A Celebration of Applied Art + Design

What is applied art and design you ask?  

As the 2020 Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design opens nominations for the program, it’s an important question to ask.

Applied art and design is the intersection of design and function where the creation of beautiful pieces have practical applications. It’s seen in the svelte sofa of furniture designer Sholto Scruton, the soothing vessel shapes and finishes created by ceramicist Gordon Hutchens, the eco-friendly cork clothing of fashion designer Morgan Mallett and the transformative prosthetic leg covers of McCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda. These are just a few examples, all of whom also happen to be the awardees of last year’s Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design. 

Sam Carter, whose name is synonymous with the award program itself, talks about art, craft and design as trilogy that results in something beautiful. Sam is an advocate for applied art and design in Canada and has devoted his career to creating, teaching and promoting applied art and design. In Fall 2019, as a panelist for the Carter Wosk exhibition, Sam spoke of one of his earlier trips to Japan. There he gained appreciation of ‘the people’s art’ ‘Mingei’ where practical items like washing and utensils were looked at in a more beautiful way. In viewing functional items like these in a more magical way, applied art and design elevates the functional aspect of current culture and celebrates it. 

Renée Macdonald, shoe designer and 2015 awardee, was also a panelist at last Fall’s Carter Wosk exhibition. She defined applied art and design as using your craft to make something beautiful, practical and functional. Renée makes bespoke leather shoes and is inspired by her client’s desire to have something unique and of high quality. 

In these times it is important to support artists who create art, who make the functional things fun, innovative and more beautiful. Now more than ever, awards like the Applied Art + Design Award, create a space for shared inspiration, encourage mutual support amongst artists, and provide an opportunity to appreciate the beauty in this time of chaos. 

The Award highlights people creating art, celebrating culture and enhancing the cultural economy of BC. And now that nominations are open online, it’s your chance to share the achievements of an artist, perhaps your own. This province is filled with wonderfully creative people who create practical art and you can help elevate excellence through their work by nominating them for the 2020 Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design#nominatenow

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