Last night's Craft Victoria Annual Lecture was a special occasion. The series began 10 year's ago with a lecture by Peter Dormer, the English craft critic. Sadly he died six months after giving his memorable talk in Melbourne. This anniversary lecture was delivered by English craft writer Tanya Harrod, who herself organises the Peter Dormer memorial lecture in London.
She asked: "...craft, with its fragile identity, is a good barometer of current anxieties in a world over which we apparently have little control. The idea of craft currently has resonance with environmentalists and sociologists and is invoked poetically by writers on design, photography, fine art and New Media. But where does this interest in process and laborious physical involvement leave the craft world and its sophisticated, singular objects?"
This 'fragile identity' was the subject of much debate afterwards. Those who had invested their lives in the slow accretion of skill felt a little left out by this equation. Others found it reinforced the experimental craft that had begun to flourish in Australia. All good for discussion and a healthy reminder of its relevance.