Is it art? Is it craft? Is it consciously trying to be both and push the boundaries of art? These are all very intriguing questions and ones I’m interested in exploring as I discover more about innovations in the art world. But some days I just want to ask: “what about the pure, simple and basic love of beautiful things?”
My love of beautiful things is what first connected me with Corey Judge of Shi Studio. It all started back in the little town of Hazelton where I grew up. Corey and I shared a mutual friend who had already introduced the ladies of the town to Corey’s unique jewelry. There wasn’t a house party or community event where one girl wasn’t oohing and aahing over her friend’s new leather cuff or set of earrings from Shi Studio. Since Corey tours around the country to craft fairs selling her wares, it wasn’t long before I found myself, through a connection our mutual friend made, driving the five hours to Prince George to work her booth at Studio Fair. It was of course, pure torture.
The idea was to work the show and make a little extra cash. The temptation was to spend all the money you had just made on whatever cool new things Corey had created that season. Never mind that she gave you a freebie as a bonus for working the show. That only served to wet your pallet so to speak. It has now been six years and six shows in three different locations since I first worked for Corey. The most recent was Circle Craft at the Vancouver Convention Centre last week. There’s something wonderful about selling what someone already wants. The vividness and the level of variety in Corey’s pieces means that nearly everyone falls in love with something. All that is left is to give them all the important information about it and reassure them that you also are completely in love with the stuff and would spend your retirement fund on it all if you in fact had one.
So, of course, I loved working her booth at Circle Craft. I almost didn’t notice my sore feet, or the number of times my tongue stumbled over the words I repeated for the 641st time. I kept eyeing up what I was going to take home when the time came and falling slowly in love with it all despite my best efforts. In the end I practiced a great deal of restraint, knowing that Corey is now just across the water from me in Victoria and I can go over in a shopping frenzy anytime I want. My freebie was a pair of beautiful earrings from her new line of brass jewelry.
So where is the art connection? Well, besides the argument that art can be anything beautiful – as well as many things innovative and challenging – Corey collaborates with two artists on some of her pieces and these are definitely some of my favourites. Artists Gosia and April Lacheur both have a whimsical and haunting style and Corey’s ability to select the best portions of those images to use in her jewelry makes for some of her most stunning work.
So is it art, or is it craft? I say, that’s a question for another blog post. I wrote this one purely for the love of beautiful things.