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Spring 2024

Spring 2024

American Craft magazine cover of Spring 2024 issue.

Ritual. Before the editorial staff at American Craft started work on this issue nearly a year ago, we sought inspiration at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The exhibition Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes showcased ancient pots, other serving vessels, bells, animal figures, spears, and daggers—stunning metalworks made by hundreds of artisans and craftspeople and used in such settings as temples, banquets, and burial ceremonies. It was powerful to see the way people thousands of years ago honored their ancestors, along with spirits and other intangible forces of life.

Craft and ritual go hand in hand. In all cultures, people create items to help celebrate and mourn, to tend to themselves, and to connect with others. To make this issue, we sought craft at the center of personal, cultural, and spiritual rituals.

Here you’ll discover the kinds of objects artists make in order to help us reflect and relax, relate and heal; why nameplate jewelry is so important in Chicano/a culture; the role seder plates play in Jewish traditions; how a monastery is incorporating mentorship into a new center devoted to woodworking and pipe organ building; how the piñata form is being reimagined as high art; and the ways one artist explores spirituality through Egyptian and Islamic ceramic traditions.

When we asked people what first came to mind when considering “craft and ritual,” many said that drinking coffee each morning out of their favorite handcrafted mug was one of the most significant rituals of their day. Clearly, we create rituals both big and small in our lives and our work. With that in mind, we asked three artists to write about the rituals that spark their creativity.

Just as we were wrapping up the Spring issue, I participated in a beginners woodworking class at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Jim Sannerud, the instructor, mentioned Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act: A Way of Being, a book sitting on my desk that I had yet to open. Jim’s copy was smudged, highlighted, and filled with Post-it notes. Because he found himself looking to the book again and again, he decided to turn reading it into a ritual. Each morning before he goes to the shop, he stops everything else and reads from it, which he says helps him begin his work from a more creative space.

While finishing this note, I opened The Creative Act to these words: “To support our practice, we might set up a daily schedule, where we engage in particular rituals at specific times every day or week. The gestures we perform don’t need to be grand. Small rituals can make a big difference.” They help us become more aware and mindful. The point, Rubin writes, is to “evolve the way we see the world when we’re not engaged in these acts.”

We hope you discover new ways of thinking about craft and ritual in this issue, and that you’re inspired to look at their roles in your own life.

 

karen signature

 

KAREN OLSON / Editor in Chief
 

American Craft Council publishes American Craft on a quarterly basis but reserves the right to change the number of issues in an annual term, including discontinuing any format and substituting and/or modifying the manner in which the subscription is distributed.

Feature Articles

A Higher Plane

Craft That Calms

Raising the Piñata

Rituals of Making

Craft Happenings: Spring 2024

More from This Issue

Shary Boyle, The Potter II, 2019, terracotta, porcelain, underglaze, china paint, lustre, brass rod, wood dowel, 58 x 40 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Purchase, Suzanne Caouette Bequest, in tribute. Photo by John Jones, courtesy of the artist and Patel Brown Gallery.

Across Time and Space

American Craft recently visited the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. As we entered, we were delighted to find gallery guide Nili Baider just beginning a tour. She took us straight to Canadian artist Shary Boyle’s recent Outside the Palace of Me exhibition.

Whitney Sharpe chartreuse lace candelabra, 8.5 x 8 x 5.5 in. Photo by Whitney Sharpe.

Light My Fire

These four handcrafted candleholders—two in clay, one in metal, and one in glass—make the act of lighting candles an even more beautiful experience.

Casillas at work in a studio at the University of North Texas. Photo courtesy of Horacio Casillas.

Rituals of Making: Horacio Casillas

Born in Chandler, Arizona, and raised in Jalisco, Mexico, artist Horacio Casillas makes holy water fonts for use in the Catholic church, elaborately carved clay jars, and other ceramic works.

MICHAEL COFFEY: SCULPTOR AND  FURNITURE MAKER IN WOOD By Michael Coffey Pointed Leaf Press, 2023. Photo by Sarah Sampedro.

Spring 2024

Coffey’s bold combination of functionality and a sculptural freedom inspired by natural forms and forces is on lavish display in this large-format volume.

Jo Andersson. Photo by Sarah Maria Yasdani.

The Queue: Jo Andersson

Jo Andersson’s glass vessels and lighting inspire reflection and contemplation. In The Queue, the Gothenburg, Sweden–based artist shares about the embodiment at the core of glassblowing, her admiration for masters of the medium, and her future plans in glassblowing.

Kandy Lopez. Photo by ShootmeJade.

The Queue: Kandy G Lopez

Kandy G Lopez stitches mesmerizing, bold portraits of people of color. In The Queue, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida–based multimedia artist shares about her favorite place to get materials, the qualities that draw her to a portrait subject, and a fascinating Miami fiber art exhibition.

Roberto Benavidez with some of his piñata creations in his Los Angeles home studio. Photo by Roberto Benavidez.

The Queue: Roberto Benavidez

Roberto Benavidez sculpts piñatas that embrace the odd and fantastical. In The Queue, the Los Angeles–based piñatero shares about the piñata that first inspired him, John J. Audubon’s influence on his work, and the craft art in his home studio.

Whitney Sharpe of the Latch Key Ceramics. Photo by Hannah Thornhill.

The Queue: Whitney Sharpe

For Whitney Sharpe of the Latch Key Ceramics, clay is a collaborator and spiritual conduit. In The Queue, the Oakland, California–based ceramist shares about the impermanence of clay, explains why she uses chains in her work, and lauds two Bay Area organizations that empower disabled artists.

The Nameplate: Jewelry, Culture, and Identity

THIS IS WHO I AM

Chicana musician and fashion label founder LaLa Romero on the power of nameplate jewelry.

Artist Courtney M. Leonard. Photo by Mark Poucher.

Voyage to Resiliency

An artist reflects on the ritual practice of making and how craft supports our ability to relate—and heal.

Stack of ACC magazine covers with Fall 2023 issue on top.

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