Set-up At MPA

>Installation at the McLean Project for the Arts show ‘To Tell The Tale’ took place this week – here are some installation pix from the day

Emerson Gallery

McLean Project for the Arts

1234 Ingleside Avenue

McLean, VA 22101

Opening Thursday, September 17, 2009, 7 PM – 9 PM

Open September 17 through November 7, 2009

‘To Tell The Tale’ at MPA


Top to Bottom: Allegra Marquart, The Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings 18″x18″, two color sand carved glass,

Michael Janis, Death Card, detail, Tarot Series 19″ x 37″ fused glass powder imagery

The McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) is hosting an exhibition of narrative artwork by three artists: Allegra Marquart, Michael Janis and Tom Baker. These three artists make art that engage in storytelling and take the viewer on a journey into the mind of the maker. Allegra Marquart teaches printmaking at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her works in glass and paper mines the fairy tale for both content and imagery. Washington Glass School Director Michael Janis leads a guided tour of the interpretations and impressions he finds in the Tarot fortune telling system. Professor Tom Baker of Monmouth University opens the door to both his conscious and unconscious thoughts as they take the form of his print work of unlikely images ranging from kitchen mixers to rockets.

Executed in both glass and various print media, these works engage the viewer in investigation.

To Tell the Tale

September 17 through November 7, 2009

Emerson Gallery

McLean Project for the Arts

1234 Ingleside Avenue

McLean, VA 22101

Opening Reception Thursday, September 17, 2009, 7 PM – 9 PM

Sneak Peek at Novie Trump’s Solo Show at MPA


The Washington Glass School took a sneak peek at next door neighbor and superstar ceramic artist Novie Trump’s work as she prepares for a solo show at McLean Project for the Arts (MPA). Her show features some stunning complex installations of ceramic elements and reliquaries.
He new sculptures draw on Novie’s training in classical archeology and interest in ancient myths and tales – Novie’s ceramics have an undertone and the patina of classical antiquity. Themes of finding direction, of searching for home and community are integrated into each of the works in her show.

Uncharted Sky: Sculpture by Novie Trump
SEPT 17 – NOV 7, 2009
McLean Community Center
1234 Ingleside Avenue
McLean, Virginia 22101
Opening Reception
SEP 17, 7 – 9 PM

Click HERE to see Novie Trump’s website

Click HERE to jump to the Novie’s Blog

Stephen Procter Fellowship offering $4,200 travel stipend for 2010 Canberra artists in residence


Stephen Procter, Across the Threshold.

The Stephen Procter Fellowship was established in 2001 in memory of Stephen Procter, Head of the Glass Workshop at The Australian National University 1993–2000. The aim of the Fellowship is to assist Australian and international artists working in glass to work and study abroad.

Each year the Fellowship provides $5,000 AUD (approximately $4,200 US) to assist an artist to travel overseas, helping them to explore working or educational opportunities. In 2010 this award will be made available for an International artist to travel to Australia to be a resident in the Glass Workshop at the School of Art, Canberra. The fellowship will take place in 2010.

Applications must be postmarked by October 31, 2009, and the award will be announced on November 27, 2009.

Gordon Bull
Head of School
School of Art, Australian National University
Childers Street, Acton, ACT

Guidelines for the 2010 Stephen Procter Fellowship

For International artist:

  • The Fellowship will preferably take place during the teaching period of 2010 (our semesters run late Feb through May and late July through to October). We may be able to accommodate a different schedule upon specific requests.
  • The residency period is expected to be between 4–6 weeks.
    • The Fellowship will assist travel to Australia for a residency within the Glass Workshop at the Australian National University in Canberra. This residency aims to support the development of a body of work or a research project.
    • The residency in the Glass Workshop must partly take place during the academic teaching period. The Fellow will be expected to have direct interaction with students through workshops and/or seminars/critiques/tutorials and slide presentations. We recommend that the applicants describe how they would like to interact with the Glass Workshop’s students in their proposal.
    • Travel arrangements will also be encouraged to visit other Australian glass programs whenever possible.
      • The Fellow will be provided with on-campus accommodation, studio space and scheduled use of equipment to carry out their work. Limited supplies will be provided; additional materials can be drawn against the fellowship allocation.
      • Applicants should be practising artists seeking time to develop their own work, research or experiment around a specific project.
      • The successful applicant will be selected based on artistic merit and their proposal. Please also include a small amount of information describing how you will work/interact with the students while you undertake your residency.

      For more information, please email:

    For more information about the ANU Glass Center click HERE

The Death of Craft – Whodunnit?

>Craft committed suicide, but it was under the influence of art.

The victim pulled the trigger on itself, detective Garth Clark says, but it was under the influence of Art.

That’s Art, no last name, sometimes known as Fine Art. And though the corpse keeps getting tricked out for public events like the stiff in the movie comedy Weekend at Bernie’s, the actual time of death was, oh, somewhere around 1995.

Garth Clark

This was the premise of a fantastic and provocative lecture that was held at Portland‘s Museum of Contemporary Craft last October titled “How Envy Killed the Craft – An Autopsy in 2 parts”, given by Garth Clark – a leading international writer on modern and contemporary crafts today. In the talk Clark dryly assessed the current state of American Craft, and conducted an examination of how aesthetics, economics and art-envy have “killed” this 20th century movement. The talk is available online as a podcast from the museum – the details are at the end of this posting.

What is this art envy? Good question.

Surely it has something to do with money. Clark quoted one excellent potter of his acquaintance who says he and his friends have a word for potters who make a living entirely from their craft. It’s unicorns, “because we’ve never seen one.”

And surely it has something to do with reputation, with being taken seriously. Artists are simply thought of more highly, as more creative beings, more intellectual, and therefore more important (and, let’s underscore, more worthy of high prices in exchange for their work).

Perhaps it has something to do with escaping an eternal past. “Craft has been overdosing on nostalgia,” Clark averred. “This is craft’s Achilles heel.” That’s not surprising, he added, since the modern movement (which he stretches back 150 years, a very long time for a movement of any sort) was born as a revival, and thus looking backwards from its beginning.

So, he said, somewhere around 1980 craftmakers simply started referring to what they did as art. Museums and other organizations began to drop the word “craft” from their names — sort of like snipping their horse-thieving uncle from the family tree. For a few genuine artists who were trapped by their association with craft — people like Jun Kaneko and Robert Arneson – it was an escape with just cause. For others, it was wishful thinking. “Craft was strongly and sometimes pretentiously influenced by fine art,” Clark said, “but it did not cross the line to become fine art.”

What did Clark mean by “craft,” anyway? One object-maker drew applause when she commented that, when she’s in the studio, she doesn’t even think about whether she’s making art or craft, she just thinks about what she’s working on. And there was some sentiment that Clark was making a fuss about something that was really just about words and categories, things that come after the fact. “Everything he’s saying is coming from a gallery owner’s point of view,” one member of the audience said.

And there might be some truth to that. Still, Clark insisted that categories are vital, and they are real. “Ultimately there is something called craft and there is something called art,” he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with that.”

What, then, is the difference? When it came right down to it, Clark had a tough time describing exactly what craft is. And in a sense, he blamed that on craftmakers, because they themselves had abandoned the word. After that, he said, “It was almost impossible to write honestly about a field that pretended to be something else.”

And craft’s stress on physicality, Clark said, is “part of its problem as art goes to multimedia, using all sorts of things.” In other words, while craft is reaching toward art, art is reaching toward craft — toward an acceptance of all sorts of materials as viable raw material for the making of fine art.

Then again, he says, fine art’s embrace of traditional craft materials has more to do with “postmodernism’s promiscuity” — hardly a marriage of minds. And, he pointed out, in the mid-20th century fine art underwent a more than equal and opposite reaction, “away from craft-based values” and toward conceptualism — a conspicuously idea-driven form of art (even if the ideas are sometimes half-baked) that gets big media play even as it often rejects the entire concept of craftsmanship as old-fashioned and irrelevant. No wonder crafters feel a little loss of self-esteem.

Still, the question remains: What do we mean when we say “craft”? Maybe it’s a little like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s 1964 dictum on pornography: “I know it when I see it.” The borders are fuzzy, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

One man in the audience last night asked Clark whether we were using “craft” as a noun when we should be using it as a verb. Maybe so.

Either way, there’s something physical about the thing. Craft is at its best when it is dealing with sensuality,” Clark said. “… (I)t grabs you by the throat and just thrills you.”

So maybe the more interesting question is, What is the relationship between art and craft? Does art require craft? If not, has the art world suffered for its loss? Clark says fine art doesn’t need craft. You can make great art without craft, he said, but you can’t make great craft without great skill. This is a far more significant question than many people in the art world will admit. For all of its history, from cave paintings on, art and craftsmanship have been intertwined. At what cost are they separated, if indeed they are?

For the 2-part podcast click HERE and scroll down to 10.16.2008 CraftPerspectives Lecture Garth Clark (Part 1 & 2)