5.01.2007

Featured Art Site: Black Crafters Guild


Departing a bit, but not too far from the Featured Artist interviews, today I'm featuring my interview with Cheryl Edwards, a Canadian artist and creator of the Black Crafters Guild. I found BCG about a year ago, and I've joined the African and African American artists and artisans on the site, which showcases a wide variety of hand crafted work.
How did you come up with the idea for the Black Crafters Guild?

As an African Diasporan craftsperson in Canada, I've been rather
isolated and felt that surely there were others in the same boat. Other Black crafters who wanted to network, do group crafting activities, etc.

How did you go about discovering artists?
I primarily searched the Internet. I've also attended events where there would likely be artisan/crafter vendors.

What requirements did you set up for accepting artists?

Artisans must create, decorate, or artistically alter items with their
own hands. For access to the networking directory and other aspects of the members-only area online, they must have provided a photo of their work as well as a valid contact info. If they want a web store, they must also provide a valid non-P.O. box mailing address.

What has been the reaction to BCG? Of artists? Of visitors?
A couple of visitors have been ecstatic about the site. So many of us in one spot! It's handy. Artisans have reacted positively for the most part. They're glad that the resource exists.

What do you see as the future for BCG?

I see an expansion of membership as well as implementation of programs
such as Afrocentric craft workshops for families and adults. I also see BCG holding a public event annually in Canada and/or the U.S.

How has BCG changed your life?
It has given me hope. I knew that there were tons of us out there, but how many would want to be "serious" about their crafting I was unsure about. BCG has inspired me, as a crafter. I find it moving to look at our site and see so many of us, talented, gifted, diligent ... it makes me smile in awe.

I hope you'll visit the Black Crafters Guild site, and view the work of the artists Cheryl has assembled. It'll make you smile, too.


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