HANDCRAFT: National Gallery Showcasing Canadian Made Arts & Crafts At Symposium
by John Burrows | In the current economy, there’s no shortage south of the border for products that are “American Made”. There have been concentrated media efforts to support local manufacturing, initiatives from large brands like Martha Stewart, Jeep and Levis, lots of Kickstarter funding for the American Craftsmanship Project, and a host of websites devoted to makers (The Makers Project, Sight Unseen, Grain and Gram). Many in the USA have been seeking to discover, expose and enrich this renaissance, and they’ve been succeeding.
But where’s the call for things that are “Canadian Made”? Is is that our economy wasn’t hit hard enough to stir patriotic expenditure? The answer is not that we have a shortage of homespun innovation – as the Canadian Made clip so animatedly points out above. Maker’s fairs and farmer’s markets around the city keep the local right in front of our faces. Somehow missing is a recognition of current craft at the national level, and so we go to the Canadian Crafts Federation, an organization with a long history. The first line on their website’s homepage recognizes and reinforces my point - “How often do four of Canada’s best get the chance to discuss their work and share thoughts on the past, present and future of Contemporary Craft?” The answer, the site goes on to reveal, is once a year, starting this week in Ottawa.
The first annual Hindsight/Foresight symposium takes place at the National Gallery of Canada tomorrow night and those in attendance have been told to expect “beautiful craftsmanship, inspiring artwork, heated debate and of course, audience participation”. The only trouble is that Ottawa is awfully far away. If this craftsmanship renaissance is to be truly national, perhaps a similar symposium should be launched closer to home. How about next year? Short of that, Hindsight/Foresight could (should) go one the road.
John is a web entrepreneur and writer who curates the online shop at Wood Design. He is passionate about materials and is always seeking out the craftsmanship that surrounds us, appreciating it as the antidote to a generation that has lost touch with its industrial roots and the motivation to perform a task well for its own sake.