In our modern lives, handmade objects offer a coveted and rare connection between what we have and who we are. That’s why craft, however broadly it’s defined, continues to be so meaningful.
Earth, Fire and Fibre XXVIII, the Anchorage Museum’s biennial craft exhibition, is one of the state’s longest running juried exhibitions. It showcases Alaska artists working with traditional craft materials such as fiber, clay and wood. Selected artworks are chosen because of the artists’ superb skills, but also for their forward-thinking concepts and methods.
Seward artist Lael Gordon won the prestigious Earth, Fire and Fibre Juror’s Choice Award for Greek Key Sideboard, a piece of wood furniture combining Douglas fir, jatoba, Sitka spruce and Alaska birch.
This year’s entries included 273 works of art from 92 Alaska artists. Juror Andrew Wagner narrowed down the pool to 82 artworks. Wagner is the former editor-in-chief of ReadyMade magazine and American Craft magazine.
When initially reviewing submissions, Wagner was surprised by the variety of media and originality of ideas. “The Internet has obviously allowed people to communicate more easily, which can be great, but now what you see are many people working off the same themes because they’re all looking at the same stuff,” he said. “But work for this show didn’t fall into that trap. It’s so important for an art scene to put its own stake in the ground and be its own thing.”
Earth, Fire and Fibre opens with a First Friday reception 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 4. After it closes Jan. 8, 2012 in Anchorage, Earth, Fire and Fibre will tour to Juneau and Fairbanks.
This exhibition is sponsored by CIRI and supported through grants from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
$1,000 Juror’s Choice Award
• Lael Gordon, Seward, “Greek Key Sideboard,” a piece of wood furniture combining Douglas fir, jatoba, Sitka spruce and Alaska birch
• Charilyn Cardwell, Palmer, “Anya,” a Samoyed dog fur hand-spun and hand-knit scarf
• Renata Knapman, Anchorage, “Penny Farthing Bike,” a bicycle made with rope, wood, and found objects
• Anne Lingener-Reece, Anchorage, “Self-Heating Tea Infuser,” a fine silver hand-forged and hand-formed tea infuser
• Karen Olanna, Nome, “Owl Totem,” a whale bone vertebrae sculpture
• Kay Field Parker, Douglas, “Haida Lightning Dance Apron,” traditional weaving with abalone buttons and deer hooves
• Edwin Weyiouanna, Shishmaref, “Songs of Walrus Hunters,” a carved whalebone and ivory sculpture
See a photo slideshow of the winning entries on the museum's Facebook page