Judith Schaechter Keynote Speech @ GlassWeekend

Judith Schaecter issues the command to us, her willing minions.

Super-Supreme glass artist Judith Schaechter delivered the keynote address at the biennial GlassWeekend held at WheatonArts this past weekend.

Her talk was referenced throughout the conference and, happily, she has posted it on her blog: “Late Breaking Noose“.

Judith’s talk muses on the now maligned notion of “craft” –
“I started out as a young Turk completely rebellious against skill.  I was conceptual!  I knew what was important!  And it wasn’t some type of mindless devotion to creating perfect solder seams.  I was so bad, and this is true; that on at least one occasion, my work fell apart at the opening… 
But then something happened…and it wasn’t horror or shame at presenting sub-par workmanship to a possibly paying public. What happened was 30-some years of practice. With little thought to the matter, I gradually improved.  Until, to make a long story short, I now find myself highly skilled.  And having come to this place, I now have the perspective to understand why it is worthy.”

Judith’s talk is filled with great images.


She continues – Its preposterous to not value skill—it has undeniable practical value!  We want our surgeons and plumbers to be skilled!  We admire, reward and even worship the skill of athletes.  We even have these weird talent shows on TV that seem to be about skills.  We fetishize craft in so many areas of life, but not in the arts!”
What happened to the idea of mastering one’s art?  Why did it become so déclassé to master one’s medium?  Why did it become de rigeur to make work that is constructed like junk (and looks like junk too?)
Read the entirety of Judith’s  talk – where she asks if skill and art are mutually exclusive – to read her full text – click HERE to jump to her posting.

Yet another tragic craft catastrophe that could have been avoided.

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