Mary here, writing from week 5 of my Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internship. I can’t believe my time at Craft in America is half over! The diverse range of projects I’m working on have made the experience fly by.
My role at Craft in America is in digital communications, but the opportunities I’ve been given through the Getty Marrow program encompass much more than that. Yesterday for example, the Getty sent members of my internship cohort on a walking tour of public art in Long Beach. I had little experience in the realm of public art, but the Arts Council of Long Beach presented an informative snapshot of the entire process including conception, funding, community input and engagement, and conservation. A few weeks ago, the Getty Center hosted a leadership summit for this year’s internship cohort. We were treated to a series of lectures from Getty Marrow alumni, and encouraged to explore the museum’s exhibitions after the day’s activities concluded. My current immersion in craft gave me a new perspective on the value of handmade objects in museum collections.
Week to week, I’ve been working on a number of exciting projects. I am currently focused on conducting research for our upcoming Craft Video Dictionary project, supported by the Decorative Arts Trust’s Prize for Excellence and Innovation. The Craft Video Dictionary seeks to be a resource for craftspeople of all skill levels by providing a video encyclopedia of common techniques, materials, and tools spanning a variety of craft media. Contributing to this project has deepened my appreciation for the extensive knowledge and skill craftspeople bring to their work. I’ve also been promoting different facets of the Craft in America Center on social media. This includes our current exhibition, Couples in Craft, as well as the ever-expanding Craft in America library. The library houses a collection of over 3,000 craft books, catalogs, and publications, all completely free and open to the public. I would love to see the surrounding community utilize this more often!
A highlight of my internship so far was attending an advanced weaving workshop led by Ferne Jacobs, a prolific fiber artist whose work I’ve admired for years. I was thrilled when Craft in America agreed to let me film the event for social media while participating as a student. Jacobs is a gifted educator, and the small class size allowed her to spend ample one-on-one time with each participant. We had a great discussion about our individual goals, inspirations, and the creative process, receiving constructive feedback throughout. It was one of the most energizing creative experiences I’ve had – all because this internship gives me the opportunity to make my passions part of my job description.
On a related note, the exhibition “Ferne Jacobs: A Personal World” is on at the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art until September 24th. Thoughtfully curated by Craft in America’s own Emily Zaiden, the exhibition is a 60-year retrospective which includes rarely-exhibited works. It’s a great source of insight into the more esoteric themes in Jacobs’ work. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the area.
Looking back on the first half of my internship, I am awed by how much I have learned about the world of craft. I am looking forward to the second half of this experience, excited about perfecting skills I have begun to develop.
Mary here, Craft in America’s summer 2023 Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern. Last week, I had the pleasure of accompanying Craft in America to California State University Long Beach to shoot content for an ongoing project: the Craft Video Dictionary. CSULB is my alma mater, and returning to campus for my new job less than two months after graduating was surreal. The team set up in the school’s wood shop, nestled in the center of the fine arts building complex where I’d spent most of my time in undergrad. We were filming with Ryan Taber, head of the University’s Wood program, as he demonstrated a variety of woodworking techniques.
The Craft Video Dictionary is one of the most ambitious projects I’ll be working on throughout my internship. The project’s website, which launches later this year, will host an extensive library of videos illustrating craft techniques and their associated materials and tools. We filmed Ryan demonstrating a few common processes in furniture design. I had no prior knowledge of woodworking, but Ryan thoroughly explained each step to the crew. He advised us on presenting the material with clarity and accuracy throughout the day. I left with a deepened appreciation for the minutiae of furniture construction. It was one of the many ways this internship has helped me notice the subtle craftsmanship I interact with every day. The expertise and skill Ryan brought on set made me even more excited for the launch of this project.
The Craft Video Dictionary is supported by the Decorative Arts Trust’s Prize for Excellence and Innovation. To learn more about the Trust or to become a member, visit The Decorative Arts Trust.