As craftiness gains more and more mainstream acceptance, working its way further into graphic design, architecture, and fashion, the debate of what, exactly, is craft heats up. Earlier this year knitting needles and crochet hooks rattled at the SNAG conference when Andrew Wagner and jewelry artist and educator Bruce Metalf presented "D.I.Y, Websites, and Energy: The New Alternative Craft." Apparently Bruce, representing old-school art craft, sent currents through the crowd with a comments about quality and training among alt crafters. Catch the blow by blow on Imogene's blog.
Jump to last month, Andrew invited Bruce and Chanel Kennebrew of Junkprints to face the issues at hand in a panel discussion that is part of American Craft's Summer in the City Salon Series. I was there, as was Amy of Greenjeans, who reported on the event. The debate was quite genteel, with upstart Chanel and curmudgeonly Bruce finding that for all their differences in process and market, at heart there is overwhelming similarity in their motivations.
At one point Chanel challenged Bruce to do something with the waste he generates in his jewelry making process. An email list later, and I'd signed up to receive a Bruce scrap. So did Amy. A week or two ago a small package arrived with a tiny wood pediment tucked inside.
How'd he know I have a love for mini-architecture? Ms. Greenjeans, a handcrafter, received a hand. Many thanks and many props to Bruce for following up on his challenge and for apparently researching the recipients. Either that or ti was just good luck.
A podcast of the event is here.