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you've got to be kidding!

updated sat 28 nov 98


Gayle Bair on tue 24 nov 98

Hi Clayarters,
I had an interesting experience last week at a small town
local art association show in the local recreation center. I joined this
art association knowing I would be a "minority" as there was
perhaps one other potter in the group.
I have done several of their shows but the most recent one was a
testament to the absurdity of the Crafts Vs Art ad naseaum debate.
As I waited in line to register the person before me received a card
to place on her work for the judging. When my turn came to register
I was not give a card. When asked the person running the show said,
" Oh, she has pottery.... She's crafts!" I responded to this news as if
I had been mortally wounded by her barbed pronouncement! She
backpedaled and did say I could possibly enter something in as sculpture.
I replied, "Well I don't really care but I'll leave it up to any of the artists
here as whether my work is "Art" or "Craft"." and walked away.
Now I didn't need the grand prize $ (a big $25 - $100) it was the principle.
Most of these artists produce pretty amateur looking work and I realize
these little organizations are insanely political but.... Gee Wiz!
As I was setting up on my 1/3 of a table several "artists" came over to
my 1/3 of a table and pronounced my one of a kind work most definitely
"ART". What a relief, my parents will be so happy they didn't waste
$1000's of dollars sending me to art college. Yippee, now my 45 year
background in art and my self esteem is restored.
I may go to the next meeting and make a fuss just for fun.
I guess my goal is to "mess" with their heads. I might put forth a question
such as...."If Picasso had entered his ceramic pieces in the show would
they have been categorized as "Crafts".
Now for the kicker, the winner of the grand crafts prize ($25) was set up
right next to me. She had Christmas decorations out of wood cut with a
scroll saw. I asked where she got her designs and she told me,
"Oh, out of some books."
Gayle Bair

P.S... I made more $ than most of the other artist/crafters at the show

Christine avery on fri 27 nov 98

I read with interest Gayle Bair's experience with the local "art"
association and the art vs craft debate. It has been my experience in
working with the general public that it is usually a matter of ignorance
about art in general.

Many people are content to take 2 day workshop painting classes at a craft
store where it is "paint with me - do as I do" and then come out and call
it great original art. (it is a great way to learn new technique - but call
it a study not an original) Most are amateurs wanting to do art but not pay
their dues (I have gleaned this from teaching and attending adult education
What bothered me about the post is the statement "go to the next meeting
and make a fuss just for fun. I guess my goal is to "mess" with their

I feel that we as artists should educate the public in a
non-confrontational manner so these pervading attitudes can change. Most
people are very well meaning and support the arts community greatly.

Just my 3" worth (inflation you know)

Have a Great Holiday and eat that squash out of a clay casseole!

Christine from Nodak where the 16" of snow is disappearing in 50! weather.