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February/March 2020

February/March 2020

The Home Issue

February/March 2020 American Craft cover

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“Home sweet home” is a phrase that denotes grounding and comfort inside and out. For many, the phrase inspires images of driving up to a house after a family road trip, or cozying up to a fireplace. Yet for others – from US service members to recent graduates chasing employment opportunities – home can be less of a place and more of a feeling of belonging. Perhaps a quilt that reminds one of family is what makes a home; perhaps it’s having lots of plants to care for. For many, home is wherever friends, like-minded people, even pets are. But whether one chooses to define it by location, objects, or community, the fact remains that the home is a highly personal space.

This issue of American Craft attempts to expand and complicate popular narratives about “the home” and craft’s role in creating one. We learn about the legacy of enjarradoras (women adobe builders) of the Southwest and hear tales ingrained in a historical cabin-turned-artwork. We also profile several makers who create custom pieces for living spaces, and we provide tips for those intimidated by the commission process.

In “Flower Cloth: A Storytelling Textile," May Lee-Yang demonstrates how paj ntaub, a textile tradition, traveled and evolved with the Hmong through multiple forced migrations. The craft is just one example of the way hands carry stories from home to home across generations.

Hmong American sister duo Youa and Wone Vang of Third Daughter Restless Daughter know this well. The sisters remember stitching with their grandmother, who taught them about paj ntaub, as children. Years later, the pair took up needle and thread again, joining what they learned from their grandmother with their own artistic interests. Now they create humorous and subversive cross-stitches that buyers hang in rooms big and small, homes permanent and temporary.

Like the Vang sisters, many of us have stories and skills passed down to us that inform who we become. They’re often what help us feel at home.


Feature Articles

Flower Cloth: A Storytelling Textile

The symbols and stitching of paj ntaub bear witness to the history of the Hmong people.

Legacy of the Land

A conversation with Joanna Keane Lopez on the architectural traditions that inform her adobe art.

Brick Layer

Former contractor Dante Dentoni uses Legos to build clients’ dreams right into their homes.

Craft on TV

Televised craft competitions offer a more nuanced view of the field than one might expect.

Cabin Stories

Karl Unnasch leads a behind-the-scenes tour of his installation Slumgullion (The Venerate Outpost) at the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Dream Houses

Jedediah Corwyn Voltz’s fantastical worlds take root in the most unexpected places.

More from This Issue

18th-century swan tureens

Creature Comfort

A show of domestic objects drawn from the collection of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont honors the human/animal bond throughout history.
FM20 reviews covers

From Our Library: February 2020

New books uncover makers preserving “lost arts” and provoke us to consider the carbon footprint of our clothing, while a podcast invites artists to share personal and professional advice.
Laura Petrovich-Cheney Entanglement

Material Memory

Laura Petrovich-Cheney’s Entanglement repurposes salvage from homes leveled by hurricanes.
Judith Schaechter stained glass

Shows to See: February / March 2020

Midcentury domestic design gleams in Southern California; tools tell stories in St. Louis; and in Asheville, North Carolina, artists imagine craft’s future.
Ten Dots Textiles Classic collection

Ten Dots Textiles

As a Navy veteran and military spouse, Tenisha Dotstry of Ten Dots Textiles has led a nomadic life; basketry is a craft she can take with her wherever she goes.
Tim Miller Coil Benches

Tim Miller Studio

Emerging furniture designer Tim Miller’s small Brooklyn apartment is the perfect space for testing his versatile, modular pieces.