Craft excellence to be celebrated

The inaugural National Premier Craft Competition in 2017 attracted almost 800 entries and organisers John Anthony Boerma and Jan Bhuda of Art Aid Africa are confident that even more crafters will seize the opportunity offered by the 2018 competition to showcase their creativity and skill.

Jan explains that for some years, South Africa did not have a national platform to highlight the very best the country’s crafters have to offer. Both dedicated craft ambassadors who are passionate about upskilling the sector, John Anthony and Jan were ecstatic when the organisers of the National Innibos Arts Festival agreed to host a country-wide craft competition under its auspices in 2017.

Sandra Jacobs, one of the founders of Innibos, explains that when Innibos was launched a decade ago, it set out to provide a platform for the development and enjoyment of all genres of art. “The craft competition is thus a natural evolution of Innibos,” she says.

In July this year, Jan and John Anthony stood in awe as their dream of seeing the country’s world-class crafters being recognised by an audience of the peers came true at the inaugural awards evening held in Nelspruit.

Both men hope that the 2018 competition will attract even more entries. They have made the entry process as easy as possible to ensure that the competition is accessible to everyone.

What entrants need to know

Crafters have until April 20, 2018, to enter. They need simply take a photo of their entry – next to a matchbox for size of scale, and either email it to crafts@innibos.co.za or send it to 071 621 3597 via MMS or WhatsApp. There is no entry fee.

Remember to include your name, the town in which you live and your contact details.

Entrants who have not heard from the organisers within 30 days of the closing date must take it as given that they did not make the shortlist for final judging. Sixty entries will be shortlisted and these will form part of an exhibition to be held in Mbombela during the Innibos National Arts Festival from June 24 to 30, 2018.

The finalists must be available to attend the awards evening on Sunday, June 24, at which the winners will be announced.

The winner of the Platinum Award will receive R50 000, the Gold Award winner will pocket R20 000 and the Silver R15 000. There will also be merit awards for the Best Emerging Craftsmen, along with sound financial advice to grow their business. In addition, a Craft Retail Apprenticeship with Tourvest Destination Retail will be bestowed on one of the winners.

Entries in the disciplines of Ceramics, Beadwork, Wirework, Wood, Jewellery, Paper, Fabric Painting and Printing, Quilting, Leatherwork, Pewter, Glasswork, Embroidery and Mixed Media are invited.

The judges

A panel of judges with a passion for developing South Africa’s creative talent has been convened, including: Harrie Siertsema (Delagoa Trading, collector and art patron), Wendy Goldblatt (internationally-known ceramist), Maureen Waldeck (Brand Manager for Tourvest Destination Retail’s stores and retail brands and a seasoned retailer with an exceptional eye for merchandise), Joseph Mathe (National Department of Arts and Culture: Responsible for the development of crafts), Thabo Manetsi (Director: Western and Northern Cape provinces – Leading in Heritage Development) and Fran Stewart (Craft + Design Institute’s Market Support Programme Manager).

“Crafts are not curios,” stresses John Anthony. “They are unique, beautifully constructed pieces that combine cultural heritage with contemporary sophistication and technical skill. We were blown away by the quality of many of the entries that came our way in 2017 and know that next year we will be equally impressed; such is the level of skill among South Africa’s crafters.”

For information, please contact Jan Bhuda on 083 719 1731 or e-mail John Anthony Boerma at artaid@lantic.net.  Also, please LIKE the craft competition Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Innibosnationalcraftawards/ and follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/InnibosCA