The National Craft Awards are back
Are you a mean weaver? Can you bead with your eyes closed? Does silversmithing make your heart pound, and woodwork make your knees go week?
Well, it’s time to put your skills to the test. After a 10-year hiatus, the National Craft Competition has returned to South Africa, offering the country’s crafters nearly R100 000 in prize money.
Organised by the creative team behind the Innibos National Arts Festival, the craft awards jury – made up of some of the country’s principal craft advocates, including the department of arts and culture’s craft specialist, Joseph Mathe, gallerist and potter Kim Sacks, business guru and partner in Luminance Judy Dlamini and artist Willem Boshoff – will decide who the winner will be.
John Anthony Boerma, director of Art Aid Africa (a platform for crafters) and one of the organisers, says the judging panel focuses heavily on the retail sector because the end goal of the competition is transformation.
“We looked specifically at the retail market because it gives the crafter the opportunity to enter the retail market, get money and start creating jobs. There is no sustainability if there is no money in the creative industries,” Boerma says.
“I used to work for the department of arts and culture in the crafts sector and in the time that I was there, I saw loads of opportunities in the creative sector. I think it’s important to bring people into the creative industry, it will solve a lot of problems in society.”
But how will the judges decide between what is craft, design, and art?
“We struggle with that distinction, but once the entries come in, the judges will distinguish what is craft and what isn’t from there,” Boerma says.
“But I personally think that craft is something that you produce, knowingly, and with a passion for technical skill.”
EAGER WEAVER Ethiopia Ethiopian Habesha baskets for sale at a local market in Addis Ababa,