September 30, 2010

An Interview with the CraftTexas Jurors, Part III

CraftTexas 2010 is the sixth in a series of juried exhibitions showcasing the best in Texas-made contemporary craft. To give our audiences a better understanding of the jury process, our three jurors have agreed to answer a few questions.

Below is an interview with Paula Owen. Paula is the president of the Southwest School of Arts and Crafts in San Antonio and a practicing artist. She has also chaired the Cultural Alliance of San Antonio, and served as project director for the Women and the Craft Arts National Conference at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Were you familiar with the exhibit CraftTexas Series from Houston Center for Contemporary Craft before being asked to be a juror?

Oh yes! You can’t be a craft aficionado in Texas without knowing about CraftTexas. I know many of the artists who have been selected in the past and have always been impressed with the range and quality of the work.

When reviewing CraftTexas 2010 entries, did you see any common themes in the works submitted?

In my experience as an educator, curator and writer, I have found that there tend to be trends within disciplines. A certain style or technique will dominate for a while in fiber or painting or ceramics, etc. However, in an exhibition that includes a broad array of art forms and materials, it is less common to see similar themes. Having said that…works of art in general are very often drawn from personal experience and nature.

How did you choose what entries received the highest marks?

Judging is not an exact science, of course. One must use both cognitive and intuitive knowledge and draw from one’s own experience. In my case, as an artist myself, I have preferences for works that convey ideas, originality, command of the medium, and something that’s hard to describe – eccentricity, perhaps? It’s that unexpected element that stops you in your tracks.

What advice would you give artists wanting to enter CraftTexas 2012, or juried exhibits in general?

Naturally, your images need to be superb. Good lighting can make or break your chances of being selected. I suggest that you find a professional photographer. Also, most artists are too close to their own work to see it clearly and should invite critique from other artists. This step can help in one’s overall evolution as an artist and in deciding on which works to submit.

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