PBS premiere: Friday, April 21, 2017 (*check local listings)

The beauty of the natural world – its colors, textures, shapes, even scents and tastes – have, since the beginning of recorded history, inspired artists to produce works of astonishing dimension and power. Working with the traditional craft materials of clay, wood, metal, glass and fiber as well as new materials, the artists profiled in NATURE challenge viewers to reassess their relationship to the natural world. They are eloquent crafters of the on-going conversation. Craft in America: NATURE premieres primetime, April 21, 2017 at 9pm* nationwide and is followed by Craft in America: MUSIC at 10pm. (*check local listings)

Patrick Dougherty was raised in the woodlands of North Carolina which deeply affected his choice of materials. He studied art history and sculpture at the University of North Carolina. Combining carpentry skills with his love of nature, Dougherty began to learn about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. Soon, his work evolved into monumental scale environmental works which required saplings by the truckloads. Over the last thirty years, he has built over 250 of these works, and his work has garnered international acclaim. He has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Princeton Architectural Press published a major book about Patrick and his work in 2009. “I think that part of my work’s allure is its impermanence, the life cycle that is built into the growth and decay of saplings.”

Michelle Holzapfel uses the materials, tools and techniques of woodworking to render images from daily life: textile, plant, animal and human forms. This vocabulary emphasizes the tactile possibilities of wood: from smoothly pleated forms and carved basketweave motifs to corduroy-textured surfaces. In 1976, Michelle and David Holzapfel opened Applewoods’ Studio and Gallery in the southern Green Mountains of Vermont. Their handmade/hard-carved furniture and vessels can be found in the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Art and Design in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum Washington, DC in addition to numerous businesses and private homes throughout North America.

Fiber artist Mary Merkel-Hess makes sculptural vessels and wall pieces inspired by the landscape of Iowa where she was born, raised and still lives. She has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions and her pieces are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA; Racine Museum of Art, Racine, WI; and the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

Preston Singletary’s work is ground-breaking. He has invented many layering and etching techniques while creating his stunning glass forms embellished with strong Tlingit images of his Native American culture. His practice and work continue to evolve, connecting his personal cultural perspective to modern art movements. He is regarded as an important influence on contemporary indigenous art. Recognized internationally, Singletary’s artworks are included in museum collections such as The British Museum, London, UK, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, the Mint Museum of Art and Design, Charlotte, NC, the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. In 2009, a mid-career survey of his work was held at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA. Additionally, he teaches, lectures and accepts commissions. “Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight”will be exhibited in 2018 at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA.

Catherine Alice Michaelis launched May Day Press on May 1st, 1992. She prints on a Vandercook 4 proof press and a 10×15 C & P letterpress and is located near Shelton, WA by the South Salish Sea, working “amidst cedars, ravens, and eagles overhead, and trilliums, salal, and mahonia underfoot”.  In 2011, to re-inform her art practice, she undertook the study of film, video and creative non-fiction writing. “Through artist books my creative worlds merge: I gravitate to plants for image making, immerse myself in research, collect, and write stories. I bring image and text together through needle and thread, highlighting sewing in much of my work. Recently influenced by early 20th century poets and book artists who were inspired by the moving image at the advent of film and who largely drove the experimental film movement in Europe, I straddle the 15th century of letterpress and the 21st century of film and videography, reveling in moving word and image on the screen through light, sound, and color.”  “Imprinted & Unbound” was shown recently at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bainbridge Island, WA. Her work is featured in numerous prominent art collections – public and private.


CRAFT IN AMERICA is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing original handcrafted work through the Peabody Award-winning documentary series on PBS nationwide and the free-to-the-public Craft in America Center located in Los Angeles, which offers artist talks, exhibitions, workshops and a library. With seventeen episodes produced since 2007, CRAFT IN AMERICA takes viewers on a journey to the artists, origins and techniques of American craft. Each episode contains stories from diverse regions and cultures, blending history with living practice and exploring issues of identity, ritual, philosophy and creative expression. Our websites and provide all episodes,  hours of online videos and interactive learning materials, as well as object exhibitions, artist information,  the Random House book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects, and other Craft in America publications.

Nature: Highlights from the Episode gathers together the work of the artists who are featured in the episode. These artists explore the beauty and wonder of the natural world. This exhibition opens March 18, 2017 thru May 13, 2017 at the Craft in America Center (8415 W. Third St. Los Angeles, CA 90048).

For more about Craft in America:

Photos courtesy of Mark Markley, Michelle Holzapfel, Brianna Brough/Chapel Hill Magazine, Russell Johnson

Please contact for art and interviews: (310) 659-9022
Carol Sauvion, Executive Producer: Beverly Feldman, Press:

Additional images of all the artists’ work are available on Dropbox (74 MB):