Fond Farewell

Fond Farewell

Outgoing executive director Sarah Schultz reflects on her tenure at the American Craft Council and the value of craft in her own life.
Published on Friday, August 27, 2021. This article appears in the Fall 2021 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Sarah Schultz
portrait of sarah schultz

Over the last three years, I’ve had the honor and joy to be at the helm of the American Craft Council. In this role, I’ve often been asked what I think the future holds for craft. As we emerge from a pandemic and address the social, economic, environmental, and civic upheavals that we face, I believe there is an essential and urgent role for craft to play, to stake a claim for an ethical engagement with the world through the making of things by hand.

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.

sarah schultz signature

SARAH SCHULTZ

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