Is it art or is it craft? Or is it arty craft? Crafty art? Agh, that debate will make your head spin. Let’s just say the pieces at “CraftTexas 2012,” opening Friday at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, are beautiful and well done. Take for example, Paula Gron’s oversized My Toothbrush, seen above. It’s a whimsical take on a traditional dental utensil. It has a wooden handle (so far, so good, sounds like craft), but instead of plastic or even wire bristles, it has found tree branches held in place by a basket weave (okay, now it’s art). “I think it’s a nice play on materials,” says Anna Walker, curator for HCCC. “She has a real mastery of basket weaving and she does something different with it.”
“Some people might think of craft as always being functional, we don’t take that stance,” Walker says. She points to two works by Danny Kamerath. One, Jill, is a usable chair made of hickory. Another, Table for Two, is a miniature set of two chairs and a table carved out of a stump of Yaupon holly. “The artist is working with wood in both pieces,” says Walker. “While one piece is functional and one is not, they’re both coming out of traditions of craft. And the functional chair, even though it can be used, it’s certainly an artistic expression.”
The opening for “CraftTexas 2012” is 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday. During the reception, three artists will be presented with the jurors’ Award of Merit prizes. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through December 30. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main. For information, visit the center’s website or call 713-529-4848.
By Olivia Flores Alvarez for the Houston Press