Filming State of Oregon Craft
Portland-based Blacktop Films produces the visuals behind State of Oregon Craft.
Process is an important aspect of craft. The story of a crafted object’s making, and its makers, is often necessary to grasp its significance. To address this need, Museum of Contemporary Craft educates its visitors about the community of people that surrounds an object. Its latest exhibition, State of Oregon Craft, presents a particularly strong case for this approach to curation.
Oregon is a state filled with makers. From Pendleton to Otis to Eugene, diverse communities are united and interconnected by craft. Aware of the importance of the people behind the pottery, saddle, or neon glass skeleton — examples of which are on display at the Museum —, curators Nicole Nathan and Namita Gupta Wiggers traveled around the state to visit the places where Oregon craft is being made. Portland-based production company Blacktop Films accompanied the curators on every stop of their pilgrimage. They were enlisted to create films that tell the stories and profile the artists and artisans behind the objects on view in State of Oregon Craft. The result is an exhibition that unifies maker with object.
Each member of the Blacktop Films crew sports an artistic background, and two of the group are graduates of Pacific Northwest College of Art. Perfectly equipped to work alongside curators, Blacktop Films was involved from the earliest stages of the exhibition’s design. Says producer Cintamani Calise, “Considering the museum-goers experience was a big part of our film design. Most people will come in and browse through the various parts of the exhibit, passing each piece swiftly and usually moving through a crowd. This means that the museum environment is best for a short film (less than 5 minutes) and less dialogue with more emphasis on visuals.”
State of Oregon Craft is a rich, cinematic exploration of context and location. Objects and films combine to create a holistic experience that deepens our appreciation of Oregon as a hub for makers from all backgrounds.