THE GREENE SHEET
Craft in America
By Anne Mallek
I think I can say with confidence that all of us connected to The Gamble House take great pride in the craftsmanship represented in the House and its furnishings and acknowledge our good fortune in being able to share this great work with the public. So with all of you appreciating the legacy of craft and its history, I thought I would just make sure that you knew a little bit about the local Craft in America phenomenon.
Craft in America is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization “dedicated to the exploration, preservation and celebration of craft and its impact on our nation’s cultural heritage.” It has fostered and furthered the appreciation of craft through a TV series airing on PBS, as well as in several exhibitions and a major publication. The book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects was published in 2007 to coincide with the launch of a seven-city (one of which was San Diego), two-year touring exhibition, Craft in America: Expanding Traditions. Currently, The Craft and Folk Art Museum, in conjunction with Craft in America, has organized the exhibition Golden State of Craft: California 1960-1985.
The TV series is in its third season, broadcasting in May and again this October on PBS. Each program is governed by a single theme such as “Process,” “Origins,” or “Community”; October 17th will bring airing of the program on “Family.” Each features a variety of craftsmen–in clay, wood, metal, glass, and fiber as well as in the paper and book arts–whose work is connected with that program’s theme. Episode 1 of the first series, “Memory,” featured woodworker Sam Maloof, among others. It was the imminent opening of the Maloof exhibition at The Huntington that reminded me of this wonderful series, or what might better be called “initiative.” I have sat spellbound before several of the programs, all of which speak to the meaning of craft and its significance in our personal and collective history.
As we continue to share the beautiful and careful craftsmanship represented by The Gamble House with others, I hope that you will all continue to explore the enduring tradition of craft in this country. If you tune in to the program in October, or any number of the video excerpts on the Craft in America website (www.craftinamerica.org), and find yourselves as enthralled as I was when I first watched, I have it on good authority that our bookstore will soon be carrying copies of the DVDs. Thank you again for all that you do in support of craft, and happy viewing, visiting, and reading!