Wolfville, NS – WhichCraft? Harvest Gallery’s main gallery has been transformed (as if by magic) to feature the work 15 of Nova Scotia’s finest craftspeople including Marla Benton (ceramic); Terry Lee Bourgeois-King (ceramic); Berkeley Brown (jewelry); Holly Carr (silk painting); Ian Gilson (sculpture); Brad Hall (blacksmithing/sculpture); Ale
“Arts & Crafts”, we’ve all heard the vernacular. But what is it? What is Art and what is Craft? Why the distinction? In Medieval Europe, the concept of ‘artist’ hardly existed all. In workshops, apprentices and journeymen under the direction of a Master (whether stonemason, goldsmith or fresco painter), worked their way up the ranks over many years and well-defined stages of accomplishment. Then a book, published around 1550, by Giorgio Vasari entitled “The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects”, changed all of that – within a generation, painting, sculpture and architecture were elevated to Art and their makers to Artists. The rest were considered Artisans and their work decorative, and relegated to a minor or inferior status. With WhichCraft? we aim to turn that idea on its head. We’d rather cast off the ‘art’ and ‘craft’ labels as vague and embrace all of it as ‘visual art’ and the wider array of aesthetic production that encompasses.
Award-winning furniture designer and Master Artisan, Jonathan Otter has chosen WhichCraft? to unveil a chair nearly a year in designing, prototyping and making. This lounge chair represents a bold approach to studio furniture craft. Multiple design histories are evident in this piece of functional sculpture. Taking their cue from the whiplash curve of Art Nouveau, sensuous black walnut arms sweep down to tapered legs reminiscent of Danish modern simplicity. Ivory stockings on the feet pay homage to Art Deco opulence. A sleek seat shell, formed from carbon fiber in Jonathan’s own shop is covered with Italian leather and stitched by hand. The shaping and polishing of the wood is all done by hand and finished with pure oil and beeswax. The signature and date medallion is an ivory disk engraved with India ink in the scrimshaw tradition. This is but one example of many works in the show demonstrating the extraordinary talent and individual creativity of makers who challenge the limits of their chosen media.
WhichCraft? runs until November 19th. Don’t miss it.
462 Main St
Wolfville, Nova Scotia