January 9, 2008

Quality

As we have just finished up quite a few Fine Craft shows, and are looking forward to the upcoming ones, for us beginning in March, I have noticed a disappointing trend in the wearables being shown, which is the field we are in, but I have a feeling it crosses all media.

Not only is there a lack of innovativeness and craftsmanship in some of the work, there is derivative work, out and out knock offs (this isn't supposed to be 7th avenue!) being accepted into the shows. By and large, this is not the case, but when exhibits like this enter the field it drags all off us down, and I think it is a disservice to to public who believe they are coming to see the best in the field of craft.

As all the shows we exhibit in are supposed to be top of the line, cream of the craft, the best hand made work in the country, how is it that the juries and show promoters are letting this work slip by, not demanding, or attracting the best to their shows. Are the jurors knowledgeable in the field? Are the promoters knowledgeable of the jurors they pick?

We try to be quietly proud of our work, keep our integrity,  and hope it speaks for itself, in design as well as execution of our shearling coats.  But when I see artists trying to pass off as their creations, work without any technique involved whatsoever, or their hands even touching the piece except to write the sales slip, getting awards, and into shows that we cannot, it is time to be verbal.  (One artist even boasts on her website that she uses three different factories to make her work and shows photos of the contractors! Where is the handmade in that!)  ( Another that has gotten in to all the top shows recently does nothing more than cut holes in fabric, and her trendy display apparently has blinded everyone to the fact that there is no manipulation to the material at all, and the "idea" of what she is doing is not hers, it was published in a book years ago.)

In Japan true craftsmen are considered National Treasures and revered by society. Seeing this trend in this country has truly made us disappointed in our careers as craftsmen/tailors/makers. 

And the icing on the cake is that the awe/fear of the Etsy movement by the fine craft show promoters, some of whom are taking them into their shows, is diluting the meaning of "craft" further. 

When are the shows going to decide what they are going to be? What do they consider their responsibility to their exhibitors?
Are they taking it as seriously as we, the makers are? 
How can we make a living if spots are being taken by these imposters?

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