For the second year in a row, the CCF/FCMA partnered with our colleagues at the Craft Alliance to host a partner booth at SOFA Chicago, November 6th - 9th, 2014. With our brand new banner and a shipment chock-full of promotional materials, we made our way to the Windy City to spread the word about Canadian work, and to learn what is happening elsewhere in the international world of craft.
As was the case with last year's show, we were thoroughly impressed. The galleries at SOFA are some of the best in North America and beyond. Craft Scotland featured the work of eleven talented craft makers, including the effervescent jeweller, Gilly Langton, and innovative graphic designer turned textile artist, Morag Macpherson. Thalen & Thalen from Belgium blew us away with their large scale silversmithing, while Habitat Galleries from the US showcased some of the most creative glass sculpture being made today. In addition to the galleries, live demonstrations from Corning Museum of Glass, the Society of American Mosaic Artists and the American Association of Woodturnerskept everyone in attendance connected to the reality of craft making.
Of course, we were also proud to see so many Canadian artists featured at SOFA. Many were found in the Creative Saskatchewan booth curated by Michael Hosaluk, Montreal's celebrated Option Art Gallery, and even within American Galleries such as Aaron Faber Gallery in New York and Duane Reed Gallery in St. Louis. Laura Donefer pretty much stole the show at the Corning demonstrations, regaling the packed room with stories about teaching glassblowing at Espace Verre in Quebec, while she artfully created a large vase.
The CCF/FCMA was happy to be able to connect with the crowd at SOFA, including gallery owners, artists, collectors and many others from amongst the field of craft. Surrounded by craft publications, publishers, schools, non-profit associations and various craft societies in the partner booth section, it was quite the gathering of experts. Our table featured the most recent issue of STUDIO magazine from Craft Ontario, alongside materials on the Alberta Craft Council's new building in Calgary, the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Council's upcoming International Fibre Arts Conference, the Conseil des metiers d'art du Quebec's Online Shop, the New Brunswick Craft Council and Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council's Studio Tours, the Manitoba Craft Council's recent exhibitions as well as promotional materials from the Nunavut Arts & Crafts Association and the Saskatchewan Crafts Council.
We had a little something of interest for everyone visiting our booth, which balanced well with our ability to share suggestions and information about events, artists, galleries, schools and craft institutions all across Canada. Making connections and promoting the unique craft field in Canada is our number one goal at SOFA, and this year, with a purported 35,000 people in attendance - we did just that.