The Art of Craft: Well worth the trip to Dockyard
The Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard is once again hosting their annual craft exhibition. Twenty-one artists/crafts people have submitted 93 pieces for the show, The Art of Craft.
The gallery hosted an annual craft exhibition when it first opened back in the mid-1980s which, back then was curated and by invitation.
I have vivid memories of these exhibitions, for they were of an incredibly high standard.
After a few years, for reasons I no longer recall, the Art Centre discontinued hosting this annual show and it was only about three years ago that it was revived.
One major difference from the earlier craft exhibitions is that the present one is no longer curated.
When first revived, it was an open, unjuried exhibition.
This year’s show was supposed to have been juried and I was invited to be one of the jurors, but in the end, it too, was unjuried and for a very good reason.
When the craft exhibition was revived three years ago, the many crafts people on the Island embraced the idea with enthusiasm and submitted many and varied craft objects.
With this year’s show, for reasons I cannot fathom, many of our well known crafts people did not participate.
Thus when I arrived at the Art Centre thinking I would help jury the show, there were hardly enough submissions to even have a show.
What had been submitted, I might add, was of very good quality, but with so few entries, there was no latitude for jurying. In order to have a show, everything had to be exhibited.
I have heard varying reasons why some did not enter this year’s craft exhibition and most seemed reasonable.
However I also understand that some were involved in setting up another art and craft show, in a pop-up gallery, at the same time as the BAC show.
I am not sure how the administration eventually pulled it off, but when I visited the exhibition after it had opened to the public, they had managed to find quite a number of additional participants, several being new at least to me.
I have to tell you, it has turned out to be a good show and worth the trip to Dockyard. I have not heard how the rival show went, nor was I able to see it.
The participants in this exhibition are: Ami Zanders, Chesley Trott, Joan Aspinall, Mary Tatem, Tricia Walters, Jan Quinn, Joyce Beale, Nancy Frith, Nahed Eid, Jackie Stevenson, Helle Pukk;
Llewellyn Emery, Jonathon Faulkner, Aubrey Hardy, Sundee Faulkner, Kathryn Garcia, Alan Avery, Christine Howarth, Damon Simons and Shawn Thomas.
A number of pieces stand out, especially several by Llewellyn Emery.
I am thinking of a group of wood sculptures of fruit, notably avocados, that are exceptional and for that reason alone is worth the effort of driving to Dockyard, to visit the Art Centre.
Most are in Bermuda cedar, but in one instance, he used Indian laurell. In several, part of the wood is dyed.
Another notable wood artist and resident artist at the Art Centre is Chesley Trott.
I think I am safe is pointing out that he has had a studio at BAC longer, by far, than any other artist.
Mostly this artist works in Bermuda Cedar, but with one piece he has mixed bronze with Bermuda Cedar.
Mary Tatem has been working with fused glass for several years now but with each craft exhibition she seems to be getting more accomplished. This year, she has made fused glass buckles.
Nahed Eid continues to make jewel-like assemblages out of what she says is mixed-media.
As to where she finds all the bits and pieces that she uses in making her art is anybody’s business, however, at least some of her findings are new looking and possibly come from hardware stores.
Joyce Beale is exhibiting just one batik, but this piece is the strongest in terms of colour and design, I have ever seen her do.
Of the several ceramic artists in the show, Jon Faulkner is noted for his unusual salt-glazed vessels look for his Spiky Teapot with Ugs. Also see his square vase embedded with glass and Victorian cannon rust.
I was struck by Kathryn Garcia’s Gyotaku fish prints on fabric. This is a traditional Japanese method of using a real fish, that is inked and then pressed on a ground, such as paper or fabric.
One group that came to the rescue of this exhibition were several glass artists from Dockyard Glassworks.
Look for the egg paperweights by Alan Avery and Christine Howarth, also a glass vase by Damon Simons.
The Art of Craft continues through Friday.
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