Summer 2021

Summer 2021

Flourish
American Craft Summer 2021 cover

American Craft magazine introduces you to the inspiring people who make up our craft community today. Its pages share artists' stories, shed light on their practices, and reveal the ways making shapes our contemporary lives. To enjoy a full-year subscription to our award-winning publication, become an American Craft Council member today.

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Flourish. When we chose the themes for the 2021 issues of American Craft last August, we anticipated that our Summer 2021 issue would be published after at least a year of isolation, a racial justice reckoning, and the overlapping crises of a global pandemic, political strife, and climate emergencies. So, we thought, we might all need reminders about how to flourish.

A flourish is a bold, extravagant gesture. To flourish means to grow or develop in a vigorous way. Flourishing also speaks to having a strong sense of well-being and meaning. So, for this issue, we looked to the craft community to find stories about many ways of flourishing. One thing that became clear when we put this collection of stories together was that flourishing is deeply connected to community.

We’re pleased to include “Unearthing the Craftscape,” a fascinating and informative story about how Namita Gupta Wiggers and others are offering us an important way to look at and talk about craft—one that is meaningful, holistic, and inclusive.

In “Owning It," you’ll learn about Tiff Massey, an interdisciplinary artist in Detroit who not only creates bold, dynamic contemporary art, but is also working to see how many people she can help through her work and how she can impact her community. And in “Absence Made Present,” you’ll discover a novelist’s poetic take on the powerful art of Diana Al-Hadid.

Multimedia wall panel with intense color and texture showing a comet

Diana Al-Hadid’s And a Comet Appeared as if Frozen for a Whole Year (2019), a 58 x 64 x 3.5 in. wall panel that’s somewhere between a fresco and a tapestry. It’s made from polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, plaster, gold leaf, copper leaf, and pigment. Photo by Trond A. Isaksen

Ruth DeYoung Kohler II, a visionary curator from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who died in November, understood how essential artists are to culture. She loved being with them and talking with them. We are honored to share her powerful legacy of helping artists flourish in “The Advocate” and to introduce you to Kohler’s new “Art Preserve,” which opens June 26.

We are also excited to share the work of artists whose aim is to help the planet thrive. “Sea Change” highlights artwork designed to raise awareness about the perils oceans face, including work by Courtney Mattison, whose ecologically oriented art is on the cover of this issue.

We hope these stories and others inspire you toward boldness and originality. What is worth taking a risk for? What is your role in creating a flourishing world?

KAREN OLSON / Editor

American Craft Council publishes American Craft magazine 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.

 

Featured Articles

sculpture of the figure of a person outlined by dripping plaster resting on a pedestal

Absence Made Present

A novelist responds to the work of Diana Al-Hadid, who draws on rich historical and cultural archives to transform raw materials into an art of memory and possibility.
portrait of tiff massey with coiled gold necklace and large gold rings with detroit buildings in back on a summer evening

Owning It

Detroit metal artist Tiff Massey knows no bounds and is only creating bigger for herself and her community.
Ceramic wall sculpture with swirling design of color coral bleached around the edges

Sea Change

Artists open our eyes to exquisite ocean beauty and the perils these waters face.
Self-portrait of a person holding up an ornately engraved lock with one eye visible through the loop

The Art of the Flourish

Making the functional beautiful, and offering a way for artists to express their distinctive voices, the flourish evokes our humanity.
Contemporary art museum exterior with facade of leaning wooden columns

Art Preserve

Ruth DeYoung Kohler II’s legacy of supporting visionary outsider artists continues with the opening of a showcase for their built environments.
Two people one wearing circus inspired clothing posing in front of a circus-decorated food truck

The Advocate

Visionary curator Ruth DeYoung Kohler II’s rich legacy of support for artists.
State of Craft Unearthing the Craftscape

Unearthing the Craftscape

A new generation of scholars and curators are exploring how craft objects are shaped by the forces of history, culture, and society. Call it the “craftscape.”

In This Issue

Artist Yi Hsuan Sung with lampshades made from agar

Agar Illuminated

Textile florist Yi Hsuan Sung describes how she uses agar, derived from red seaweed, to create luminous material for garments, accessories, and lamps.
Group of Project FIRE participants posing for a photo

Community of Makers: Project FIRE

Glassblowing is a means for healing at Project FIRE, where Chicago teenagers who have been victims of gun violence learn to transform molten glass into delicate sculptural works.
Artist in sleeveless tshirt holding wood narwal tusk beside wood sculpture of whale with a house built on its back

Maker: Sylvie Rosenthal

This Madison, Wisconsin–based artist has become known for sculptural pieces that are whimsical, often surreal, and always challenging.
Claudia Bueno's Pulse installation at Meow Wolf in Las Vegas

Pulse

Claudia Bueno’s permanent installation at Meow Wolf in Las Vegas immerses the viewer in undulating waves of light and sound.