While I’m not a craftsperson in the conventional sense, I am a gardener, and a very earnest and committed gardener at that. One might consider the garden my workshop: the soil, water, and light are the raw material from which emerges the “object” (the landscape, the flower, the tomato) as a result of my labor, knowledge, and skill. Understanding my experience of gardening as a form of “plant-craft” has offered me a sense of deep kinship with the craftspeople I’ve met and worked with over the years. I have a deeper appreciation for the joy and satisfaction that comes from making something yourself. I value artists’ investment of time and practice, and the care they take in choosing the right materials. I take great interest in the details of their process. Mostly, I love to hear the stories of how they found their way to their passion.
Craft in all its many forms is essential to a life fully lived. If we truly believe, as we all do at the American Craft Council, that craft is central to our shared humanity and cultural vitality, then we must pitch a big tent under which all kinds of makers are welcomed and celebrated. Because, as every gardener knows, diverse landscapes are the ones most likely to thrive and remain healthy.
I was first drawn to this organization because of its deep commitment to artists and to Aileen Osborn Webb’s vision of the power of human creativity. I remain dedicated to this vision. I congratulate American Craft on its 80 years, and even as I step away from the ACC, I look forward to seeing what our craft community continues to create and all the beauty it will put into the world.
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