i have spent the last week reading several posts by artists who have had bad experiences at both baltimore and snag in the last few weeks. the general consensus is that many of the "established" crafters ( can we define that term, please?)and several metal smiths with a butt-load of formal training have been griping about the alt-craft movement, most specifically the new wave market at the acc show in baltimore.
to read more about these experience by the artists who were there check out the following links:
annie of imogene
i know there are more, but i have been reading so many of them this week, i am starting to loose count ( and maybe even be getting a little confused as to who said what). i fired off a message to margaux lange of midge's mind just a few minutes ago and am seriously sitting here hoping i did not come across like a deranged groupy psychopath.
it's just that the craft movement is very important to me. i may have spent the last few years wallowing in my own self-pity over some of the stupid-ass decisions i have made in my life, but i have finally come to terms with the fact that art is all i know! i tried to study sociology ( effing statistics), anthropology, criminology---any 'ology would do. none of it made me as happy as sitting down and MAKING SOMETHING WITH MY OWN TWO LITTLE HANDS.
but, i didn't like my art courses either ( with the exception of water color and printmaking) because my professors were THE ESTABLISHMENT and they weren't as open minded as i thought, in my infinite 20-something wisdom that art professors should be. i left the art department because i felt that i was being told that if my work was not political, then it wasn't any good. it was many, many years later that i finally figured out i could make pretty (good) art and not be angst ridden, unhappy, or politically minded. that was a good day, let me tell you.
but, i digress.
the thing i wanted to say is this... it appears that a lot of the "established", "old guard" crafters are threatened by the new alt- craft movement. i have heard some of these rumblings with my own ears, but mostly i have been reading about them. it appears that they see these new vendors as diminishing their sales. well, if most of the country falls into my tax bracket, i can see why. i can't afford to buy most of the "established" craft that i actually do like. will you ever see a todd reed ring on my finger? no. not unless i win the lottery. his work is amazing and original, but way too rich for my blood. but, thanks to sights like etsy and trunk.org i have been able to find good, affordable craft. it's awesome!!!! these are my people!!!!
and another thing that bothers me about all the grumblings and bad-mojo drifting from the establishment is this... have these people forgotten what it was like to start something new? most of them are the people who started the crafts revolution in the '60's. have they forgotten what it was like to do their first shows? to be part of something new? evidently.
now, i know there are plenty of established crafters who are embracing the emerging alt- craft culture and i applaud them for it!!! you guys are our muses. the people we look to when we think " i can't do this". so thank you.
and to all the crafters, artists, friends and family of crafters and artists, collectors, gallery owners, and the beautiful man who puts up with my artsy temperament and ways.... thank you for making this a beautiful world where art is not lost. and we artists can be who we are.
i am still trying to figure out where i fit in to all of this - my own work is a bit pricey for most people my age. i do consider myself an alt- crafter, though. i have no formal training apart from above mentioned art classes. i don't follow the established rules for getting my work out there. and i am trying to figure out how to market myself. i know i have a long way to go, but i do feel there is a revolution taking place and i dearly want to be a part of it.