AMERICAN CRAFT COUNCIL
Five Questions with Carol Sauvion
By Jessica Shaykett
October 28, 2014
Recently, the American Craft Council staff had the opportunity to get a sneak peek of Craft in America‘s latest episode, SERVICE, which premieres November 2 on PBS. We all were captivated by the amazing stories of veterans finding their voices through the act of making. SERVICE documents such an important aspect of American craft history, we just had to talk to Craft in America‘s creator and executive producer, Carol Sauvion, to get the inside scoop:
What was the impetus for the theme of SERVICE?
We at Craft in America were aware that the Army Arts and Crafts Program was begun by General Frederick Osborn, Aileen Osborn Webb’s brother. The program introduced thousands of soldiers to the crafts, and (we believe) influenced some of them to study art under the G.I. Bill. Starting in the late 1940s and after many wars, including Korea, Vietnam, and present day conflicts, the G.I. Bill has educated many of the leaders of the modern craft movement. This is a story that needed to be told.
What were some of your favorite/most memorable moments during the filming of SERVICE?
Each segment of the episode has moments that we will never forget: Ehren Tool riding his bicycle to work in the ceramics department at Berkeley – the bicycle looks like a two-wheeled tank! Pam De Luco’s insistence that all the women in the Paper Doll Project be given equal opportunity to tell their stories. Judas Recendez’s determination to wear his prostheses during filming rather than taking the easier way in his wheelchair. The dedication to service shown by the military personnel at Fort Myer. Mr. Eugene Burks’ dedication to tradition, and his mention of learning his craft from his grandmother. Every person featured in this episode inspired our film crew to make the best film we possibly could.
Part of the episode is on the G.I. Bill and the Army Arts and Crafts Program. How did you go about researching these historic initiatives?
We feel that the segment on the Army Arts and Crafts Program is an introduction to a long and important history of craft in our country. We began our research with information provided by the America Craft Council. American Craft magazine has published important information on this Army initiative and the program still exists almost 75 years after it was first instituted. We also contacted people within and outside the Army who had experience with the program either as teachers, students, or military family members.
What do you hope the audience will take away from watching SERVICE?
We hope that the audience will be inspired by the stories in the episode, and that it will reaffirm the idea that craft is everywhere and important.
What’s next for Craft in America?
The story of American craft is endless. We’ll continue to explore and document as we present stories of the human need to create. New episodes presenting the finest artists and ideas will be our focus.
SERVICE is part of the PBS veterans initiative Stories of Service and the CPB initiative Veterans Coming Home. It premieres on November 2, 2014, at 10:30 p.m. on PBS. Check your local listings for air dates and times or view the full episode online after November 3, 2014.