Jennifer Ling Datchuk on Supporting Unique Voices in Craft

Jennifer Ling Datchuk on Supporting Unique Voices in Craft

Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Gurl Power

Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Gurl Power, 2016, Chinese porcelain, ceramic decals, gold luster, 9 x 8 x 5 in.

Ansen Seale

The American Craft Council has always played an instrumental role in supporting artists by creating opportunities for us to live and sustain creative lives. I could feel this mentality when I first touched American Craft magazine and saw the sensitivity and thoughtfulness used in telling artists’ stories. I often flip through American Craft to find inspiration and end up getting lost in the pages. So when I learned that I was one of the newest Emerging Voices awardees, I almost didn’t believe it.

These awards recognize one artist and one scholar, along with four finalists, who are still developing and defining their work and careers. The award includes a feature story in American Craft, inclusion in a limited-edition catalogue, and a cash prize. Recognition from such a prestigious organization is humbling and inspiring.

The Emerging Voices Awards are vital to the craft community because they provide the next generation of makers and thinkers with a national spotlight, opening doors to new opportunities and cultivating meaningful discussions on political and personal narratives within art.

Many times, the authenticity of my work is questioned because both my identity and my practice defy traditional categorization. As someone who is biracial, the core issues I explore in my work – race, gender, and identity – can be uncomfortable to discuss.

The Emerging Voices Award has allowed me to honor the story of my family and my own identity, while providing a platform for my work to reach a larger audience – one that is searching for work that addresses these themes of ambiguity, displacement, and otherness.

Supporting the American Craft Council means that you support the voices of unique and underrepresented artists, as well as an organization that champions the diversity of craft disciplines and traditions through its library, publications, shows, and awards. The Council continues to prove its dedication to supporting artists with its resources and programming because, like the history of craft shows us, the objects we make, the stories we tell, and the techniques we learn make us the cultural producers of our time.

Each of us has our own unique connection to craft. I hope you will find what inspires you and join me in support of the American Craft Council.

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