Beyond the studio: NBCCD Craft Sale

Stills of the NBCCD Annual Craft Sale, held at the George Fry Gallery on 408 Queen Street. (Submitted: Kelly Baker)

Embarking on a journey of artistic expression and entrepreneurial spirit, 19 students at the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design (NBCCD) took part in the school’s 31st annual craft sale from Nov. 17 to 19. 

The students participated as part of their experiential learning assignment, which they take for their entrepreneurship courses. Students had to organize and run every aspect of a craft sale — planning, merchandising, packing and selling. 

The NBCCD Craft Sale showcases students’ work in textile design, jewelry, metal arts and ceramics.

Brooxxie Ross, a graduating textile design student, said she describes her design style as a representation of her lived experiences. She starts by getting her color palettes and then deciding what kind of clothes she can make like arm-warmers and head-quarters. 

“I designed them around post-traumatic stress disorder or depression,” she said. “So I put certain colors that represent those experiences in my head and I start creating my pieces around them.”

For her, mental health became the starting point for the creation of her textiles. 

“I went through the process of figuring out what comes with these experiences. I started thinking of running through the woods. What would you need? You would need to be warmed when you aren’t. [That inspires me] to make something that will keep people warm in the cold,” she said.

Ross saw the sale as an opportunity to put her designs out there, which is an important experience for students.

“There’s a lot to consider when you are selling your work,” said the graduating jewelry student Rebecca Blankert.

For her, technology is an essential tool to market themselves online in an innovative way. However, Blankert added they learned to understand their customers and focus their media content on a specific market.

“My style is inspired by dreams,” she said. “Storytelling, the supernatural and fantasy.”

She uses different techniques in her work to achieve softness and rich color in her pieces. Blankert added Chasing and Repousse, a process of hammering images into the metal, is one of her favourite methods of making jewelry.

Between her different pieces of work she showcased on the sale, Blankert said one of her special pieces is some clouds with moons embedded inside them, being her partner who inspired her to create it.

“I’m truly inspired by [my partner] stories. This piece has a fantasy element that represents the things he’s pursuing at work and all the stories he tells about dreams.” 

As part of the process to get ready for the sale, Blankert said her and other students started by getting into the production, design and experimenting with different materials and shapes to make something authentic. 

“You want to make something unique, beautiful, eye-catching, but you also have to consider time and the price,” she said.

For Blankert, this sale was an interesting experience, because it requires creativity as part of the designing process and technical skills. She added in this experience she had the opportunity to take everything she learned and put it into “real-world events.” 

“I like to make things that make people laugh and smile. I want people to feel their creative spirit has just been pinged by looking at my pieces or wearing them.”