Crafts

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.

Artisan America

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

The liberal arts college is home to the country’s longest continuously operating broomcraft workshop.

Artisan America

This Kentucky College Has Been Making Brooms for 100 Years

Berea College's broomcraft program carries on an American craft tradition that’s rarely practiced today

For 12 days from October 13 to 25, the works of selected contemporary crafters (above: Lady Liberty by Patti Warashina) will be on sale through the Bidsquare.com platform.

Artisan America

For This Year's Crop of Smithsonian Craft Show Artists, the Pandemic Changes Everything

Ceramicist Patti Warashina, the winner of the show’s prestigious Visionary Award, reflects on how her artwork reveals the surreal of these times

Beets can be used to dye fabric red or pink.

How to Make Clothing Dye With Excess Fruits and Vegetables From Your Garden

Here are step-by-step instructions for giving your clothes and food scraps a second life

Chorus for Paul Mooney, 2017, made of antique quilt, assorted textiles, acrylic and spray paint. Most of the quilts used in Biggers’ works were donated or came from thrift stores.

Sanford Biggers' Quilts Carry Secret Messages

Inspired by antique “freedom quilts,” the artist stitches encoded icons into his own textured pieces

A Dutch art dealer realized the vase's significance after appraising an elderly European woman's collection.

Cool Finds

Rare Chinese Vase Found in Pet-Filled Home Sells for $9 Million

The 18th-century artifact was made in a style specific to the Qianlong dynasty

Tempestries representing daily high temperatures in Utqiagvik, Alaska, in 1925, 2010, and 2016 (left) and Death Valley, California, in 1950 and 2016 (right)

Art Meets Science

How Knitting Enthusiasts Are Using Their Craft to Visualize Climate Change

In these crafters' scarves and blankets, rows of color correspond with daily temperature

Annette Sheppard, one of the ten glassmakers competing on "Blown Away."

The Spectacle and Drama of Netflix’s New Glassblowing Show Will Shatter Your Expectations

"Blown Away" showcases the incredible art form in an innovative reality competition series

A carpet making master class run by the Getik Bed and Breakfast in eastern Armenia.

Armenia

Artisan Master Classes Hope to Draw Travelers Into the Armenian Countryside

A local NGO is working with farmers and craft makers to develop new cultural tourism offerings in Armenia's scenic Gegharkunik region

The Muppet Show Puppeteer Frank Oz Actor poses with Muppets Fozzie Bear Miss Piggy

A Theory About Muppet Master Frank Oz

The prodigious puppeteer looks back at his most beloved creations, from Grover to Fozzie Bear

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