The Craft Factor - Plundering Art

Volume 18, number 1, Winter 1993/Spring 1994 

Cultural appropriation is a term that has become more common in recent times. A growing awareness of what it means to "borrow" aspects of another culture, and the negative implications of this has led to an increased dialogue about this issue.

Cultural appropriation in art is a longstanding occurrence. Today we look at The Craft Factor from Winter 1993/Spring 1994 and a very interesting article by Allison Muri about appropriation in art.

Muri discusses the complexities surrounding appropriated art, from benign intentions to damaging results:

Reasons for cultural appropriation vary, and unfortunately in some cases it just comes down to money:

However, that is not always the case, but then the question becomes where to draw the line:

So, as Muri says, the question remains: what is the artist's responsibility?

Read the full article here

Lampwork Glass: Spotlight on Jolene Dusyk

Submitted by: Maia Stark, Gallery Assistant

“Lampworking” is a glasswork technique widely practiced in the production of beads, figurines, marbles, ornaments, scientific instruments, and more (wikipedia). As a method, lampwork requires using a flame to melt and form glass. While in the past artists used oil fueled lamps to heat the glass (hence the term “Lampwork”), modern day lampworkers typically use a torch connected to propane or natural gas ( Early lampworking was accomplished in the flame of an oil lamp, with the artist using tools and blowing air into the flame through a pipe in order to manipulate the stretch of flame (wikipedia).

Despite no longer using “lamps,” artists working in this technique continue to use the term in order to distinguish their work from glassblowing or other types of hot glass techniques. During the method of lampwork, a torch is safely secured to table or workbench, and it remains stationary while the artist moves the glass around the flame. This is done by slowly introducing the glass (in the shape of a rod or tube) into the flame. This must be done slowly, to prevent cracking from thermal shock. 

Jolene Dusyk demonstrates manipulating glass with the heat of a torch
A detail of a completed necklace with lampwork beads (Jolene Dusyk, SCC).
Once the glass is melted to a sufficient state, the artist forms the glass piece by using hand movements, blowing, and shaping with tools, such as a specially coated steel mandrel, in order to wind the molten glass around it. As a last action, the glass work is often annealed (heated to toughen the material) in a kiln to prevent cracking or shattering (wikipedia). This must be done carefully as well, however, as heating or cooling the glass too quickly causes the different layers of glass to expand or contract at different rates, causing cracking or breaking (howstuffworks).

Jolene Dusyk, a professional craftsperson with the Saskatchewan Craft Council, works with lampworking, specifically creating original and one-of-a-kind glass beads for her line of jewelry, JoJo Beads. Working in a variety of lush colours, Jolene “flame-softens glass rods, transforming the molten glass into one-of-a-kind beads. The beads are then designed into inspired pieces of jewelry” (JoJobeads). Dusyk’s vibrant pendants and bracelets are available for perusal in the SCC Boutique, and, for an extra sneak peak of Dusyk’s capacity for creativity and design, visit the gallery before April 12th to see her piece in our current exhibit, Wearable Art.

“Mable’s Equity” by Jolene Dusyk (SCC) 
Dusyk’s piece, “Mable’s Equity,” which won Best in Show at the Wearable Art Gala in October of 2013, incorporates Lampwork beads into a dress composed of chicken wire, twine, and other “pedestrian” materials. 
Wearable Art runs February 28th to April 12th, with a closing reception on Saturday April 12, 2-4PM. Also be sure to check out the Artists’ Talks on Saturday March 22nd at 2PM in the gallery!

The SCC gallery and boutique is located in the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s Affinity Gallery at 813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, SK.

Saskatchewan in Scottsdale

Saskatchewan comes to Scottsdale, Arizona this week, in the form of an art show and gallery. From March 10th-27th, the group exhibition Saskatchewan will be on display. 

The Saskatchewan Craft Council has had the opportunity to join in on this venture, headed up by SaskArt, alongside numerous Saskatchewan galleries; Art Placement, Assiniboia Gallery, Collector's Choice Gallery, Hand Wave Gallery, Mysteria Gallery, Rouge Gallery and Stall Gallery.

Stonehouse Bench by Michael Hosaluk, one of the artists represented in Scottsdale.
Photo by Vivian Orr
As stated in a press release by Art Placement, "The goal of the project is to increase the exposure of Saskatchewan's artists and craftspeople beyond the borders of our province. Scottsdale has a significant number of Canadian vacationers and retirees as well as a vibrant commercial gallery scene and a reputation for strongly supporting the arts."
Read the full piece here

The SCC is very excited to be part of this project - a great to chance to introduce work of Saskatchewan artists to the fine folks in Scottsdale!

Enamel Jewellery: Spotlight on Deborah Potter

Submitted by: Maia Stark, Gallery Assistant

Enamel application is a method of decoration which has been practiced since ancient times, across various cultures and geographies. Although the exact origins of this process are unknown, excavations on Cyprus in the 1950s found cloisonné enameled jewelry which date from the 13th and 11th century BC; as well, other techniques of enamel applications can reach back as far as the 5th century BC! (AJU)

Enamels have been applied to stone, pottery, jewelry, and other surfaces throughout Greece, Scotland, Ireland, Asia, and the Middle East (Wikipedia).  The process of enameling is, at its simplest, a decoration technique in which glass of a certain composition is fused to an underlying metal. This style of adorning jewelry, in particular, allowed for colour and vibrancy in jewelry without the use of gemstones—stones which were either inaccessible economically or geographically. While enameling jewelry may have begun or been popular as an alternative to gemstones, enamel in jewelry came into its own in Europe and North America during the Neo-renaissance and Art Nouveau periods (AJU). Some of the most beautiful and creative examples of enamel jewelry come from these periods.
Rene Lalique, Art Nouveau Plique-à-Jour Dragonfly Brooch, Lang Antiques.
Cloisonné enamel plaque, Byzantine Empire,
ca. 1100, 


Contemporary artists, however, work in a wider range of textures and design. Deborah Potter, a professional craftsperson with the SCC, creates one of kind pendants with enamel processes.
 Enamel pendant by Deborah Potter
The above image of a pendant made by Deborah Potter captures her organic use of texture, colour, and design. There are many various techniques of enameling, such as Cloisonné, Champlevé, Peinture sur émail, Émail en ronde bosse, Guilloché, and so on. These techniques can vary greatly or slightly from each other, though they all have the same basic steps in common.

Enamel, as a material in itself, is a type of allochromatic glass that consists usually of quartz sand, iron oxide, potassium oxide (potash) and borax (AJU). Melting these components together, firing at temperatures between 700 and 900 degrees Celsius, creates what is referred to as a “fondant,” or “flux:” a transparent and colourless (though slightly blue/green) glass. The addition of different metal oxides or chlorides establishes the variety of colour in the fondant, which is eventually applied onto a clean metal, typically gold, silver or copper alloys (AJU). After the fondant has dried, the piece needs to be fired again in a furnace or kiln. Placing the enamel piece back into the kiln or furnace helps the piece gain a vitreous lustre, a favoured characteristic of enamel work, though the artist could polish the piece by hand for a more controlled, flat look.

For an in-person look at Deborah Potter’s enamel jewelry, come by the SCC Fine Craft Boutique, located in the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s Affinity Gallery at 813 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon, SK.