When Manitoba Craft Council member Helga Schulte-Schroeer applied to MCC’s Bursary Fund last September, time was ticking down. If granted, she planned to use the money to help finance a trip to Nantong, China for the Seventh Annual Lausanne to Beijing International Fibre Biennale opening in early November. While there, Helga also hoped to attend the Biennale Symposium, do research for the silk component of of a new body of work, learn about Chinese textile culture and education, and network with Chinese and other international fibre artists.
The MCC was pleased to be able to assist Helga, as well as two other artists, through the bursary fund. The following are some highlights from her trip, in the artist’s own words, taken from her report to the MCC:
The journey to Nantong, China took place Nov. 03-13, 2012. Approx. 100 artists were in attendance, half of which were Chinese and the other half of various nationalities. I met artists from Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, the US, the Netherlands and the UK. We ‘foreigners’ were very impressed by the outstanding support given by all levels of government to all aspects of the exhibition. The ancient Chinese cultural heritage of decorum and ceremony was evident throughout.
Interestingly, as was also noted by speakers at the Symposium, the works on display did not reveal cultural identities. Looking at the works it was not possible to distinguish the cultural heritage of the maker. Much of the work on exhibit was big and bold. A trend to experimentation with materials, size and perspectives was evident as well. This was noted as new trends in fibre art. The scope, size and quality of the exhibition evoked a sense of ‘fine-art-world’, which may well be where fibre as art form is headed toward.
I believe that works in fibre will now be represented as either distinctly “craft” or “art”. The craft-aspect will continue to reveal cultural heritage, leaving art to move beyond. I am encouraged to continue struggling with the dichotomy of fibre craft versus fibre art and feel inspired to keep experimenting with textures and materials. I am in fine craft company.
You can find out more about how to apply for the MCC’s Bursary Fund here. Applications are due September 12, 2013.