FROM THE EDITORS

 

From the Editors 35.1

ROBERT K. LIU and CAROLYN L. E. BENESH


Dear Ornament Reader,

 

Early this summer the two of us were presented with the CODA Award for leadership at the annual Craft Organization Development Association Conference, this year meeting in lovely Portland, Maine. We were overwhelmed by this tribute and most appreciative, joining, among other past awardees, Andrew Glasgow, the late Carol Sedestrom Ross and CERF (the Craft Emergency Relief Fund).

CODA had followed the contributions that Ornament has made to craft since its beginning in 1974, originally as The Bead Journal, finding it worthy of recognition. Ornament has been, in issue after issue, volume after volume, for over three decades a passionate proponent for the area of coverage that has been our particular devotion. As you leaf through these pages, before settling into reading them, what we do leaps from each page, illustrating far better than anything we say in this postscript. We have been an advocate for artists, whatever the medium, a vehicle for their artwork and their personal narrative—a timeline of creation drawing from the past, presenting the works of today, and pointing to future possibilities of making something out of nothing.

It reminds us that we have been living through a golden age of craft and that craft venues, like the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, have also made considerable contributions to the state of craft reaching the level of visibility and accomplishment it now enjoys. In this issue we celebrate the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show’s thirty-fifth anniversary, but also this year is the seventieth anniversary of the American Craft Council (with the first of its shows debuting in 1966). In 2012 both the Smithsonian Craft Show and the Buyers Market of American Craft reach their thirtieth anniversaries. Congratulations to all.

As pointedly stated in our article on the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, but applying liberally to all the shows: “More like those old mercantile traditions of the bazaar or marketplace than a supermarket or chain store, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show should be recognized for being an essentially American enterprise showcasing entrepreneurially minded artisans.” While craft shows have sprung up abundantly, for various reasons and motivations, the fact is that they have been a key component of the total growth of the craft movement in the United States. These shows established the fertile conditions for broad public access to craft far beyond what most artists individually could bring to the success of their practice. And they brought a uniquely American twist to this platform for artists. We owe them our gratitude for what they, too, have brought to the acceptance of fine craft in our country.

There is a temporary crisis of spirit proliferating all the arts today, clearly accelerating because of the current economic inequality worldwide. But this will pass as artists adapt, creatively challenging themselves. Senior artists will leave the field, such is the nature of life, and there will be new ones to replace them. The urge to create is in our DNA and it cannot be stopped or thwarted. And the craft shows, adapting to the changing times as well, will be there to assist artists in securing a beneficial future.

Thank you for being part of our world, and let us keep moving forward, together.

 





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Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains

 

Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show

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