CRAFT IN AMERICA: VISIONARIES Artists Bios
CRAFT IN AMERICA: VISIONARIES
Premieres on PBS Friday, December 21, 2018 at 10pm (check local listings)
Jack Lenor Larsen is a textile designer, and an author/collector/ promoter of traditional and contemporary craftsmanship in all its forms. The “Larsen Look” (colors, materials, and weaves that are synonymous with modern 20th century design) was begun with his innovative and sophisticated hand-woven textiles. He studied architecture, furniture design, and weaving and attended Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI) receiving his MFA in 1951. In New York City he formed Larsen Design Studio, Jack Lenor Larsen Inc (fabrics), Larsen Carpet and Leather, and Larsen Furniture.
Larsen’s companies went on to design fabrics for homes, public buildings, corporate offices, and airplanes. His work can be found in the Museum of Modern Art (NY), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA), the Art Institute of Chicago (IL), the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (NY), and the Fashion Institute of Technology (NY), among others. His art center in East Hampton, NY, the LongHouse Reserve, serves as a case study exemplifying a creative approach to contemporary life and is filled with an important collection of craft objects and treasures from around the world. longhouse.org
Kay Sekimachi is a fiber artist and weaver, known as a “weaver’s weaver” for her unusual use of the loom in constructing three-dimensional sculptural pieces. In the early 1970s she used nylon monofilament to create hanging quadruple tubular woven forms in an exploration of space, transparency, and movement. Sekimachi’s primary sources of inspiration are the shapes, forms and natural colors gleaned from her Japanese heritage.
She attended the California College of Arts and Crafts (CA), where she studied with Trude Guermonprez, and at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (ME), where she studied with Jack Lenor Larsen. Her work can found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), the Renwick Gallery (DC), the Museum of Arts and Design (NY), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA). She is recognized as a pioneer in the resurrection of fiber and weaving as a legitimate means of artistic expression.
Collector Forrest L. Merrill has a deep appreciation for all manner of hand-wrought vessels of wood, metal, glass, fiber, and clay, as well as for the exceptional artists who create them. But even more important are the personal relationships he forges with these artists and his desire to share his unique collection with a public for whom art education and exposure to art is disappearing. Inspired in 1950 by a high school art teacher, his first purchase was a glass bowl by Glen Lukens, a pioneer in studio crafts. Right then, a collector was born. Merrill’s collection, based in Berkeley, CA, is one of the largest and most important of its kind in the world, containing pieces that span the arcs of entire careers of major artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. forrestlmerrill.com
Felicia Rice, book artist, book arts educator, sole proprietor of Moving Parts Press in Santa Cruz, CA, collaborates with visual and performing artists and writers to create book structures that combine word and image. Moving Parts Press publications have been included in exhibitions and collections nationally and internationally and have been bestowed numerous awards and grants. Recently, the UC Santa Barbara Library acquired the Moving Parts Press archive and a MPP publication, DOC/UNDOC, is included an exhibition titled, “Artists and Their Books, Books and Their Artists,” from June 26 – October 28, 2018 at the Getty Research Institute (CA). Rice is now immersed in the exploration of “book as performance art.” movingpartspress.com
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
February 23 – 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: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/23vunpc7s3321zt/AACeo-1y7gyObdoBSLWRk7TCa?dl=0