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"Mother of Pearl"
Lina Cutnam, "Mother of Pearl," 2013, mohair with mother-of-pearl buttons, dimensions variable.
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Leah Weinstein, "Spoon Dress," 2012, cotton twill, cotton voile and spoons, dimensions variable.
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Karin Jones, "Hair Brooches," 2012, synthetic hair extensions, sterling silver and nickel, gold-plated stainless-steel tubing, 1” and 2” diameter.
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"Grand-père la lune"
Kelly Backs and Harvey Sexsmith, "Grand-père la lune," 2013, forged and fabricated steel base with clockworks, 84” x 24” x 16”.
Circle Craft 40 Years and Beyond
Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver
Aug. 6 to Aug. 23, 2013
By Maureen Latta
This craft show features the work of 45 members of the Circle Craft Co-operative. A 40th anniversary milestone for the 170-member co-op, which operates a shop on Granville Island, it was organized by co-op manager Kathryn Youngs, who asked members to submit works that push the usual limits of the applied arts.
The Pendulum Gallery’s lack of traditional boundaries – it’s housed under the glass-covered atrium of the HSBC Building in a high-traffic area shared with a popular café – is echoed in the works, some of which confound in interesting ways the distinction between art and craft. For example, the textile section includes Lina Cutnam’s Mother of Pearl, a stunning mohair coat, and quality handcrafted cardigans and shawls. AtAt the opposite end of the spectrum, Leah Weinstein’s Spoon Dress is the very essence of non-functionality; quite literally made of spoons, the dress weighs too much to be apparel.
The works run a wide gamut. The aesthetic pleasures of well-crafted traditional materials such as wood, glass, fabric, clay and metal are found here, as are the clever transformations of non-traditional materials, such as Suzanne Nairne’s neckpiece of electrical wire and pencil shavings; Kaarina Talvila’s plastic totes made of cereal bags and bicycle inner tubes; and Karin Jones’ brooches woven from blond, red and black synthetic hair extensions sourced from African-Canadian salons. Some works, including those by Jones and Weinstein, address conceptual concerns such as racial or gender identity.
“I wanted to talk about how our artists are still innovating, that craft does push boundaries in terms of what people can think of as craft, that people aren’t just making coffee mugs and baskets,” says Youngs.
Woodworker Harvey Sexsmith says he pushed his boundaries by collaborating for the first time with blacksmith Kelly Backs on Grand-père la lune, a six-foot kinetic sculpture that is a functioning clock. Brian Hoyano’s sterling silver Lifeboat: Confluence marks his shift from functional jewelry to sculpture.
Youngs says the co-op’s members from across B.C. have a limited ability to show innovative work in the Granville Island store, which has a mandate to market only fine crafts that sell. “This exhibit gives our artists a chance to show what else they do besides their bread-and-butter craft. This is the work that informs their bread-and-butter craft and vice versa.”
The show also includes work by Wayne Harjula, Miyuki Shinkai, Neno Catania, Vesna Yankovitch, Debra Sloan, Judy Burke, Kaija Rautiainen and Dominique Brechault.