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