce    Grenville, curator, Saskatoon, SK.
1992 –   Sharon Alderman, weaver, Salt Lake City, UT; Dee Fontans, jeweller, Calgary, AB; Robert Held, glass artist, Vancouver, BC.
1993 –   Stan Taniwa, ceramic artist, Eden, MB.
1994 –   Lou Lynn, glass artist, Winlaw, BC; Michael Hosaluk, woodworker/educator, Saskatoon, SK.
1995 –   Sandra Flood, craft historian, Saskatoon, SK; Lloyd E. Herman, curator, Seattle, WA.
1996 –   Kaija Rautiainen, textile artist, Vancouver, BC; Jordan Van Sewell, ceramic artist, Winnipeg, MB.
1997 –   Marigold Cribb, object maker, Saskatoon, SK; Michael Grace, furniture designer, Nelson, BC.
1998 –   Dawn MacNutt, weaver, sculptor, Dartmouth, NS; Lee Brady, glass artist, Saskatoon, SK
1999 –   Paul Leathers, jeweller, Nelson, BC; Charley Farrero, ceramic artist, Meacham, SK.
2000 –   Susan Warner Keene, paper/textile artist, Toronto, ON; Megan Courtney Broner, goldsmith,     Saskatoon, SK.
2001 –   Pat Adams, weaver/felter, Wakaw, SK; Gord Peteran, furniture maker, Toronto, ON.
2002 –   John Chalke, clay artist/instructor, Calgary, AB; Don Kondra, furniture designer/craftsman,
Saskatoon, SK.
2003 –   John Little, blacksmith, East Dover, NS; Wendy Parsons, clay artist/instructor, Moose Jaw, SK.
2004 –   Doug Taylor, mixed media artist, Livelong, SK; Patricia McClelland, weaver/educator,    Dartmouth, NS.
2005 –   Brian Gladwell, woodworker, Regina, SK; Ron Kong, curator, Vancouver, BC.
2006 –   Anita Rocamora, ceramic artist, Meacham, SK.
2007 –   Karen Schoonover, curator, Regina, SK; Paul Sasso, woodworker/educator, Kentucky, USA.
2008 –   Jamie Russell, woodworker, Vanscoy, SK; Sandra Alfoldy, professor – craft history, Halifax, NS.
2009 –   Mel Bolen, ceramic artist, Humboldt, SK; Chantel Gilbert, metalsmith, Montreal, QC.
2011 ­–   Paul Lapointe, wood worker/printmaker/painter, Batoche, SK; Jane Kenyon, textile artist, West Vancouver, BC.
2013 –   Michael Hosaluk, woodworker/educator, Saskatoon, SK; Susan Rankin, glass artist, Apsley, ON.

The Craft Factor - SCC Adopts Sale Standards

TCF Vol 3 No 2, May 1978 and TCF Vol 3 No 3, August 1978

This week we take a look back at the birth of the Saskatchewan Craft Council jury standards. The standards and criteria where introduced primarily as a way to ensure the quality and originality of work offered for sale at all SCC organized craft sales. That remains the case today: Juried status (aka Marketing status) with the SCC is for the purpose of selling work at SCC sales, namely: WaterFront, Saskatchewan Handcraft Festival and WinterGreen.

Excerpt from "SCC Adopts Sale Standards"
Vol 3 No 2, May 1978

Accepting Credit Cards at Craft Markets

Submitted by: Amanda Bosiak, Member Services

Do you accept credit cards at craft markets?

If not, I strongly recommend that you reconsider. The many benefits to you and most importantly, for your customer, far outweigh the few negatives. Those negatives are: 1) credit card fees 2) initial investment in hardware to accept payments.

So let’s put credit card fees in perspective. Say you have a $500 item for sale and you have a very interested buyer. This person doesn’t have $500 cash on them, they don’t carry cheques, but are willing to pay by credit which you don’t accept. You take their contact info and discuss getting in touch after the market. They thank you and move on ... and when you call them a week later they say, “Thanks for getting in touch with me but I found something else at the market and that person took credit. Sorry, I spent my money with them.”

If you accepted credit, you would have lost around 3% of the sale in credit card fees. But you don’t accept credit, so you lost the whole sale.

The other problem can be investment in hardware. The big news: unless you also want to accept debit cards, you don’t need to buy/lease a card machine from companies such as Moneris. However, if you already own a smart phone your start up cost is a whopping $0 as most credit card payment apps will provide you with the app and card reader for FREE.

If you don’t own a smart phone, it is worth looking into. You can phone, text, check email and do other business related tasks on a smart phone or tablet while you are on the road or at markets.

Worried about adding another thing to your already busy schedule? Never be afraid to learn something new every day. It will take much less time than you think.

The Jury's Out Panel Discussion

Submitted by: Amanda Bosiak, Member Services

Last night, four former Dimensions Jurors gathered at Affinity Gallery to discuss the merits of jurying, critique sessions and subjectivity.

L-R: Former Dimensions jurors, Megan Broner, Michael Hosaluk, Anita Rocamora, Don Kondra
SCC Exhibitions Coordinators, Leslie Potter, Stephanie Canning

The panel consisted of:

Megan Broner, jeweller - Dimensions juror in 2000 with Susan Warner Keene, a paper/textile artist from Toronto
Michael Hosaluk, wood worker - Dimensions juror in 1994 with Lou Lynn, a glass artist from Winlaw, BC and this year with Susan Rankin, a glass artist formerly from Saskatchewan now based in Apsley, ON
Anita Rocamora, clay artist and sculptor - Dimension juror in 2006 on her own
Don Kondra, wood artist - Dimensions juror in 2002 with John Chalke, clay artist and instructor from Calgary

Each member of the panel was very candid about and shared their experiences acting as Dimensions jurors.

The Craft Factor: Vol 1 Issue 1 - Founding Members

Published the fall of 1974, The Craft Factor was a newsletter simply titled, "The Saskatchewan Craft Council Is" and contained reports from the founding conference, a craft quiz, a list of craft outlets and supplies as well as a recipe section.

Most noteably, the inaugural issue of what would become a defining publication for the SCC contained the list of the first paid members of the SCC!

For the complete article ...

THE JURY’S OUT Curatorial Statement

Submitted by: Stephanie Canning & Leslie Potter
SCC Exhibitions & Education Coordinators

This year we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Dimensions.  To promote this milestone we are presenting, for the first time, an exhibition of works submitted for Dimensions jurying, entitled The Jury’s Out.

Dimensions is selected by curators and craftspeople with jurying experience, who are masters in their own discipline, and who are also well versed in various mediums.  The Saskatchewan Craft Council (SCC) selects one juror from the province and one juror from outside the province and charges the jury to select 35 of the best pieces submitted.  The result has always been a spectacular exhibition representing Fine Craft from Saskatchewan.

Jurying is about the process of ‘seeing’, and jurors have this expertise because they have honed and exercised this ability.  But what really happens within the jurying process?  What sorts of discussions take place?  How are the final decisions made?

While this exhibition is in the gallery we have set up events to discuss how jurors make decisions.  Hopefully this will enable SCC members, the arts and craft community and the public to better understand this delicate process.

The Jury’s Out at Affinity Gallery (813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon)
Gallery hours:  Mon – Sat 10am-5pm (extended hours Thurs nights until 8pm)
May 03 to June 16, 2013
Panel & Discussion: Wednesday, May 08, from 7:00 - 9:00pm
Round Table Discussion: Sunday, May 26, from 2:00 - 4:00pm
Closing Reception: Sunday, June 16, from 3:00 - 5:00pm

For Interactive 360 Panoramic View visit and

Choose Your Own Dimensions

Submitted by: Amanda Bosiak, SCC Member Services

My favorite part of Dimensions is seeing all the entries laid out before the jurying begins. It is amazing, beautiful and entirely overwhelming. As you may know, the jurors carried the responsibility of choosing only 35 works out of all those submitted. This year there were exactly 202 pieces entered for the jurors’ consideration. I kept this in mind as I did my first loop around the room and found myself feeling rather sorry for them. Not just because there were so many entries – mostly because so many of the entries were so incredibly exquisite. How, I thought, would they manage to whittle their selection down to only 35?

Dimensions Jurors Michael Hosaluk and Susan Rankin at the Public Critique in April

We know that they did, and Dimensions 2013 will open at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saturday, May 4th and exhibit until August 25th, before the show begins touring across Saskatchewan and Canada.

Talking Craft Official Launch

Submitted by: Amanda Bosiak, Member Services

In a typical work day at the Saskatchewan Craft Council, I talk to half a dozen SCC members on the phone and correspond via email with a dozen more ... and that’s on a slow day. As the Member Services coordinator, without even leaving my desk I tend to feel pretty connected to the membership and to what is happening, not just with our members, but with craft in Saskatchewan.
Realistically however, I know I only hear a fraction of what is going on in the wider Saskatchewan craft community. Because the Saskatchewan craft community is HUGE.

Google Map representation of SCC Membership distribution in Saskatchewan and the Prairies

The SCC boasts a membership of over 400, well over half of which are Professional Craftpersons (they actively make a living from the production and sale/commission/exhibition of craft). Among those 400+ members, are craftspeople in various stages of their career, from emerging artists to those very near retirement, as well as skilled part-time craft artists, craft guilds and patrons. The SCC was built by members, and is close to celebrating 40 years because over 400 members are working toward, supporting, and celebrating Excellence in Craft in Saskatchewan. That is pretty amazing.

Yet nearly every day, I hear about someone in Saskatchewan making craft that is not a member. I hear about them through social media, attending craft shows and word of mouth. I can’t possibly put a number on how many people in this province outside of the SCC membership are craft artists, but in my wildest dreams* it’s a mighty big number.

So what does all this have to do with this blog, Talking Craft? It all comes down to communication, and the fact that no matter how good you are at something, there is always room for improvement. Communication works best when there are several tools for it to work both ways. The SCC staff, our board of directors, our members – we all do our best to be a part of the Saskatchewan craft community, and to be people the craft community can come to with questions, concerns, suggestions and more. So in the interest of doing our best to be connected to and representative of craft in Saskatchewan, we bring you Talking Craft.

We want this blog to belong to you – SCC members, and everyone in Saskatchewan involved in craft. Through Talking Craft, we will give you an inside view of goings on at the SCC, and we hope to provide you with useful and relevant information about this wonderful thing we all do; craft. More importantly, we want to hear what you think. We welcome your comments, but we also encourage you to contribute in the form or articles, reviews and letters.

 Let’s get talking!

*World domination through craft!