1. Visual Arts

Florida Craftsmen to auction fine craft art online

Ceramic sculpture by William Kidd is available in the online auction.
Ceramic sculpture by William Kidd is available in the online auction.
Published Mar. 25, 2014

Live auctions are common in the art world but Florida Craftsmen has one that doesn't require a paddle or your presence. • Now, and through April 4, 12 excellent examples of fine craft are offered up in an online auction, the 21st century version of the traditional silent auction. These crave-worthy works are in traditional craft media — fiber, wood, ceramics, glass and jewelry — created by stellar Florida craftsmen.

The artists are Susan Banks, Rocky Bridges, John Mascoll, Sang Roberson, William Kidd, Pam Fox, Duncan McClellan, Akiko Sugiyama, Sarah Butz, Brice Dyer and Robin Pelszynski. In its evolution, craft has stretched its definition as a functional object. Today, they occupy a hybrid space between traditional craft and fine art. Vases, for example, are sometimes better termed as vessels.

Florida Craftsmen executive director Diane Shelly says that each artist created a work especially for this event (and jeweler Sarah Butz created two), "not something that they pulled from their inventory."

They were first going to be silent-auctioned at a gala which, Shelly says, was downsized to an intimate gathering of donors, too small for an auction. And besides, why not give the non-gala-going crowd an equal shot at owning one of these beauties?

So up they went online. You can view them at or live at the gallery, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The bidding process is simple, too. When you scroll through the online gallery, you'll see the retail value and the current high bid. (Often in these auctions, the bids exceed estimated value.) Then you can register to bid. The value of the piece determines the increments you make in bidding and range from $25 to $150.

The gallery is having a free reception and wrapup, with raffles of more fine craft, on April 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. Online bidding ends at 7:20 p.m. Guests can continue to bid until 7:30 p.m. or you may phone in a bid until 7:30 p.m.: (727)821-7391.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at or (727) 893-8293.