It’s hard to believe that Craft in America has aired on PBS for ten years! What a grand experience these ten years have been! The objects on display for the 10thAnniversary Exhibition at the Craft in America Center on West Third Street in Los Angeles are testament to ten years well spent. The exhibition highlights several of the objects that were made by artists featured in the series, which now has nineteen episodes! I’m especially grateful for the beautiful way the pieces are mounted and I thank Emily Zaiden, our director and her staff Brenda Cruz, Alex Miller, and Alexandra Felix for making each object stand out and be wonderful!
When I look at the pieces in the exhibition, I remember filming with the makers and the challenges as well as the joys those filming excursions offered us. I remember filming in the glass shop at Urban Glass where Beth Lipman created her Centerpiece with Bananas, Pears and Grapes. Urban Glass is run by a great group of gaffers who helped Beth form the components and construct the centerpiece, which evokes feelings of grandeur and excess. My Vanishing Point, Joe Cunningham’s quilt, alludes to life and its journey to the afterlife, represented by a path of Japanese fabric squares meandering across the abstract quilt that serves as life’s terrain.
Mary Jackson’s handwoven sweetgrass baskets recall a three hundred year history of struggle and exemplify Mary’s superb artistic technique. Albert Paley, whose monumental sculptures we filmed on Park Avenue in New York City, is represented by a hand-forged menorah that harkens back to his early work as a blacksmith. When I look at Ehren Tool’s handmade cups, each with imagery of war, I remember him saying that the cup is the right sized object to start a “hand-to-hand” discussion about war and its effects on society. And Judas Recendez’s large vase attests to the talent and determination this Iraq War veteran has. Many of the pieces on display, all handmade, evoke memories of their production. What wonderful memories they are!
We’re especially happy to have finally mastered the QR code process and it is available for the objects in the exhibition, taking visitors to the artists’ segments on www.craftinamerica.org where they can experience these same pieces being crafted. Other events planned for our 10th Anniversary include marathon screenings of the Craft in America episodes and a concert at El Pueblo Historical Monument. To learn about all of our 10th Anniversary events, click here.
In 1996, when I began to think about a television program to present the crafts, I had no idea that a topic like the handmade, important to some of us, would be important to so many people. We tend to think of craft as hiding in plain sight. We are thrilled that it has come out from under the radar to shine!
-Carol Sauvion, Executive Director & Director of Craft in America