The Craft Council of British Columbia has chosen Sheryl MacKay, CBC host of North by Northwest Program, to receive our first Honorary Citizen of Craft Award for her enthusiastic, long-term support for the craftspeople of this province.
Sheryl received her award at the second in our 2016 Art of Craft Lecture Series featuring Debra Sloan, Master Ceramist, 2015 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award & 2015 Hilde Gerson Award winner.
We caught up with Sheryl to learn more about her passion for craft.
What is it about craft that you are most passionate about?
I love the fact that craft creates things that are beautiful and precious and functional. I love having my porridge in a bowl created by a potter working at a wheel with their own ideas and inspirations and energy contained in the vessel. I love wearing a scarf made by a weaver at the loom, imagining them making choices about colours and textures and materials.
I wear jewellery hand made by another artisan in a studio. The ring or the pendant represents years of training and experience and practice and links back to all the great long history of making.
Each piece is the only one of its kind. The fact that there will never be another just the same makes it precious and so beautiful.
I love walking through craft fairs and galleries and being constantly amazed by people’s ingenuity and how they create beauty in the world over and over again. It is an act of hope.
What inspires you to support local craftspeople?
I want to support local craftspeople with my show because they are part of the fabric of this province. They beautify our lives. They tell stories of the place we live. I want everyone here in BC to know about the many, many talented and passionate artisans we have all around us. I want people to think about the things they use and hope they make choices to buy from local makers; to buy things that last and won’t be discarded on a whim.
At home I want to surround myself with work that is of this place where I live. I want to pick up a mug, or put on a sweater or open a hand made journal and remember the person behind the wonderful item.
What do you do when you’re not championing the local projects?
I have tried to learn some of these skills myself. I have taken classes in silver-smithing, pottery and paper making. These were all so much harder than I ever imagined and I have developed an increased respect for those who work so hard to master the practices. When I travel I really like to find the craft shops and galleries and see what is happening in that part of the world. I am always intrigued by the subtle ways local culture is expressed in craft items.
Any thoughts or advice you’d like to offer for supporters of BC craft?
I hope more and more people will come to appreciate the value of craft and make the choice to spend a little more for a hand made, one of a kind, locally produced item when ever they can afford to. Besides the pleasure of being surrounded by beautiful, unique things we are also supporting local businesses, and often making choices that are better for the environment than are the mass produced things, shipped here from around the world.
To find out more about CBC’s North by Northwest and Sheryl MacKay you can visit their website here.