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State of Craft Interview

Carol Krochak

Potter, Director of the Burklyn Arts Guild, Founder of Northeast Kingdom Artists Guild
Dates Active: 1960s on

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About the Burklyn Arts Council years
Things work better when there's a grass-roots effort and lots of people are pitching in. I just think that that approach to projects, democracy, is basic tenet and I suggested to the (Burklyn Arts Council) board that they not have me be Executive Director and they figure out a way to divide up into strong functional committees and that's the way it's been since then.

About the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild
What's remarkable about (the Northeast Kingdom Artisans' Guild) that because we are working artisans, the folks who come in always hear our story. You know, they pick up something and you can say something about that person and that process and their eyes just light up... it becomes that network of stories and community that I think we all value, really value, especially here.

About the benefit of artist run cooperatives
The Artisan's Hand in Montpelier...started out as a strong cooperative. And that's what works. I mean, people who-what's the phrase? who really get it. I mean, they understand what it means to be a consignment artist; there's this tremendous sense of respect back and forth.

About her life in craft.
At that time I was making some of these small porcelain ornaments which people now know me as Horizon Porcelain and it wasn't a plan, it wasn't anything that we thought: Hm! This is going to be a good business. Not at all. It just happened. I made a few, took them some places: Frog Hollow, Windsor, little craft shows. And they sold and it was something that I could do.

There was a kind of a credibility in the craft world when you're a potter. To make the switch to being an ornament-maker was, mm! not easy and, yet, it was working very well for my became really successful and it allowed us to have this teamwork that we could do together and it just grew. It sort of took on a life of its own and now, years's hard to believe how many years I've doing this and people will say to me, "Wow, you've been making ornaments for that long?" And it does surprise me. I think we'll probably be doing this until we can't, frankly.

Once that door was opened, I mean, it almost was cataclysmic, the series of things that made my life change... sometimes, depending on my mood, it looks very courageous and other times it impetuous.

All of us who've been privileged to get this far have an obligation to somehow be advocates for the next phase, however that's going to come, the next group of people who want to try to live this kind of authentic, hands-on life.