Written by: Vivian Orr, SCC Communications and Publications Coordinator
#ABCraft looks at how digital technology is enhancing or impacting fine craft artists in Alberta. Social media, digital imaging and 3-D printing are becoming more common and an increasingly important career opportunity for fine craft artists. The exhibition features new and recent work by artists using digital technology in many ways including communications, marketing, research, image development, prototyping and production.
In April, I had the opportunity to drop into the ACC and see this diverse exhibition. As someone who is exploring digital technology in my own work, I found the comments and descriptions by the artists about their processes both interesting and timely. I approached the #ABCraft artists and asked them to answer a series of questions. We will be featuring their replies on the SCC Blog over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy the #ABCraft artists thoughtful and insightful answers as much as I did.
How does digital technology enhance your artistic or business practices?
Digital technology and social media outlets have been incredibly beneficial to me and have been an integral part of my artistic process. Not only does it drum up sales and commission projects but it also allows me to share my craft with friends and family located in the United States (and beyond) who would not be able to experience my work otherwise. In the “old days” people would only see fine craft in at physical sense – at museums, galleries, and specialty shops. In today’s age of technology we can view works of art on our devices at the touch of a button, click of a mouse, or a tap of the finger.
Instant feedback is a tremendous asset of digital technology. For example, receiving “Likes” on a Facebook post are an instant feedback indicator that allows me to see which of my pieces people enjoy and which pieces might need some tweaking in the future. Positive comments on a post are a boost of encouragement that I may not receive in person. I am able to read others’ thoughts on my work instantly.
A common process for my craft requires research when I am crafting something specific. Digital technologies help aide me in finding information and photo images of each animal I bring to life in my wool sculptures. What would I do without Google and Wikipedia?
I have found over the last couple of years that digital technology and social media have been an extremely important part of my artistic process and I will continue to post pictures of my work online while gaining knowledge about myself and my work through extensive online research and comments I receive from family, friends, and strangers alike.
How difficult was it to incorporate digital technology into your work flow?
It wasn’t difficult for me to incorporate digital technology into my work flow simply because it is quite necessary for me to study animals and their habitats before I try to recreate them in my wool sculptures. Books are “okay” as researching tools but the internet has a vast selection of nature & animal images (including different angles) to study! Plus, it’s easier than going to the library to find the right books.
Where did you acquire the skills, software, and hardware?
Actually, I acquired my skills when I decided to teach myself how to needle felt just by watching YouTube videos! I think it is safe to say that I was successful in doing so.
What technological tool would you love to get your hands on in the future?
I would LOVE to be able to create stop-motion movies (shorts) of my sculptures! I have always been drawn to cartoons or movies that give human characteristics to animals. I would love to create little stories with my creatures. I’m not sure how to go about starting this process but I would definitely need to get my hands on some digital cameras and movie-making software! Maybe someday…