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. In exploring the intertwining of craft and American experience, this volume reveals how artists leverage their craft to realize the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Accompanying an exhibition of the same title organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Crafting America features contributions from scholars that illuminate craft’s relationship to ritual and memory, personal independence, abstraction, and Native American histories. The richly illustrated catalog section—with more than a hundred color images accompanied by lively commentary—presents a vivid picture of American craft over the past eight decades, offering fresh insights on the relationships between objects.
Building upon recent advances in craft scholarship and encouraging more inclusive narratives, Crafting America presents a bold statement on the vital role of craft within the broader context of American art and identity.
Glenn Adamson is a curator, writer, and historian who works at the intersection of craft, design, and contemporary art. His publications include Thinking through Craft, The Craft Reader, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, The Invention of Craft, Art in the Making, Fewer Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects, and Craft: An American History.
Jen Padgett is associate curator at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Her research focuses on modern art from the 1900s to 1950s, with an emphasis on connections between media and the relationship between fine art and design.