Profound Sadness at the passing of Dr Sandra Alfoldy

It is with a very heavy heart that I acknowledge the untimely passing of Dr Sandra Alfoldy on February 24, 2019.  Sandra championed Canadian crafts and their history in every class she taught at NSCAD, in every public paper she delivered, and in her books.  She was immensely helpful to me in my research on Vietnam resisters that had moved into the Kootenays.  Sandra grew up there, and her Master’s thesis, Theory and Craft: A Case Study of the Kootenay Christmas Faire for Concordia University in 1997 came from her intimate knowledge of the event.  Her parents, fine crafters, were inspirational to her.  In that document, she states:  “Through years of active involvement in British Columbia’s Kootenay Christmas Faire, held annually since 1974 in Nelson, I became aware of a concern in the craft world that the introduction of theory into studies of craft would disregard practice. This fear was combined with resentment as artisans perceived
a hierarchically-based disdain toward the crafts and their producers. For years this
has led to a self-referential “art-versus-craft” debate which is not only counterproductive, but also leaves the area of craft under-explored in the institutional and academic art world.”  This was early Alfoldy and her research and her belief that craft could be part of a contemporary art world with all of its theories guided her creative research.  She was, at the time of her passing, looking to the Great Exhibition of 1851 and a response from the colonies (Canada).  Her thoughts on this will be missed, and the craft community in Canada will struggle to find such a remarkable advocate as Alfoldy.

Author: maryannsteggles

I am a writer and occasional maker working with clay. I received my PhD from the University of Leicester in art history as a Commonwealth Scholar from Canada to the UK. Since then I have taught art history and ceramics until August 2020 when I returned to full-time writing. The giant umbrella under which I work is contemporary ceramics with an emphasis on wood firing, women who wood fire, the contributions of Vietnam Resisters on Canadian ceramics, and ceramics and sustainability.

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