Holy shit, y'all! The Craftpocalypse is here. There's nothing I like more than a good debate, and there's a doozy swirling around the craft world right now. It all started with a talk at the SNAG conference in Savannah with Andrew Wagner of American Craft Magazine and writer/artist Bruce Metcalf. Metcalf comes from an older generation of "studio craft artists" that has suddenly sat bolt-upright at the realization that there is a new generation of crafters taking over. A whole generation is busy convening conferences that try to get to the bottom of the alt-craft phenomenon.
Metcalf's comments at the conference, while not a blanket condemnation of alt-craft, is more of an achingly unhip attempt at defining it. just reading Annie from imogene.org's account of Metcalf's portion of the speech made me vaguely uncomfortable...sort of like when my parents (well my mother anyway) talks about sex. Andrew weighed in....then Bruce Metcalf weighed in...and before you could say "felted cat toys'', most of the luminaries of the alt-craft world weighed in too! Tsia Carson, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Faythe Levine and a bunch of other folks have been hashing out the argument.
So HAVE A LOOK at the discussion and weigh in. I've been subjected to Metcalf's rantings before, so I had to scratch at the old scabs he left me with at last year's NCECA conference. Speaking of which, I'm off to NCECA in Pittsburgh tomorrow! Why don't discussions like this happen at NCECA? Because people at NCECA are too busy sitting around bitching about the "art world" passing them by. If I have to hear one more panel where a bunch of otherwise interesting people sit around whining that there is no valid writing and criticism in the ceramic world, I'm gonna scream.
I've said it before....ceramic artists all want to exhibit their windchimes and travel mugs at the town gazebo craft fair, then cry foul that the Whitney isn't swooping down to give them a retrospective. There are plenty of great ceramic artists who are making a dent outside of ceramic circles, but the common denominator is that THEY'RE EXHIBITING OUTSIDE OF CERAMIC CIRCLES! So. If you see me at the bracing panel discussion on deflocculants or maple syrup raku firing, gimme a nudge and say hi. I'll have a new Extreme Craft sticker for you!