American Craft

Artist Arianne King Comer works with indigo ink and rice paper at a farm on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina.

The Blue That Enchanted the World

Indigo is growing again in South Carolina, revived by artisans and farmers with a modern take on a forgotten history

This year's Craft2Wear Show features over 60 premier jewelry, leather and wearables artisans from across the country.

The Art of Wearing Works of Art

From Japanese kimono silks to Navajo jewelry, Smithsonian’s 2022 Craft2Wear brings shoppers into a world of wearable craft and design

"This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World," featuring Alicia Eggert's stunning 2019-2020 neon sculpture, is on view at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Craft World Is Undergoing a Democratization

In a new show at the Renwick Gallery, maker’s art is having a renaissance moment, with works that reveal powerful persistence and resilience

The four-day Smithsonian Craft Show opens April 20 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., offering the works of 120 artists (above: an array of offerings).

Nine Artists on What It Means to Create

Forty years of bringing critical attention to the nation's best-known makers in the arts is celebrated at this year's Smithsonian Craft Show

Left, the Chiquibul Forest in Belize, near the spot where the fabled Tree once grew. Right, a custom guitar crafted from the Tree’s distinctive mahogany.

The Legend of the Music Tree

Exotic lumber salvaged from a remote forest in Belize is the world’s most coveted tonewood

The renowned Tlingit American artist, Preston Singletary created more than 60 glassworks to illustrate the traditional story of the raven, above: White Raven (Dleit Yéil), 2018, and pairing them in an immersive experience with music and projections.

Artist Preston Singletary Sheds New Light on the Tlingit Raven Tale

Stunning glassworks and custom soundscapes create an immersive reimagining of an ancient oral tradition

Harriet Jacobs, who escaped enslavement to write Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), created these three dolls for the children of writer Nathaniel Parker Willis around 1850-60. 

History of Now

Black Dolls Tell a Story of Play—and Resistance—in America

A new exhibition traces the toys' history from handmade cloth figures to an American Girl character

In "New Glass Now," at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, works by 50 artists, including the hot-sculpted glass work of James Akers, (above: TThe Wild One (B), 2018) amplify the stunning advancement of the artform since the last major survey.

 

Two New Shows Reflect the Shining Versatility of Glass

Thrilling innovations at the Renwick mirror SAAM’s exquisite historical survey of the Venetian masters and their influences

Joe Fedderson (Arrow Lakes/Okanagan) creates abstract patterns (Above: Horses and Deer, 2020) from ordinary life.

Six Native Artists and Their Works Receive Major Recognition

The upcoming 2023 Renwick Invitational explores how Indigenous worldviews and the present moment inform what Native artists are making today

Attributed to Mary Way or Elizabeth Way Champlain, A Lady Holding a Bouquet, circa 1790–1800

Women Who Shaped History

These Sisters' Innovative Portrait Miniatures Immortalized 19th-Century Connecticut's Elite

An exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum is the first to showcase Mary and Elizabeth Way's unique creations, which went unrecognized for decades

The internationally recognized paper artist Jiyong Chung works in the Korean craft of Joomchi (above: Balance IV, detail), a technique that was born of necessity centuries ago.

Three Craft Artists Share How the Pandemic Has Reshaped Life and Art

Traditional and innovative specialists make ready for the upcoming virtual Smithsonian Craft Show and Sale

The Paul Family Quilt (1830-35), on display in "Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories," was made for a four-poster bed.

American History as Seen Through Quilts

For historians, the textiles are much more than just decorative covers for a bed

Frederick Hurten Rhead, panel for overmantel, 1910

First Museum Dedicated to American Arts and Crafts Movement Opens in Florida

Proponents of the artistic philosophy pushed back against industrial production and embraced handcraftsmanship

Carolyn Smith collecting beargrass in Klamath National Forest, 2015. For beargrass to be supple enough for weavers to use in their baskets, it needs to be burned annually. Ideally, it is burned in an intentionally set cultural fire, where only the tops are burned, leaving the roots intact. Prescribed fires in the Klamath National Forest are few and far between, so weavers “follow the smoke” and gather, when they can, after wildfires sweep through the landscape.

Smithsonian Voices

How Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Offers Solutions to California's Wildfires

“We need to reintegrate Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and cultural and prescribed burning into our landscape,” Carolyn Smith says

In 1921, Ruth Middleton embroidered this cotton sack with a powerful family story.

History of Now

A Simple Cotton Sack Tells an Intergenerational Story of Separation Under Slavery

Historian Tiya Miles' new book traces the lives of three Black women through an embroidered family heirloom known as "Ashley's sack"

At the foot of North Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains sits Wallace, an incredibly resilient, Old West mining town.

The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2021

From Alabama's music capital to the self-proclaimed 'center of the universe,' these American towns are calling your name

A close-up view of the Hartwell Memorial Window, a stained-glass panel likely designed by Agnes F. Northrop in 1917

Stunning Tiffany Stained Glass Debuts After 100 Years of Obscurity

The enormous, luminescent landscape spent nearly a century in Providence before its 2018 acquisition by the Art Institute of Chicago

A behind-the-scenes look at the installation of a massive piece of stained glass art inside the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

Artisan America

Celebrating America's Oldest Family-Run Stained Glass Studio

A new exhibition spotlights Judson Studios, the Los Angeles group that's been creating iconic pieces of art for nearly 125 years

Like the original show staged at what's now the Smithsonian American Art Museum, "Objects: USA 2020," hosted by R & Company, an art gallery in New York City, aims to bring American craft to a new generation.

Artisan America

The Groundbreaking 1969 Craft Exhibit 'Objects: USA' Gets a Reboot

More than 50 years later, the new show combines the works of 100 established and emerging artists

Jim McDowell holds his jug, “Emmett Till.”

Smithsonian Voices

How a Pioneering Ceramicist Is Using Pottery to Reclaim Black History

Jim McDowell, known to many simply as “the Black Potter,” is a ceramicist who specializes in a craft with deep connections to lost histories

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