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Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing

Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing


For the past three years, ACC was pleased to recognize the best writing in craft with the Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing. Lois was the highly respected editor in chief of American Craft from 1980 to 2006. Since her death in 2020, a group of generous donors have contributed funds to the award named in her memory. We are now sunsetting this award and working to develop new ways to honor Lois’s legacy.

We offer a deep thank you to everyone who has been involved in the Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing—donors, submitters, nominators, jurors, and finalists—and a hearty congratulations to all the award winners.

—Andrea Specht, ACC executive director, and Karen Olson, editor in chief of American Craft

Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing


The Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing is given for a thoughtfully written and dynamic individual article or essay on some aspect of American craft. Lois Moran, the longest-serving editor of American Craft magazine and a monumental figure in the history of the American Craft Council, was a tireless proponent of the American craft field. She had a mission to elevate the importance of craft for a broad audience. ACC seeks nominations and submissions annually for an award in her name recognizing the work of writers committed to moving the craft conversation forward.

Meet Our 2023 Winners

From the Jurors: Sara Clugage, Sarah Darro, and Andres Payan Estrada

For the 2023 Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing, we chose three essays that revise craft histories through fresh perspectives and reflect the breadth and strength of craft writing now. With great literary variety, the essays work together like matched clock gears, moving the field forward in handcrafted time.

Portrait of Kerr Houston

Kerr Houston
“Close Looking: Edward Duffield’s BMA Clock, in Context” BMore Art

“Close Looking” peers at a somewhat unlikely object, an 18th-century clock, and refracts its timekeeping through a kaleidoscope of temporalities. Kerr Houston positions the clock at the start line of the emerging global capitalist economy, pulling contrasting time frames from its torch-shaped finials, the slow penmanship of Duffield’s carved signature, and this clock’s proximity to public clocks that emerged in Philadelphia in the same period. Taking the clock down to its cogs and out into the world, Houston deftly shifts time registers between a flickering flame, the US’s long nostalgia for “great civilizations,” and the capitalist form of waged labor-time.

Photo by Lisa Folda

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Portrait of Marie Lo

Marie Lo
“The Philippine Craftsman: Empire, Education, and the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition” The Journal of Modern Craft

In “The Philippine Craftsman,” Marie Lo reads the materials associated with the Bureau of Education’s “live exhibition” of Filipino craftspeople and their accompanying magazine, The Philippine Craftsman. Lo’s incisive critique shows how these materials belie the Bureau’s stated goal to form liberally educated citizens in the Philippines and instead further inscribe imperialist values, reflecting Philippine industrial education’s “stratified racial system of labor” back to a US audience. This study excavates the idealized image of the manual craftsperson in colonized territories and provides a powerful corrective to our field’s tendency to valorize all craft education as a process of liberation.

Photo courtesy of Marie Lo

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Portrait of Samantha De Tillio

Samantha De Tillio
“Live Glass at the Turn of the Millennium: The Performance Troupe” Glass Quarterly

“Live Glass at the Turn of the Millennium” writes the spectacular live glass performances of the late 20th and early 21st centuries into the canon of performance art. This important contribution to glass history combines original interviews and archival research to trace the relationships between glass artists and the institutions that have grown to support their work. Samantha De Tillio charts developing influences in glass and without to highlight glass’s medium specificity in a time of dissolving barriers between artistic disciplines. While closely attending to these artists’ conceptual framing and technical accomplishments, De Tillio never loses sight of the drama and entertainment of these performances, emphasizing that artists are often drawn to this format for collaboration with friends and the sheer fun of slinging hot glass around.

Photo courtesy of Samantha De Tillio

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COPYRIGHT ©2023 Glass: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly ( All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in the Summer 2023 edition of Glass (#171). Permission to reprint, republish and/or distribute this material in whole or in part for any other purposes must be obtained from UrbanGlass (

Each winner has been awarded $1,000 for their previously published work that moves the craft conversation forward.


Sarah Darro

Sarah Darro (she/her) is a curator, writer, and visual anthropologist working at the nexus of contemporary craft, art, and design. She has established an intersectional curatorial vision that is invested in reinvigorating museum spaces as forums for discourse, innovation, action, and engagement through experience. She lives and works in Houston, TX, where she is the Curator and Exhibitions Director of Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Darro was the 2022 Jentel Foundation Art Critic at the Archie Bray Foundation and the 2019 American Craft Council Emerging Voices Scholar Awardee. From 2021-2022, she was the Gallery Manager of the Center for Craft in Asheville, NC; in 2020 she completed a Curatorial Research Fellowship in Modern and Contemporary Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass; and in 2018 she completed a three-year Windgate Curatorial Fellowship at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. She holds a Master’s degree in Visual, Material, and Museum Anthropology from the University of Oxford and dual Bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Anthropology from Barnard College of Columbia University. Her research interests include artist communities and collectives, movement and performance practice in craft, architecturally-influenced design, radical accessibility, systems esthetics, and the life histories and agency of objects.

Sara Clugage

Sara Clugage's art practice focuses on economic and political issues in craft and food. She is the editor-in-chief of Dilettante Army (an online journal for visual culture and critical theory) and core faculty for the MA program in Critical Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College. Her most recent publication is the 2021 Haystack monograph, New Recipes: Cooking, Craft, and Performance. She serves on the boards of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and the Textile Society of America.

Andres Payan Estrada

Andres Payan Estrada was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. An artist and curator whose practice engages issues revolving around contemporary craft with a focus on material and object theory along with ceramics and queer practices. He is currently the director of public engagement at Craft Contemporary and has served as visiting art faculty at the California Institute of the Arts, mentor in the Warren Wilson College Master of Arts in Craft Studies and has mentored in the A+B Projects Certificate.

Special thanks to all those who made a donation honoring Lois Moran’s legacy in support of the Lois Moran Award for Craft Writing.