Saturday, January 22, 2011

The CanIron VIII Gallery - Theme & Things to Think About

For CanIron VIII the Gallery will be open to all who wish to participate. We are hoping that everyone will bring a piece of work, large or small to display to show everyone who you are and what you do.

The theme for the Gallery at this event is going to be “traditional joinery” and I’d like to state that this means joins which are not welded.
Now, hold on, before you get upset …

Yes, absolutely welding (especially forge welding) is a traditional form of joining two pieces together. However, I’ve decided that for the THEMED COMPETITION ONLY works with welded/brazed joins will not be eligible.

I want to make it very clear that ALL works (provided they will fit through a standard doorway and don’t require more than a couple of people to move them) will be shown. All works in the gallery with the exceptions of those created by the chosen judging panel will be eligible for certain prizes. The themed competition will be open only to new works (created since CanIron VII) that use other forms of traditional joinery – mortise and tenon, riveting etc.

What made me choose this theme? Well, I’d been thinking about it for a couple of months, trying to decide: what hadn’t seen in a while, what would get people thinking, what would get them excited, what would get them creating? Then I came across an article in an old copy of Hammer’s Blow from 2003 called Tenons and Tradition by Preston Farabow. He had taken a class on traditional joinery with Clay Spencer and while he found it frustrating at first that he couldn’t even tack weld pieces together he ended up really enjoying the way it made him think about things. In short, it inspired me.

I find that we all get into a groove and have default ways of doing things. Everyone has to worry about timelines, many have to worry about profit margins and we all have to do problem solving at every turn. This made me think about how many people would have to think again – not just the creators of larger pieces, but the people who create smaller pieces.

Whether you are making a bench or a piece of jewellery falling back on welding, brazing or soldering is something that most everyone does. They are wonderful arts in themselves and they have been around a long time. They are generally sturdy and solid and make for a joint you don’t need to worry about once the skills are developed. Once you take it away though, you are presented with an interesting group of problems. It is like taking glue out of the equation for other crafts…if you can’t do that, how would you assemble that piece?

I knew that it might create a bit of uproar from some folks, but that’s exactly what I meant it to do. I look forward to all the pieces that were made to spit in my eye!

Kelly Probyn-Smith
Gallery Co-Ordinator for CanIRON 8

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