Craft is a diverse, democratic art form practiced by Americans of every gender, age, ethnicity, and class. Crafting America traces this expansive range of skilled making in a variety of forms, from ceramics and wood to performance costume and community-based practice.
A companion to an exhibition curated at Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art, this publication explores the interdisciplinary contexts of the assembled works, featuring contributions from scholars with expertise in art history, American studies, folklore, and museum studies. Essays delve into subjects including craft’s relationship to ritual and memory, personal independence, abstraction, and the particular significance of craft within Native American histories. Within the catalog section, groupings of works discussed in detail highlight relationships between objects and move beyond limiting categories of craft and art, function and expression, and tradition and innovation. This publication addresses the intertwined quality of craft and American experience, revealing how craft has been a means to realize the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Over 100 full-color illustrations present a vivid picture of American craft from the past eight decades.
Building upon recent advances in craft scholarship and encouraging more inclusive narratives that look across media in art history, Crafting America presents a bold statement on the vital role of craft within the broader context of American art and identity.
Published in collaboration with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and University of Arkansas School of Art.