This is something that I feel VERY strongly about. I hand-make 95%
of what is in my booth… basically, everything except some of the
manufactured chains that my pendants hang on. And even some of my
chains are hand-made, if it makes sense for the price point of a
particular piece. I don’t farm out the design, casting, fabrication,
finishing, etc. As a result, my pieces are unique creations and I can
speak knowledgeably about all aspects of their design and
I know the old adage that “life isn’t fair.” I realize that at
non-juried shows I’ll be up against buy/sell and all kinds of other
shady stuff, BUT, I expect a level playing field when I’m at a juried
show, particularly one where prizes are being offered and a lot of
publicity is involved. The jury is responsible for having a level of
knowledge that should be able to detect buy/sell merchandise; if they
have any doubts, they should have additional specialist resources
they can call in for consultation.
If they are not staffing the jury adequately for that purpose, then
the organizers need to be informed so that they can look for
different jury qualifications to avoid future embarrassments. If they
are so proud of their show, they have a vested interest in supporting
an appropriate level of integrity in the participating artists. That
doesn’t mean that they need to go back and proclaim their
embarrassment for this year’s faux pas, but they DO need to know that
it happened so that they can take steps to prevent it in the future.
In a mixed-media show, it’s difficult for juries to sometimes have
both broad and deep experience to detect buy/sell. In some media,
that’s easier to detect than others, I’d suspect, although there’s
always the “did the presenting artist do all the work themselves or
do they hire others to do it” question.
To my mind, we (crafts people as a whole) need to be more proactive
in self-policing, not in a mean-spirited way but in a way that
supports and builds the ethics of the group as a whole. If the
misrepresenting exhibitor goes so far as to lie about his/her
hand-work, then what else are they willing to lie about? Whether a
stone is natural or synthetic? Whether the gold is plated or solid?
It becomes an issue of trust.
My recommendation would be to inform the organizers in a letter,
including if possible a copy of the catalog in which you’ve seen the
work in question. Be clear to them that you are informing them
PRIVATELY as a concerned participant who would not want to see their
future endeavors spoiled by unscrupulous exhibitors. Consider even
offering to participate in a future jury pool or make recommendations
for resources they could tap to get the experience to detect such
fraud. They should want to protect their own reputations and should
take appropriate steps.
No Limitations Designs