Michael Radyk is an artist, the Director of Education for the American Craft Council, and Editor-in Chief of the journal American Craft Inquiry.
What did you look for when scoring/evaluating artists for the Craft Show? What work warrants a higher score?
Beautiful, original, high skill work executed with a strong concept that elevates the artist’s use of material and final object will always get a high score.
In your opinion, how does the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show differentiate itself from other shows?
The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft and the Women’s Committee offer an all-inclusive, high level, and inspired experience for the artists and show attendees. When you attend the show, the level of dedication and commitment to nurturing artists and audiences is apparent from the moment you step into the show.
Michael, in your many roles in the field of craft, now at the American Craft Council, and previously a Craft Show exhibitor and a professor at Kutztown University who organized the student/alumni booth at the Show – what insights or thoughts can you share about your experience as a juror?
Being a juror is always an enlightening, joyful, and satisfying experience. Having just completed, in the past year- jurying for the PMA Craft show, the inaugural year of the Burke Prize 2018 for MAD, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Jerome Foundation’s project grants for emerging textile/fiber artists at Minneapolis’s Textile Center, and the Peters Valley Craft Fair, I cannot really put into words the unexpected, multidimensional, openness, and expansive nature of the craft movements future. Maybe, a better word here is FUTURES.
The PMA Craft show also encourages dialogue and discussion amongst its jurors which I found to be one of the great delights and important aspects of the process.
Are there any trends you can identify based on this year’s applicants?
I did see artists looking for new ways of using repurposed, recycled and reclaimed material in combination with traditional materials. The continued strength of the emerging artist category is always a bright spot.
What trends are you most excited about in the field of contemporary craft?
Well, I would be remiss if I did not mention the plethora of craft-based reality shows already here and coming our way. Get ready, it is going to be an interesting and bumpy ride! Craft, kraft, makers, crafters, and cræft-will be on full display!
When I cannot sleep at night I try to come up with possible variations on Making It! and the Great British Baking show. My personal favorites so far are Blowing It, Sanding It, and the Real American Quilters of Lancaster County, (the stitchers are vicious and ready for the batting)….with a follow up in Berks county….the possibilities are endless, if not all ridiculous.
If I can get back to being serious!
“Trends” may not be the word I would use here, because some of what is I am seeing and what is happening in the craft field, in regards to diversity, equity and inclusiveness is hopefully beyond trend. In Volume 2, Issue 1 of American Craft Inquiry, we published an essay This Is My Work: The Rise of Women in Woodworking by Anne Carlisle. I would hope everyone would take time to read this essay and support woman makers at all levels in the craft field and at the PMA Craft Show. The contribution of women in our field is one that should be researched, discussed, studied, and, written about many, many times in the future.
I also see a rise of indigenous contemporary makers who are expanding the future of craft, they are engaging communities, interdisciplinary approaches, and sociopolitical commentary in important and diverse ways. Artists like Lily Hope, Marie Watt, and Cannupa Hanska Luger are at the forefront of this important commitment to their cultures and our shared humanities.