Join Austin Creative Reuse for an exclusive evening with Austin-based reuse artist, Calder Kamin. They will be screening one of Craft in America’s newest episodes, PLAY. It features Calder and follows the creation of her installation, “Once Upon a Time in the Future,” which is currently on display at ACR. Meet Calder, make a unicorn brooch from reuse materials and see the episode before it airs for the public.
Friday, November 17th, 2023
6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Austin Creative Reuse
2005 Wheless LaneAustin, TX, 78723
6 pm: Doors open, Make a unicorn brooch from reuse materials with the Artist
7 pm: Screening
8 pm: Q&A with the Artist
This is a free event with donations gratefully accepted. Suggested donation: $5
All ages welcome!
This is an outdoor event. Please bring a lawn chair and dress for the weather. Rain date: Sunday, November 19, 2023
This project has been financed in whole or in part by the City of Austin’s Elevate Grant Program.
More information here.
Be among the first to get a sneak peek at a segment of one of the newest episodes of the Peabody Award-winning PBS series Craft in America, PLAY. Celebrate the power of imagination and the child in all of us as the Skirball Cultural Center explores the ways in which play facilitates discovery, builds bridges, and enhances learning.
After screening the Noah’s Ark segment of the Craft in America episode, the Skirball will lead a panel discussion with artists, educators, and parents about the importance of incorporating play and imagination into arts education.
The segment will be introduced by Patricia Bischetti, Executive Producer and Director, Craft in America. The panel will be moderated by Rachel Stark, Vice President, Education and Family Programs, Skirball Cultural Center. Confirmed panelists include Jane Fung, Member, Skirball Teacher Advisory Council, and Dr. Kristin Vanderlip Taylor, Associate Professor of Art Education at California State University, Northridge.
Advance reservations recommended. Kids and Families welcome.
Sunday, November 12- Program Schedule
10:30 am: Doors open
11:00 am: Screening and Panel Discussion
12:00 pm: Refreshments, complimentary admission to Noah’s Ark
More information and to register, click here.
California has been a leader in fiber arts—weaving, quilting, embroidery, and more—since the mid–20th century. The artists gathered in this exhibition are members of the close-knit and collaborative group California Fibers, which was founded in 1970. Over decades they have sculpted fiber art into a serious contemporary medium—a discipline that is now taught in colleges and collectives, and that inspires artists in other mediums. Wool, wire, wicker. Whatever can be loomed, stitched, or woven can become a vibrant means of expression.
Washington DC’s spectacular National Building Museum becomes the place to shop for the finest in contemporary wearable craft and home design. Collectors and shoppers will find all price ranges of one-of-a-kind works of art.
The show’s Preview Night Benefit October 5 offers an early opportunity to view and purchase crafts while enjoying cocktails and dinner.
When and Where
October 5-8, 2023
National Building Museum
401 F St, NW
Judiciary Square Metro Stop
Advance Chance Opening Party
Thursday, October 5, 6-9pm $125 [RSVP Only]
Daily Admission $20
Friday, October 6, 11am-7pm [SI Badgeholder FREE]
Saturday, October, 7 10:30am-5pm
Sunday, October 8, 11am-4pm [BOGO bring a friend]
Website for more information:
The Smithsonian Women’s Committee (SWC) produces the show to celebrate the finest in American contemporary craft and design. Artists are selected from a pool of applicants by a panel of jurors. Proceeds support grants to the Smithsonian for innovative education, outreach and research projects.
About the Smithsonian Women’s Committee
The Smithsonian Women’s Committee is dedicated to advancing the Smithsonian’s mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. Founded in 1966, SWC celebrates fine American craft through the Smithsonian Craft Show. The committee awards grants and endowments throughout the Smithsonian from funds raised at its shows.
We at Craft in America are saddened by the passing of Lloyd E. Herman. Lloyd was a pivotal force in the founding of our organization. He became a board member and an Advisory Council member and his insight and input was invaluable.
He was a true craft advocate, a font of knowledge and insight, and a friend who will be missed deeply.
During his twenty-year employment at the Smithsonian Institution, Lloyd Herman was the founding Director of the national craft museum of the United States–the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum–from 1971 until 1986. A specialist in art made from clay, glass, wood, fibers and metals, he was cited by the University of Washington Press as “one of the foremost authorities on America’s contemporary craft movement.”
After retiring from the Smithsonian Institution, he curated exhibitions on craft and design topics for such clients as the United States Information Agency, the Smithsonian Institution and various museums and traveling exhibition services. He lectured on American crafts throughout the United States, and in Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Japan, and juried numerous art competitions in the United States and abroad. He led craft tours to Bhutan, India, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, and Vietnam, and lectured on contemporary glass art for Elderhostel/Road Scholar programs in Seattle.
He was an honorary member of the American Society of Interior Designers, an Honorary Lifetime Member of Northwest Designer Craftsmen, an honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council, and trustee/secretary of the Highline Historical Society. Herman was decorated by the monarchs of Denmark and Belgium for exhibitions that he organized on the crafts of their countries. Herman published several books including; Art That Works: The Decorative Arts of the Eighties, Crafted in America, Trashformations; Clearly Art: Pilchuck’s Glass Legacy; Tales and Traditions: Storytelling in Twentieth Century American Craft and American Glass: Masters of the Art.
It was our pleasure to film with ceramic artist and educator Nobuhito Nishigawara for the Craft Video Dictionary. Nobu demonstrated many wheel throwing techniques as well as hand building techniques and glazing.
The Craft Video Dictionary is supported by the Decorative Arts Trust’ Prize for Excellence and Innovation. To learn more about the Trust or to become a member, visit The Decorative Arts Trust.
Please join Adam’s Forge for their Equipment Fundraiser and Silent Auction on October 2, 2022 from 10am-3pm at Adam’s Forge (2910 Humboldt Avenue on the corner of 30th Street). This event is free. For tickets, visit adamsforge.org/class/equipment-fundraiser-free-event
Please join Adam’s Forge for Forge Festival 2022! on November 13, 2022, 11am-4pm at Heritage Square Museum. Watch as craftspeople demonstrate their skills in wood, leather, jewelry and glass. This event is free. For tickets, visit adamsforge.org/class/forge-festival-2022
PEGGY JOHNSON KAREN MC CREARY CAROLYN BENESH
The past six months have been witness to earth-changing events, a time of loss and hoped-for rebirth. This has been made all the more momentous these past weeks as we mourn the loss of three dear friends in the crafts: jewelers Peggy Johnson and Karen McCreary, and Carolyn Benesh, scholar, magazine publisher, lover of the handmade and fellow traveler in the world of craft. I am writing today to honor them.
Peggy Johnson was best known for her “Housewearables” jewelry which she lovingly fabricated first in Philadelphia, then from her home and studio in Portland, Maine. Since the early 1980s, we’ve carried Peggy’s Utensil necklace at Freehand, along with her pins: In Vino Veritas, Olive You, Toaster, Lettuce Love, Honeymoon Salad and Electric Mixer, among a myriad of others. They are physical manifestations of Peggy’s whimsical thought processes. Each piece was hand constructed, never cast and an always charming take on the quotidian life of the home. Her insects were made with love and affection for the smallest creatures. Her birds perch happily on a lapel, amazing us with their beautiful construction and lifelike attitudes.
Peggy sold her work through the American Craft Council Shows. Her booth always featured a doll house with her Housewearables jewelry properly displayed. Wonderful! Peggy’s empathy was somehow soldered into her perfectly fabricated pins, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Meant to amuse and function as adornment, her pieces have kept their beauty and their meaning over time. I enjoy studying the backs of her pieces, especially the bird series that took inspiration from the birds in her Portland neighborhood. Something gentle and refined and personal is captured in each piece. We will miss Peggy.
KAREN MC CREARY
Karen McCreary was a bold adventurer in the jewelry field, using acrylic and electronic technology to forge new paths. A native Californian, Karen epitomized the forward thinking aesthetic of California jewelry in the 1980s and her work evolved constantly over the forty years of her career.
In 2004, Karen was invited to participate in the 25th Anniversary exhibition planned by Gallerie Beeld und Ambeeld in Enschede, Holland. Karen included me in her project for the anniversary and created a brooch for me titled From the Heart, a sterling and acrylic wearable sculpture with an electronic, pulsing LED device that brings soft red light and life into the form. I accompanied Karen to Holland for the opening of the exhibition, where jewelers, collectors and curators from throughout Europe greeted her as the visionary jeweler she was.
One of my favorite pieces of Karen’s jewelry is the oversized, beautifully shaped acrylic bangle embedded with plastic charms and miniature electronic components: an invitation to attach personal stories to a wearable sculpture. Karen’s mind and creativity was focused on both art and science. It was always a treat to have her visit and show us her new pieces.
Both Peggy and Karen had the combination of talent, creativity and determination necessary to forge a career in the crafts. Making a living with one’s hands is indeed a challenge and these two jewelers, with grace and dignity, created a life for themselves and their jewelry. They brought years of joy to their many clients. We will miss them.
Carolyn Benesh and her husband Robert Liu came into my life in 1980, when I invited them, as co-editors of Ornament Magazine, to curate our first jewelry exhibition at Freehand. The show they organized set standards for quality and cemented a lifelong friendship.
Carolyn traveled extensively, both within our country and internationally, documenting the finest expressions of the jeweler’s art and investigating the arts of textiles and clothing from all levels of world cultures; from royalty to the most humble artisans. She often visited festivals, fairs or shows wearing pieces from her extensive collection. Supporting the artists by purchasing their work was a personal practice for Carolyn, which led to many delightful pieces worn with flair and purpose. We will miss her eye and her sense of adventure. She loved beauty and saw it everywhere. She was a complex person, passionate about art, life, politics and culture. Her strong opinions and informed advice will also be missed.
The craft world is shaped and nourished by artists and educators like Peggy Johnson, Karen McCreary and Carolyn Benesh. Their contributions inform and inspire us. Their work is a vital part of the human expression that is craft.
Handwork: Celebrating American Craft 2026 will be a year-long, nationwide celebration to spotlight the importance of original handcrafted work and to honor the diversity of makers and making, past and present. A project of Craft in America, Handwork 2026 will include a significant online presence and focus its activities on several core initiatives, including:
- National Grassroots Campaign: A campaign in partnership with local, state and national organizations, with a strong social media component that underscores the importance of handwork to both the history and contemporary culture of America in our Semiquincentennial year. A national, 250th Anniversary event to advance the crafts and local creative economies. A grassroots initiative that will also work in the digital realm to broaden access to craft programs and happenings nationwide.
- Core Exhibition: A diverse and inclusive survey, presenting the finest work being done in all craft media and materials, augmented by regional exhibitions that will become destination events showcased through the Handwork 2026 website.
- Book: Presenting the extraordinary range of craft’s presence in our nation, the book will serve as a catalog for the Core Exhibition. It will also showcase craft history, artists, materials and processes, focusing on under-told and overlooked craft stories, with essays by leading craft experts.
- Three-Part Documentary Film Series: produced by Peabody-Award winning Craft in America, which airs nationwide on PBS and presents a rich exploration of craft and craft makers through the spectrum of traditional, studio, ethnic and contemporary practices, including new technologies.
- Education: Interdisciplinary learning initiatives at all levels of the education system, with a special focus on grades K–12, taking a wide look at the history, traditions and impact of craft in the United States, from Indigenous origins until today. Education guides will include hands-on craft activities and will be available online.
Handwork: Celebrating American Craft 2026, an idea envisioned by a group of dedicated craft professionals and artists, takes its inspiration from a similar project, Year of American Craft 1993, that benefitted millions of artists, makers and appreciators. Much has changed in America since 1993, but the practice of making things by hand endures.
Craft makes us unique and unites us. From home-based, to workshop-based, to culture-based, to studio- based practices, craft brings people of all backgrounds and beliefs together. Nationwide programs will honor American makers, then and now, pointing the way to a robust future for the crafts and the country.
Please join us in honoring the handmade during our Semiquincentennial year by contacting us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernard Kester has passed away at the age of 90. This venerated professor, master designer, artist, curator, writer, and inspirational mentor has left an estimable legacy at University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum. He was a critically important figure in the California and national studio craft movement from the 50s to the 70s, and his indispensable contribution helped usher in an entirely new era for craft in the twentieth century. An accomplished ceramist, his work was shown in major regional and national exhibitions, including the Museum of Arts and Design (formerly the American Craft Museum), LACMA, the Walker Art Center, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Bernard earned his BA (1950) and MA (1955) degrees from UCLA and remained there teaching ceramics, weaving, and design from 1956 to 1993, chairing the Department of Art from 1972 to 1975. During his four-year tenure as Acting Dean of the College of Fine Arts, he oversaw the school’s restructure into the School of the Arts and the School of Theater, Film, and Television.
Kester considered textiles and fiber as fertile media for artistic experimentation. He initiated the fiber art program at UCLA and encouraged his students to think of fiber in sculptural terms and to see their endeavors as independent works of art. His groundbreaking 1971 exhibition, “Deliberate Entanglements,” is regarded as a benchmark in the history of fiber art. The professor fervently believed that “Learning to see is as important as learning to read” and was convinced that artists of any medium needed a universal liberal arts education to enlarge their worlds and enrich their capacity for creativity.
In his tireless promotion of craft as a respected art form, he introduced the nation to California and western craftspeople with his “Letter from Los Angeles” which appeared regularly in Craft Horizons from 1965 to 1979. He was a contributing artist of all the influential “California Design” exhibitions, and designed the 1968, 1971 and 1976 shows. Over his long career, Bernard received several honors. He was a Fellow of the American Craft Council and Trustee Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Design. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Craft and Folk Art Museum and the Board of Directors of the UCLA Arts Council and was the recipient of the International Association of Designers award in textiles.
In addition to “Deliberate Entanglements,” Kester curated a number of exhibitions. His first, “Craftsmen USA ’66,” was shown on the occasion of LACMA’s opening. Crafts were celebrated in his “American Crafts ‘76” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and at two exhibitions at CAFAM—“California Women in Crafts (1977) and “Made in LA/Contemporary Crafts ’81.” He authored numerous book and exhibition reviews and catalog essays, lecturing widely and serving as a juror for selection and awards for national exhibitions.
As its principal exhibition designer, Bernard was legendary at LACMA. His architectural designs elegantly presented and enhanced the perception of artworks in the museum for more than fifty years; he designed over one hundred exhibitions there, tastefully reconfigured its many galleries, and oversaw the periodic rotation of the permanent collection. Such exhibitions as “Age of the Pharaohs” (1974), “The Great Bronze Age of China” (1982), “The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985” (1986), “Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries” (1991), “The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America: Design for the Modern World 1880-1920” (2004), and “SoCal: Southern California Art of the 60s and 70s” (2007) are memorable examples of Kester’s discriminating eye—his extraordinary mastery of light and space, appreciation of the art object, and grasp of the harmony and power of color.
A brilliant artist and designer–unfailingly elegant, articulate, and erudite–Bernard Kester will be missed by a host of friends and colleagues who have so greatly benefited, for so many years, from his passion and expertise.