Craft in America
Craft in America explores, preserves and celebrates craft and its impact on our nation's cultural heritage through a television series, YouTube channel, educational website, virtual exhibitions, a book, lesson plans for teachers, and a study center. Through a variety of media, Craft in America is helping to preserve and nurture the tradition of handcrafted work.
The Craft in America documentary series airs nationwide on PBS and is unique in its presentation of the finest craft artists, filming them and presenting the story of craft through their own words and their work. The audience benefits from this intimate exploration of the makers and the handmade.
The website and Craft in America channel on YouTube extend the impact of the series with additional clips and "untold stories.” The educator guides provide challenging programs for teachers to share with their students in grade school and at the high school level. The Craft in America Center is a place for the public to explore craft and meet the artists.
Craft in America strives to increase the awareness of and the audience for craft, the practice of using handwork to create objects of beauty and function. Craft in the United States consists of a community of professional makers, who are often under the contemporary radar and in need of an audience for their work. It also includes thousands of "crafters," those who make things with their hands for pleasure and self-expression.
The need to attract new people to the crafts and to provide information for the aspiring craftsperson is answered by the Craft in America television series, which is an innovative way to present the art form. The Craft in America website, Craft in America YouTube channel, Craft in America Center, and Random House book, Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects, extend the possibilities for learning about the handmade.
The Peabody Awarding-winning Craft in America documentary series, which airs nationally on PBS, sets this organization apart from other programs and organizations in the craft field, which tend to provide information for those already involved in craft rather than to seek new and energetic audiences for the handmade. Everyone has a handmade story in their lives, whether it be a quilt handed down in their family or a relative who enjoys woodworking. Craft in America helps the audience to seek out this connection to craft and enrich their lives by incorporating its power and joy into their experiences.
Craft in America has several opportunities for involvement by the public. The Craft in America Center, which is free and open to the public, offers a craft library, a schedule of craft events including workshops and lectures, and extended videos of the artist segments from the series. It is a place to think about and make craft. Craft organizations, museums and individual makers have utilized the Center for meetings, book signings, and exhibitions.
Craft in America is Los Angeles-based project, a direct outgrowth of Freehand, a craft gallery that has been in business since 1980. Handcrafted ceramics, glass, wood, textiles and jewelry can be found in homes throughout the Los Angeles area and often signify important events in the owner's lives.
Craft in America measures its impact by the overnight ratings provided by PBS, the number of hits to the Craft in America website and the Craft in America PBS website, the popularity of the educator guides posted on the websites, the number of people who attend events at the Center, reports from featured artists and organizations about inquiries they have received as a result of the series, and by the requests for permission to screen the programs in museums and schools. The organization has brought an enthusiasm for the handmade to new communities of viewers and helped to reinvigorate the craft world.
All of the work for Craft in America - the film series, the website, YouTube channel, the book, exhibitions and the Center - are imagined and realized out of a small office tucked away on South Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles. Its team of devoted colleagues are crafting a way to see, hear, touch and experience the magic of the handcrafted object.
University of Georgia, 2007
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