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The Craft Council of British Columbiaʼs 40th Anniversary Exhibition, entitled: Invested/40, is a captivating showcase of the best of BCʼs craft makers. As I sit here, the pianist plays beside me and the huge pendulum marks time above our heads, I observe many people passing through the brightly lit space stopping in the midst of their busy day to look at the work on display.

Bettina Matzkuhnʼs, “Tides,” seem to mark the flow of traffic with her image of tidal currents on two large sales. Ian Johnstonʼs “Cellular Brick Road” commands attention as the flow of foot traffic navigates around this huge piece in the centre of the space, with their cell phones in hand. Many people have stopped, mid-stride, to take a second look at Jane Kenyonʼs “Twilight” when they notice that it is all done in stitch. Several people have stopped to ask me, “how long did that take?” and I engage on the topic of Malcolm Gladwellʼs concept that it takes 10,000 hours to master any one craft.

Ultimately, I begin to contemplate my own practice. As an “interdisciplinary artist” I constantly fear I will never invest 10,000 hours into any one way of working and lament that my work shows it. As I am doing a residency at the moment, I am logging my studio hours. So at least I can take comfort when I sit down to the wheel, or the loom, or the sewing machine, and say to myself: “one.” Because no matter how old we are, or what stage our practice is at, everyone starts somewhere and from there we just keep plugging along. And for artists, I find, it is not about the destination but the journey that we have chosen to live our lives this way. As cliche as that is, it remains true.

Michelle Sirois-Silverʼs “Love, Decay and Repair: Imagined Dialogues #3” seems to articulate the artistʼs journey, for me, in her “hooked” image of a well-spring of energy based against a grid. In the context of this argument, it reads as the surge of creativity sits in contrast with the reality of the world. The reality is that people need to make money; and that sometimes wears an artist down, especially in the early years where self-doubt gnaws away at artistic potential as well. It is only through sheer persistence and determination that an artist gets to the point in their careers that these accomplished artists have. So, one might say, the artistʼs journey begins with a deep seeded love that must survive through decay and only after repair does it then flourish into something that others may see and appreciate. As all these many business people, patrons and sight-seers have the opportunity to do in this exhibition.

Nicole Smith

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