The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

April/May 2009 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Andrew Wagner
Mediums Mixed Media

Gyongy Laky’s Forms for Language, 1989, of plied rope handmade from printers’ waste paper, part of a site-specific work in Manchester, England.

Turning craft inside out.

Dreary days in February naturally lend themselves to thoughts of spring. But an early onset of seemingly endless chilly weather in New York accompanied by increasingly abysmal financial news has had us fantasizing about a sunny outdoors for months. We began piecing together the Inside/Outside issue that you hold in your hands way back in December with dreams of warmer weather running around in our wool-wrapped heads.

The promise of spring, however, was not our only motivation. We were also intrigued by a number of projects that have come across our desks over the past year by makers who take the oft-insular world of craft out of the studio or gallery and into the gaze of a general public. In projects like The Collegiate Jeweler and The Pro Bono Jeweler, for example, Gabriel Craig drags his bench and torch into parks across Richmond, Virginia, coaxing passersby to stop and learn about metalsmithing, chat with the maker and, if they're lucky, take home a souvenir or two for free ("Studio on the Street," page 40). In Philadelphia we found weaver/painter Kathryn Pannepacker at work in a different medium ("Urban Fabric," page 46). Hoping to share her art with a wider audience, Pannepacker has created Wall of Rugs#1 and #2, a series of painted murals throughout Philadelphia representing textiles from around the world. Finally, in Northern California, Gyöngy Laky is doing what she's been doing for years-taking the basics of nature, such as twigs, and creating structures that defy definition ("Constructing the Unexpected," page 52).

We were also pleasantly surprised to find that this outdoor theme stretched beyond the confines of our feature well to nearly every section of the magazine. Flip to page 64 and take in the awe-inducing work of Jennifer Angus, whose chosen medium is truly remarkable (although not recommended for those with any sort of insect phobia). And look at page 32 to see how designer Virginia Gardiner has taken the most despised of materials and devised an innovative approach to upcycling it. There is much more, of course, including some of the most inspiring and surprising new work originating indoors and out that we hope will bring spring to your doorstep just a bit sooner. Enjoy!

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