Crafts

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

The Guna, an Indigenous group residing in Panama and parts of neighboring Colombia, have been creating colorfully embroidered clothing for centuries.

Panama

The Colorful History Behind Panama's Mola

Made by hand, this clothing staple is an important piece of the country's rich culture

The pinta’o originated in the province of Coclé southwest of Panama City, where the hats are still made today.

Panama

The Real Panama Hat

For centuries, Panamanian artists have been weaving "pinta'o" from natural fibers

Pysanky have been a Ukrainian springtime tradition for generations. Creating the intricately decorated eggs requires patience and a steady hand.

Traditionally Dyed Eggs Spring Into Action for Ukraine

The colorful folk art is a centuries-long custom

Karen Nyberg, a retired NASA astronaut, is launching a new fabric line inspired by her time in space. 

Good News

Retired Astronaut Launches a Fabric Line Inspired by Her Views of Earth From Space

Karen Nyberg's two missions to the International Space Station over her 30-year career with NASA fueled her creativity as an artist

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 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

The annual, juried event is one of the most prestigious craft shows in the United States.

Three Craft Artists Explain How Art and Sustainability Come Together in Their Work

Smithsonian’s prestigious annual craft show opens online April 24; the nation’s top artists gather in the spirit of optimism

A 300-thread count sari woven out of a hybrid Dhaka muslin thread

How Modern Researchers Are Trying to Recreate a Long-Lost Fabric

Dhaka muslin was immensely popular for millennia, but the secrets of its creation faded from memory by the early 20th century

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

Amelia Joe-Chandler, Hogan Teapot, 2013. Hammered copper and cast silver. 7.5 x 11 x 9cm. National Museum of the American Indian, 26/9781.

Smithsonian Voices

Learn the Powerful Story Behind This Handcrafted Diné (Navajo) Teapot

From the storage vaults of the National Museum of the American Indian, a small, copper sculpture points to a different sense of place

At the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan, Alaska, Nathan Jackson wears ceremonial blankets and a headdress made from ermine pelts, cedar, abalone shell, copper and flicker feathers.

Alaska

How Native Artisans in Alaska Bring Innovation and Humor to Their Craft

In Indigenous communities along the coast, a lively artistic movement plays with tradition

Cotton coverlet quilted in Texas, 19th century.

Artisan America

The State of American Craft Has Never Been Stronger

Today’s craft renaissance is more than just an antidote to our over-automated world. It renews a way of life that made us who we are

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Artisan America

Artisan America

A year-long celebration of craft in the United States

A "crazy quilt"—a chaotic style without repeating features—by an unidentified 19th-century artist incorporates politicians' campaign banner portraits.

The Surprisingly Radical History of Quilting

Works on display in an Ohio exhibition highlight political art by marginalized people

Early Puebloans wove turkey feathers into yucca fiber to make the blanket.

In the Ancient American Southwest, Turkeys Were Friends, Not Food

An 800-year-old blanket made out of turkey feathers testifies to the bird's significance in Pueblo culture

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