Hamadan International Craft Fair – 21-25 August 2018

Lalejin potter with busts and photos of ancestor potters.

Here’s a wonderful chance to display your wares at one of the great craft cultures of the world.

Hamadan Holds 14th National Craft Fair and First International Craft Fair Coinciding Hamadan Recognition as the Tourism Capital City of Asia

Hamadanˊs Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization is holding its annual National Craft Fair this year. Craftsmen from all around the country participate in the event every year. This year considering Hamadanˊs being recognized as the Tourism Capital City of Asia in 2018 and regarding high capacities and the potential of the province being the heartland of a number of crafts like the Global City of Lalejin in pottery, Tuyserkan and Malayer in wood carving, and Hamadan itself in leather works and regarding the tourism attractions of the city like Ganjnameh inscriptions (Archamenian period), Avicenna mausoleum, Alisadr cave (the longest water cave in the world), Alavid dome (Seljukian period), Babataher tomb, the ancient city of Hegmataneh, Hamadan is holding this year ̓s fair internationally.

Supporting Hamadan and Iran original and local crafts and introducing these artworks as well as the city itself to the invited countries and on the other side introducing the crafts and artworks of the invited countries to the Iranian craftsmen and the public are of other purposes of holding the fair.

We are pleased to announce and warmly welcome the participation of our international guests in our 14th annual craft fair. The craft fair will be held at Hamadan International Exhibition from Tuesday, August 21st to Saturday, August 25th from 03:30 to 09:00pm. Set up is on Monday, August 20th at 11:00 and the building closes at 05:00pm.

A booth space will be free of charge. Booth spaces are approximately 3ˊ to 4ˊ wide by 3ˊ deep. The International Fair shall supply the vendors a table and two chairs. Double booth spaces are also available under your former announcement.

Our international guests will reside in a three star hotel to the vicinity of the fair and there will be VIP buses for transportation. Visiting Hamadan tourism attractions like Alisadr cave (the worldˊs longest water cave), Avicenna mausoleum, Ganjnameh inscription (Achaemenian period) and its tourism resort complex, Babataher tomb are also included in the program. We also hope we can host the WCC members while the fair is held.

To apply, please be sure to complete the application form and submit it in the due time.

20. April 2018
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Could you run a workshop on vintage fabrics?

WoCCA has been approached by Phillips Shirts, a company based in Malvern, Melbourne, who have been making shirts for over 60 years. They have a large vault of fabrics that have been acquired during this period including silk and cotton. They would like to work with some textile artists who are able to conduct some public workshops at their warehouse using our fabrics.  These could include fabric dying, quilting, bookbinding and recycling/upcycling fabric. They can provide public liability and can pay artists depending on the proposal.
For further inquiries, please contact the Brand Manager, Amit Charan showroom@phillipsshirts.com.au or 03 9670 3000.
Brand Manager, Phillips Shirts

 

09. April 2018
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WoCCA at Hermès

Frederic inking the silk screen for the Hermès scarf

Thanks to the very knowledgeable and thoughtful Miranda Samuels, WoCCA members had an insider view of the Hermès exhibition in Melbourne. Monsieur Kamel Hamadou gave a wonderful exposition of the silkscreen printing process behind the iconic Hermès scarves, while the very skill Frederic produced a geometrically designed scarf before our eyes, with more than a dozen screens, without a blemish.  We heard a long explanation of why this production is located in Lyon and the wonderful infrastructure of craft schools that ensure there is a new generation coming through to renew the tradition.

The discussion with Miranda was quite enlivening and touched on the ambivalence some Australians might feel about a luxury craft brand. We’re hoping that this Hermès tour will prompt us to consider our own heritage crafts and how we can give them a profile similar to those in France. Vive la république des métiers!

11. March 2018
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Will Robert Bell be replaced at the National Gallery of Australia?

For many years, the decorative arts in Australia were ably served by Dr Robert Bell. The National Gallery of Australia was the preeminent collector of the nation’s finest decorative arts and crafts. As Senior Curator, Decorative Arts and Design, Robert curated many fine exhibitions during his tenure at the NGA, including the major exhibition of craft art, Transformations. He contributed to the development of audiences in Australia and internationally through his many conference presentations, journal articles, catalogues and book chapters including recently, the Toledo Museum of Arts’ book, Color Ignited. Robert Bell played an especially significant role in profiling our jewellery and metalsmithing.

It has been believed in the craft sector that acquisitions by the National Gallery of Australia represented the ultimate recognition as an artist. We feel that we represent important stakeholders in this national collection.

Though they are big shoes to fill, we presumed that Robert Bell would be replaced after his departure. As far as we know, there has been no new curator appointed in charge of decorative arts at the National Gallery of Australia. This seems a significant absence with regards to the care and growth of this important national collection, and, in terms of the organisation’s capacity to reflect our national artistic scene and cultural values.

We recognise that there have been funding cuts to the NGA, which would necessitate cost-cutting measures. But we feel strongly that this is a critical role in the organisation.

We call on the National Gallery of Australia to fill the vacant position of Decorative Arts curator.

08. February 2018
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International Crafts Fair in Oman

The Public Authority for Crafts Industries in the Sultanate of Oman is Organizing the International Crafts Fair during 1 – 3 March 2018. The Organizer will provide the following :

1-      3×3 m Boots ( for free).

2-      A room include (Breakfast + Lunch + dinner ).

3-      Free Transportation from the hotel to the venue of the events and vice verse.

4-      Free transport from to the airport.

5-      Free Visa arrangement for entering the country.

The artisans who would like to participate in this event would be required to arrive in the country one day prior to the fair and would leave the country one day after the event.

For participation and more information kindly be requested to contact:  Ms. Fayiza Al- Balushi at this telephone number : (968) 24350033 or (968) 92710225 or you can email her at fayizaalbalushi@yahoo.com.

29. December 2017
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Advice on Australia Council funding for craft

While there have been significant cuts to the Australia Council funding available to artists and organisations, it still remains a significant resource for supporting works of artistic promise.

Having recently served as a peer, I can share some observations that may be useful if you are thinking of applying in the future.

There’s a lot of pressure on the peers to allocate a small amount of funds. If an application has any reason not to be funded there and then, this will often knock it out of contention, even it if is worthy in other ways. This can include:

  • The start date is sufficiently distant that you can apply again in the next round
  • Support letters are missing or links to support material do not work
  • The budget seems overinflated and there is not enough detail

From a positive perspective, a good application places the project in a broader strategy, which points to future outcomes. It includes a clear and interesting question that is being asked. And it has a defined focus, rather than a scattergun collection of ticked boxes.

On the other side of the table, it is critical to have an advocate for craft who can articulate more medium-specific values. As a minority art form, it is easy to dismiss craft practice as “niche” or parochial. All worthy art is ultimately “niche” as it involves a level of specialisation that sets it apart from mass culture. But the value of skill is not as obvious as the more conceptual meanings attached to visual art practice. And craft practice is rarely associated with the more glamorous locations of New York and Berlin, nor are there the international flagships of Venice Biennale or major art fairs.

In my experience, other peers are very respectful of the craft voice and are genuinely committed to taking it on board.  Visual Arts staff can make up for an absent perspective, but having an independent craft voice at the table helps greatly. So do consider registering as a peer to fight for the cause as the modest pool is allocated.

That said, funding is not the only form of recognition for valuable work. Platforms like our Garland magazine are also worth supporting as ways we can acknowledge and encourage handmade works of great skill and meaning.

The next round of Australia Council grants is due 7 February 2017. You can nominate to be a peer here. 

Kevin Murray

12. December 2016
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Robert Bell retires from National Gallery of Australia

b6klc3luAfter 50 years in the field of Australian craft, Robert Bell has announced his retirement as Senior Curator of Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Australia. Few people have contributed as much to this national art form. His tireless advocacy for studio craft practice has ensured that the National Gallery of Australia contains some of the best craft work made in our country. This is a critical legacy for future generations, as they look back at what we achieved in our time here. We wish him a fruitful and healthy retirement.

02. November 2016
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World Crafts Council enters new era

Departing President from China, Mr Wang Shen, addresses the General Assembly under the dazzling ceiling of the Abbasi Hotel.

Departing President from China, Mr Wang Shen, addresses the General Assembly under the dazzling ceiling of the Abbasi Hotel.

The 18th General Assembly of the World Craft Council has just met in Isfahan, Iran. Every four years the members gather to celebrate craft, consider pressing issues and elect a new president. It was Europe’s turn this time and Rosy Greenlees, the Director of Crafts Council UK, stepped forward to take on the responsibility. WCC-Europe has been very active of late, extending its engagement across the continent. This Presidency promises to bring increased dialogue, for sure. However, we are unlikely to witness in this upcoming term the kind of generosity exercised by the Chinese in bringing the world of craft together, as they did in Dongyang, 2014. But there are many other ways of being effective than hosting grand global spectacles.

This year’s General Assembly was focused mainly around the World Cities of Craft program, where cities are recognised for their preeminence in a particular craft. India, China, Iran and Chile have been particularly active in nominating cities (Iran’s cities feature in the latest issue of our Garland magazine). The challenge now is to develop networks between cities so that they can build exchanges on top of their individual activities.

The four-day event occurred in the splendid surrounds of the Abbasi Hotel, in the majestic Isfahan. This seemed to encourage much ceremony and quite a few marathon speeches (with translations!). The highlight was no doubt the enthusiasm of the hosts. It was difficult to walk more than a few metres in any direction without being called upon for an interview, a selfie, or just a heartfelt smile. The pride in hosting this international craft event was palpable. It may well be the most important international event hosted by Iran since sanctions started being lifted with the recent nuclear deal. In Australia we don’t quite realise the importance of craft diplomacy in our region.

Australia is part of the WCC-Asia Pacific Region, which is by far the largest. Dr Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi was confirmed as President for her second term. Dr Ghada brings an inclusivity and rigour to the role, not to mention her generous support for the Online Encyclopedia of Crafts in the Asia Pacific Region, which promises to be an important legacy. The South Pacific sub-region is represented by myself and Lindy Joubert. It’s not always an easy fit. In some ways, our craft culture has more in common with the studio crafts in Europe and North America than the more traditional practices in Asia. But the dualism of tradition and modernity is a powerful dynamic of the WCC-APR.

It is a shame that more Australians didn’t travel to witness this gathering—there was a major contingent from Bangladesh. But it is expensive for us to fly from across the Indian Ocean and the information about hotel bookings was less than clear. It’s worth checking the Garland calendar for regional craft events that are closer to hand. It is wonderfully uplifting to feel part of such a diverse community. This becomes ever more precious in a time of growing isolationism and cultural phobias.

The WCC-APR board resolved to modernise the organisation through development of a communication strategy. This is aimed particularly at the next generation who access most of their information by smartphone. As we saw with the recent Sydney meeting, there is also potential for “crowd-sourcing” in enabling more active involvement in the organisation. The social media platform developed by our Iranian hosts provided a model for this.

So expect more action now from the World Crafts Council—from everyone, hopefully including you.

Thank you Iran for your commitment to the world of craft.

Kevin Murray, Secretary, World Crafts Council – Australia.

28. September 2016
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Vale Sue Rowley

Professor Sue Rowley died on 3 September in Melbourne. Sue was instrumental in the development of new approaches to theorising craft. Her writing on the subject was influential, but even more importantly she created a milieu in which new ideas could flourish: through mentoring other writers, convening conferences and her editorial work, she brought new writing on craft to an international audience. Through her work at Wollongong University, and later as executive director of Humanities and Creative Arts at the Australian Research Council, she was instrumental in consolidating the creative arts as a legitimate research area within universities in Australia. She served as professor of contemporary art theory at the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales and later as associate dean (research) at the University of Technology, Sydney, where she was instrumental in founding the Creative Industries Innovation Centre. She was an exceptional colleague, mentor and friend to many and will be sorely missed.

Anne Brennan, School of Art, Undergraduate Convenor, Australian National University

Rowley, Sue. Craft and Contemporary Theory. Allen & Unwin, 1997.

17. September 2016
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Where did my craft organisation go?

Thanks everyone for the show of strength and commitment. It was an auspicious evening.

__

A gathering of the faithful to talk about representation for craft
Three Weeds Hotel, 197 Evans St, Rozelle, Sydney
Thursday 4 August at 6pm

With the de-funding of NAVA and the Australian Design Centre, there is currently no craft organisation with federal funding in NSW (ACT has two). What happened? Do we need an organisation anymore? Are there other platforms, like World Crafts Council – Australia, that can fill the gap?

This is an open conversation aiming to gather who see value in a platform for exhibiting, publishing and promoting craft – and would to like to help make it happen.

Facebook event.

11. July 2016
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