CRAFT IN AMERICA: BORDERS AND NEIGHBORS PREMIERES SEPT 29
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2017
CRAFT IN AMERICA: BORDERS
CRAFT IN AMERICA: NEIGHBORS
PBS PREMIERE Friday, September 29, 2017*
[Los Angeles] – Craft in America announces two new episodes of the Peabody Award-winning documentary series, Craft in America, now in its 10TH year on PBS. Craft in America: BORDERS airs nationwide in primetime on Friday, September 29, 2017 at 9pm* and Craft in America: NEIGHBORS will follow at 10pm* (check local listings) during National Hispanic/Latino Heritage month. For the first time Craft in America will reach across our southern border into Mexico to focus on shared histories, explore the synergy between our cultural identities, and look at how objects carry heritage, memories, and sacred meanings.
BORDERS and NEIGHBORS will document how the artists of Mexico and the United States have contributed to each other’s creative landscape. “These episodes contain a message about international relations and influence in the crafts. Art has no borders,” affirms Producer-Director Carol Sauvion. The programs shine a bright light on personal stories and cross-cultural perspectives and open new avenues for understanding between the U.S. and Mexico.
Watch a 1 minute preview of BORDERS:
Watch a 1 minute preview of NEIGHBORS:
BORDERS takes us back and forth across the border to visit iconic artists in Mexico and the United States to learn about how their crafts are influenced by both cultures. Artists we visit include:
- Master altar maker Ofelia Esparza and Self Help Graphics & Art, the organization that first brought the Day of the Dead celebration to the U.S. We witness the construction and decoration of Ofelia’s Community Altar in downtown Los Angeles.
- J. Isaac Vásquez García, master weaver in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, who pioneered the revitalization of cochineal and natural dyes in local weaving methods.
- Jim Bassler, American weaver and Veralee Bassler, potter, who lived in Oaxaca for many years. The Basslers introduce us to the Oaxaca Textile Museum and the intense research of ancient textiles being done there. In Los Angeles, we follow them to the colorful Guelaguetza festival and parade, a community undertaking that keeps traditions alive for those far from home.
- Kiff Slemmons, Chicago jewelry artist, who designs and fabricates her magnificent art jewelry at the Taller Arte Papel in Mexico using the Taller’s handmade paper. We then travel back to Chicago to visit her studio and learn more about international friendships that have formed at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
- World-famous artist, cultural activist and Taller Arte Papel founder Maestro Francisco Toledo, who makes visits to the workshop and speaks about its founding, the creation of the paper and the power of art.
NEIGHBORS takes viewers to and from the U.S. and Mexico once again, exploring how aesthetics cross over from one country to another in a living and on-going cultural exchange. Featured artists include:
- Los Angeles glass artist Jaime Guerrero, who creates life-size glass sculptures that represent children at the border. We film him at his studio in L.A. and at the state-of-the-art facilities at The Corning Museum of Glass in New York.
- San Bartolo Coyotepec ceramic artist Magdalena Pedro Martínez at work on her series of black clay female figures dressed in traditional indigenous attire, and her brother, world-renowned artist Carlomagno Pedro Martínez, who creates figures of Zapotec characters and stories.
- Ceramic artist Gerardo Monterrubio, whose work is inspired by his Mexican childhood and contemporary expressions of graffiti and prison art.
- Cristina Romo, Eduardo Herrera, Miguel Angel Ortiz Miranda and Carmen Tapia – a new generation of jewelry designers in the city of Taxco, who are carrying on the art of silversmithing in modern ways. In the 1930s, Taxco became a center for jewelry production in Mexico through the entrepreneurship of American architect and designer William Spratling. We learn how one American could influence design and change the lives of thousands of people on both sides of the border.
- Artist and muralist Judy Baca, who has created the “Great Wall of Los Angeles” to tell untold stories and to carry on the traditions begun by Mexican maestro muralists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco.
BORDERS and NEIGHBORS will air on PBS in primetime nationwide and via online and mobile apps, with related exhibitions, standards-based interdisciplinary education guides, over a dozen bonus web videos and online virtual exhibitions, artist workshops, free public screenings, and a community mural project.
BORDERS and NEIGHBORS are an outcome of Craft in America’s participation in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the Getty’s far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Central Library will host a special screening and panel discussion on October 22, 2017 as part of their Made in L.A. series and the Biscailuz Gallery at El Pueblo Historical Monument in Los Angeles will mount BORDERS and NEIGHBORS: Craft Connectivity Between the U.S. and Mexico, an exhibition of craft objects from the artists in the episodes from November 16, 2017 to February 25, 2018, with an artist discussion on Thursday, January 25, 2018 and a concert on Sunday, February 11, 2018.
The Craft in America Center in West Hollywood will produce a trio of exhibitions featuring artists who use craft to articulate messages about American culture, Latino identity and ever-mutating socio-political tensions. These exhibitions, titled Mano-Made: New Expression in Craft by Latino Artists, will run from August 2017 to January 2018 and will be accompanied by artist workshops, public school outreach and a community mural project.
CRAFT IN AMERICA is a 501(c)(3) 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 craftinamerica.org and pbs.org/craftinamerica provide all episodes, hours of online videos and interactive learning materials, as well as object exhibitions, artist information, and the Random House book Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects and other Craft in America publications.
*check local listings
Please contact for art and interviews: (310) 659-9022
Carol Sauvion, Executive Producer: carolsauvion@
Beverly Feldman, Press: beverly@
Additional images of all the artists’ work are available at: