Where do we start when talking about craft: with the object, with the maker, with the function, with the beauty? In this issue, these tempting starting-points are taken in different ways. As always, what we relish as we assemble the articles is rediscovering the variety of identities, perspectives and approaches that exist in Canadian Craft. It is these positively crossed purposes that make craft and design political and personal, advancing and preserving, functional and transcendent.
From the moment the maker takes up an idea and looks to a material all the way to being long-finished and having retrospective exhibitions, craft and design embodies something of intangible history in its work, something of character in context. This is the functioning identity of craft. Jack Sures is our 2018 Bronfman winner and the voice of the earth of the prairies couldn't have a more articulate expression. Hut then the boat building traditions of the north speak their own history, a series of traditions nearly lost but being recovered now, and preserved. Craft also serves an urgent social role as Mia Hunt tells us of a ceramic studio for marginalized women that brings empowerment by harnessing craft's unique strengths. Sarah Swan takes a wide-angled look at how to present this shifting intangibility in the gallery space, while the Did You Know? essay questions modernity’s relationship to these tectonic plates of social history.
In amongst all this, we are excited to showcase the work of three writers who attended Studio's successful inaugural writers' residency last September. For 10 days the talked and worked and wrote, meeting some of craft's interesting characters and thinking through some of the making's best questions. We hope to present more work from the residents in subsequent issues.
Craft and design, as we see it, is certainly about making but it is the talking about making that is the functions of these pates. Functional and abstract - it is our collective identity to make better.
We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada; the Canada Council for the Arts; and the Ontario Arts Council.
What are we making? That is a question we are always asking ourselves here at Studio. Making a magazine is an unfolding process and each issue invites us to pose the question and respond to the ideas that result.
First, we recently decided that we needed to make some changes. The Slice section had run its course. The internet is the place for topical news and announcements. When there is something to celebrate or announce, we should be doing it immediately not gathering it 6 months ahead of press-time to let it get stale in paper pages. So you will see all of what would have been Slice on Studiomagazine.ca from now on.
We will not make stale pages, we decided. Our questions are now and in the making. So we’ve brought in some outside voices in a new section called Atelier – voices from history, from literature and from thinkers related and not related to craft and design. We’ve also decided to give a few pages in each issue to craft and design work being made around the world because Canada thrives when taken in the context of our whole, boundary-less world. This issue sees America and Britain featured – that’s because our ties with the American Craft Council and the Crafts Council (UK) are our closest international cousins. In future issues we’ll be presenting as broad coverage as possible – Canadian making deserves to be seen in the whole picture. Suggestions are very welcome.
So what are you making? And for that matter, what does making mean to you? Or to turn that question around slightly: what are we trying to make making mean?
As we starting thinking about this issue, we realized that we’re all using this word ‘make’ as if it’s already part of ‘craft’ or ‘design’ or ‘art materialization’. Why ‘making’? Is the ‘maker’ movement democratic and open, or is it strategic marketing? What does “I am a maker” mean? Making is something that human beings have done since our earliest beginnings – imbuing material (matter) with something more, transforming material from one configuration into another, into a thing. Things: useful, pleasant, necessary, fanciful. In its beauty and utility, making can be something to aspire to, something to think about, something to embody some other idea, or something to pay the rent. Craft and design is many things – it is making something. What are we making? And why?
Leopold Kowolik and Gord Thompson
Under the Radar
Introducing Lydia Buxton
Six makers discuss making – what does the word mean anyway?
Did You Know?
Michael Prokopow considers cultural appropriation
Review: Sarah Hall
Peter O’Brien reviews a new installation at Greenwood College School
Ray Cronin reviews an exhibition in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia
Review: Now I Sit me Down
Peter Fleming reviews the latest Witold Rybczynski book
We play the game with Kami Goetz
The Meeting of Matter and Meaning
Materials can have conceptual value that is absolutely physical. Mireille Peron explains.
The Whole Story
Koen Vanderstukken’s new book might be the last word on glass history. Kathy Kranias discusses Glass: Virtual, Real with him.
Digital Citizens Change Making
Erin Klassen responds to one of our Did You Know? articles.
The Marvellous Glassmaking Life of Elmer John Hookway
Heather Read takes us from the circus to insulin through a remarkable piece of Canadian history.
Hope and Survival
The December 1917 Halifax explosion is being commemorated. Grace Butland introduces the quilt project.
A small Toronto start-up is taking part in shaping the virtual world. We met up with Quantum Capture and had a chat.