Craft in America: California and Visionaries Premieres Dec 21, 2018
Two New Episodes Premiere on PBS Friday, December 21, 2018 at 9 and 10pm
(check local listings)
[Los Angeles] – Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning series, will embark on a unique journey with two new episodes. CALIFORNIA will transport viewers through the varied craft heritage, traditions and innovations of the Golden State. VISIONARIES delves into stories of craft artists and influencers who by sheer genius, inspire succeeding generations.
In recognition of the special place that California holds in the zeitgeist, Craft in America: CALIFORNIA explores craft practices definitively Californian, from Native Americans continuing ancient traditions, to contemporary artists expressing new iterations of the art of the handmade.
Tracing the history of fiber in California begins with the indigenous Pomo people located in Northern California where basket weaver Corine Pearce is reviving ancestral Pomo basketry techniques.
Trained by the legendary Porter Blanchard, metalsmith Randy Stromsoe works, surfs, and lives a life of continuous inspiration on the Central Coast of California.
Turning to the Arts and Crafts movement classically embodied in California by Greene and Greene architects, The Gamble House, one of the finest examples of this work is explored, along with the handwork of renowned father and son woodworkers James Ipekjian and Jack Ipekjian, and the spectacular stained glass of the Judson Studios.
Winding through San Francisco’s Wearable Art movement of the 1960s, the fiber trail leads us to the elegant one-of-a-kind clothing by textile artist Deborah Cross in Santa Cruz.
All roads lead to California.
Those pushing the boundaries of craft and inspiring new generations aren’t always just the artists. Craft in America: VISIONARIES includes curators and collectors who envision limitless possibilities of craft and imagine new methods of achieving that vision.
We begin with the man many in the art world consider the ultimate visionary: Jack Lenor Larsen, fiber artist, designer, scholar, world traveler and collector. A Renaissance man with an unwavering interest in the world around him, Larsen has infused his designs with an inclusive perspective that continues to inspire new generations. Larsen mentors many talented artists, such as weaver Krista Stack and visionary weaver Kay Sekimachi, whose experimental and innovative work led her to invent complex on and off-loom weaving techniques. When she was 15, Sekimachi’s family was incarcerated in a Japanese internment camp, along with all persons of Japanese ancestry, on the West Coast.
Larsen also introduces our viewers to artists and institutions like Toshiko Takaezu and Black Mountain College, a groundbreaking art education experiment. Curator Helen Molesworth tells the story of Black Mountain College and its influence on culture and art, revealing the legacy and relevance of the handmade.
Forrest L. Merrill, through his distinctive approach to collecting, has played an important role in the story of craft. For Merrill, the art and artist are inseparable and he nurtures the artists whose objects he discovers. One such artist is Kay Sekimachi, who considers him a mentor and a friend.
We jump to revolutionary book artist, Felicia Rice, rooted in the experimentation of the boundary-breaking 1960s. We document her exploration of performance art and the creation of inventive artist books, often illuminating Latino stories and poems.
These artists shape the future with a far-reaching commitment to expand craft, break barriers and forge new visions all their own.
The Craft in America Center will produce two companion exhibitions featuring extraordinary work from the artists in the episodes:
December 8, 2018 – January 26, 2019 – Rooted: Craft Origins from the California Episode
March 2 – May 4, 2019 – California Visionaries
Craft in America Center
8415 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048
Hours: Tues – Sat, 12:00pm – 6:00pm
tel: (323) 951-0610
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 in Los Angeles. With twenty-one 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.
The Craft in America Center is an exhibition and learning space in Los Angeles. We give voice to traditional and contemporary craft through artist talks, workshops, exhibits and concerts. Our reference library contains over one thousand books and videos and is free to the public. We invite you to stop in and to join us for upcoming events and exhibitions – 8415 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Additional images of all the artists’ work are available at: