I Am a Citizen of Craft
October 6, 2015

sandralfoldy 
Lights, camera, action! Professor Sandra Alfoldy has helped shape a campaign to reclaim the word "craft."
 

.I Am A Citizen of Craft.

It’s a declaration. It’s affirmative. It’s reclaiming a word—“craft”—that’s been twisted and appropriated and used to sell everything from breakfast sandwiches to beer and blankets, things that are obviously not made by hand but instead are mass produced in factories.

For Professor Sandra Alfoldy, participating in the creation of a brand and a 10-point manifesto for the professional craft sector has been a thrill. Now she’s in Toronto taking part in the filming of an Indiegogo video to raise funds for the next stage of the campaign..

“I’m an art historian, and my field can be pretty esoteric,” says Prof. Alfoldy, who was part of the executive committee of craftspeople, academics and administrators who worked to come up the concept. The project, Rematerializing Craft, was led by Craft Ontario in participation with the Canadian Craft Federation and the other provincial and territorial craft councils including the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council.

“We would have meetings that would go on for hours as we tried to boil ‘craft’ down to one essential identity. The fights! It was exciting.”

Taking a page from the Local, Organic and Fair Trade movements, Citizens of Craft was officially launched in March of this year, Craft Year 2015, at Toronto’s Harbourfront and online. It continues to be rolled out across the country. The second part of the campaign involves raising funds for an RV travel across the country with students on board and making a documentary on craft from coast to coast.

K. Claire MacDonald (BFA 2012), an artist-jeweller whose work appears on the Citizens of Craft website, thinks education is the key to appreciation. “There’s so much mass production of everything. As a jeweler making one-of-a-kind pieces, how do you compete with that? In my experience you need to break down the mystique of the artist and provide a glimpse into the process.”

Prof. Alfoldy agrees. “What I love is that I Am a Citizen of Craft is an actionable idea. It’s getting people to invest and care in what craft is.”

For more information, please see: http://citizensofcraft.ca/


 The manifesto
1/ YOU ARE NOT A LEMMING.
You’re not a follower; you trust your own tastes and live by them.

2/ WE VALUE THE UNIQUE AND ENDURING.
As an authentic human being, you appreciate things that don’t scream assembly line.

3/ OBJECTS SHOULD INHABIT, NOT INTRUDE.
You believe objects with personal, tactile histories engage with your world better than the anonymously mass-produced.

4/ YOU ARE NOT AUTOMATED, MANUFACTURED, OR CLONED.
You weren’t made in a factory, so you prefer not to bury your life with things that are.

5/ YOU BELIEVE IN 10-DIGIT TECHNOLOGY.
You connect more strongly with things made by a pair of hands – the original 10-digit machine.

6/ ONE SIZE SHOULD NOT FIT ALL.
You prefer objects that mirror your individual taste, rather than fit some monster demographic.

7/ NOTHING IS NEWER THAN TRADITION.
You are as much a fan of time-honoured techniques as you are of their contemporary interpretations.

8/ COOKIE CUTTER DOESN’T CUT IT.
In a me-too world, you appreciate that Craft brings different cultures and perspectives into your space.

9/ VASES ARE PEOPLE TOO.
Craft objects evoke their makers, letting you surround yourself with not just things, but personalities.

10/ WHILE WE ALL MARCH TO DIFFERENT DRUMS, WE MOVE TOGETHER.
You value how each maker’s unique expression bonds us as a richer community.