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A celebration of Kootenay craft
By Demitri Lesniewicz, Theshini Naiker and Renate Fleming
The citizens of Rossland came out in full force last Friday night to the opening gala of the latest exhibit at the Rossland Art Gallery.
The exhibit is entitled “Materials, Processes and Objects—a Celebration of Kootenay Craft.” Featured are the works of over 20 Kootenay craftspeople.
The works that are shown run the full spectrum of craft making. precise woodwork and fine felted functional objects stand in contrast to coarser textures of knitted wool and more organically conceived sculptural wood works. Earthy pottery mingles with vibrant abstracted quilts, beautifully shaped glass and jewelry of exquisite detail.
This show is both a visual and tactile experience. There is something for everyone, Amongst all, one is rewarded with real finds of interest like that of a tablecloth crocheted from parachute silk during the war years.
All in attendance at this gala were treated to the ethereal sounds of Lois Allen on flute and Maureen Lewis on piano who played throughout the evening. Wine and cheese kept the celebration lively and the audience well fed.
In their welcome address, the show's curators—Renate Fleming and Theshini Naicker—explained the context leading up to the opening of the show. The Rossland Council for Arts and Culture (RCAC) put together the show in a response to the invitation of the Craft Council of B.C. to participate in the province-wide celebration of their 40th anniversary.
Besides the exhibit a variety of related events will take place in this community over the next two weeks.
Until Oct. 30 craft makers from Rossland will hold a variety of workshops on different crafting practices. Registration is through Rossland Recreation.
Two film nights featuring films on crafts from different cultures will be showing at 7 p.m. on Oct. 22 and Oct. 27 at the Miners’ Union Hall. Next Wednesday, Oct. 23 a panel discussion titled "Craft and its significance in the 21st Century” will be held at the Rossland Gallery at 7 p.m. Demonstrations on certain craft techniques will also be shown throughout the week at the Rossland Gallery.
The curators intent for "Materials, Processes and Objects " is to showcase some of the different dimensions of craft: the handing down of traditional techniques and materials; the use of traditional methods with innovative materials; moving beyond the boundaries of the traditional; individuals who try to make a living from their craft and those who do it just for the sheer pleasure of doing.
Their objective was to raise awareness about craft in our communities, to celebrate crafts as well as the craftsmen and women who make them and to be able to provide inspiration as well as an education to the general public.
One of their hopes is that these events will encourage the community to become more involved in participating and supporting craft.
An exhibition of this nature, as Theshini Naicker suggested, could gives all of us the opportunity to question the role of craft in our society.
How does craft fit in to this mechanized, digitized, virtual age? Why is it more popular to wear something with a corporate logo as opposed to something handmade? Is there a difference between art and craft?
These and many more topics they hope to address in their panel discussion, which will be facilitated by Almeda Glen Miller. Several craft makers and artists from Rossland and area will participate in the debate.
Everyone interested is invited to attend and engage in this what promises to be a lively and fascinating dialogue on craft. Attendance is free
This is a show worth seeing. The architectural setting in the spectacular gallery space of the historic bank of Montreal Building is a worthy backdrop for these exquisite works of craft. It is featured against the bright light and architectural detail of the beautiful exhibition space.
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