The first study of the emergence of Canadian fine craft as a professional artistic practice.
By contrasting American experience with the Canadian context, which includes a unique Quebec identity and a Native dimension, Sandra Alfoldy argues that the development of organizations, advanced education for craftspeople, and exhibition and promotional opportunities have contributed to the distinct evolution of professional craft in Canada over the past forty years.
Alfoldy focuses on 1964-74 and the debates over distinctions between professional, self-taught, and amateur craftspeople and between one-of-a-kind and traditional craft objects. She deals extensively with key people and events, including American philanthropist Aileen Osborn Webb and Canadian philanthropist Joan Chalmers, the foundation of the World Crafts Council (1964) and the Canadian Crafts Council (1974), the Canadian Fine Crafts exhibition at Expo 67, and the In Praise of Hands exhibition of 1974.
Drawing upon a wealth of previously unexploited materials, this richly documented survey includes descriptions and illustrations of significant works and identifies the challenges that lie ahead for professional crafts in Canada.