A Fine Line celebrates in an accessible popular history the accomplishments of contemporary fine craftspeople. Using Ontario as a base, the book examines how the public eagerly embraced the work of craft designers and makers, starting with the first major craft exhibit in Toronto in 1931 at Ridpaths, and following the story from those beginnings to the present. There has never been a comprehensive book on contemporary studio crafts in any Canadian province; one is long overdue. A Fine Line places potters, weavers, textile printers, bookbinders, metalsmiths, blown glass artists, stained glass artists, furniture makers, and many more into the larger context of the crafts movement in Ontario in the second half of this century. The book features six decades of outstanding work by Ontario's designer-craftspeople in colour and in black-and-white photographs. The book also highlights the individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the developing craft and design scene. From the book: "For as long as contemporary crafts have been with us, people have tried to define exactly what they are.
Because the word itself -- stemming from the Saxon 'kraft' meaning power -- is both deceptively simple and ambiguous, crafts defy pigeonholing and codification. Certain to ignite a heated discussion is any request for crafts people -- and the appreciative public in general -- to describe what they mean by craft. The closer they think they are to resolving the question, the more complicated it all becomes. Embracing a range of interpretations and types of work, crafts proffer a treasure trove of concepts, value systems, philosophies, materials, techniques, processes -- what British editor and craft authority Martina Margetts calls 'a confluence of factors.'"
Gail Crawford is a craft journalist who was Director of Publications at the Ontario Crafts Council prior to researching and writing this profile of contemporary studio crafts. In that capacity, she visited many of Ontario's craft communities and is thoroughly familiar with studio craftspeople and their achievements.