Canadian Craft and Museum Practice, 1900-1950

By Flood, Sandra; Willmott, Cory Silverstein | Anthropologica, January 1, 2003 | Go to article overview

Canadian Craft and Museum Practice, 1900-1950


Flood, Sandra, Willmott, Cory Silverstein, Anthropologica


Sandra Flood, Mercury Series Paper 74, Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2001, xv + 335 pages, ISSN 0317-2244 (paper).

Reviewer: Cory Silverstein Willmott University of Manitoba

In Canadian Craft and Museum Practice, 1900-1950, Sandra Flood investigates the relationship between craft and museum communities in Canada during the first half of the 20th century. Her thesis assumes that museum collections are influential in "assigning cultural and economic value to practice" because they function as the collective memory of a nation's material culture. She therefore asks to what extent these two communities share an understanding of "craft," and to what degree Canadian museums recognized craft activity by collecting and displaying craft works (p. 1). She pursues these two questions through a survey and analysis of contemporaneous published discourse on crafts (chap. 2), a survey of Canadian craft production arranged according to socio-economic contexts of production (chap. 3), a series of detailed case studies of institutions that supported craft production and/or display (chap. 4) and of educational institutions that offered advanced training in craft skills (chap. 5), as well as an overview and case studies of museums that housed and displayed craft collections (chap. 6).

In the first chapter, Flood reminds readers of the fragility and infancy of Canada during the early 20th century. The unification of the fledgling nation was merely a matter of political and economic convenience rather than common cause or enemy. Its development was impeded by vast geographical distances, as well as regional, ethnic and religious differences. It was not until the early 20th century that Canada achieved a cohesive form. Even so, it was still a "Dominion," that is, a politically autonomous colony of Britain. The sense of "Empire" was reflected in the influence of the British Arts and Crafts Movement on the formation of craft advocacy groups and the immigration of master craft workers from the Mother Country. As well, preferential tariffs and British guilds ensured that the influx of British craft products undersold those produced in Canada.

In order to grasp the meaning of "craft" during the period under discussion, Flood undertook a quantitative analysis of themes that occurred in 92 contemporaneous publications on crafts. These themes are: "concerns about skills and traditions and their loss; the contribution of craft production to the national economy; the contribution of craft to industry through the improvement of design; the benefits of craft as an occupation; handcraft as embracing a universal, participatory community; and craftspeople's role in the establishment and constitution of a distinctive, inclusive Canadian culture;...the link between craft and rural life;...[and] the changing location of craft in relation to fine art" (pp. 31-32). Flood's analysis shows that despite rhetoric about the universality of Canadian craft production, the majority of literature emanated from an educated, well-to-do elite centred in Montreal who were primarily interested in the picturesque "folk arts" of the rural Habitants (pp. 54-55).

Recognizing that publications do not adequately represent the extent and scope of craft production during the period, in chapter 3 Flood turns to newspapers, magazines and agricultural exhibition prize lists for additional information. These sources proved fruitful in discovering both the variety and quantity of craft production across the nation. Flood presents her findings for various types of craft, which include textiles, woodworking, metalwork and glass, under several categories of craft production: "Crafts for a living," "The Domestic Economy [sic]," "Leisure activities," "General craft education and therapy" and "Community projects." Flood observes that a disproportionate amount of the craft activities reported in these sources consisted of women's textile arts. Although these were undervalued in the public realm, in the domestic realm they were used to destruction. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Canadian Craft and Museum Practice, 1900-1950
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.