“Neo-Craft” implications?


what do you think?


An interesting brief…

Was looking around the net a little trying to contemporize my outlook on Fine Art Craft Pedagogy, and came across this on the united nations plaza website. Nice short read, good references at the end.


Gabriel Craig

Gabriel CraigGabriel Craig  is a metalsmith, writer, and craft activist. In addition to founding conceptualmetalsmithing.com in 2008, Craig is the Editor in Chief of the forthcoming National Student Craft Zine.


Here is my top 5 (I couldn’t pick just 3):


1. Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. Oxford and New York: Berg, 2007.

Craft has been trying to define itself since before I began making things. As I grappled with my identity as a maker Thinking Through Craft certainly provided a roadmap. Essentially a 169-page definition of craft in the current socio-cultural landscape, this book is the new standard craft theory text. A must read.

2. Boris, Eileen. Art and Labor: Ruskin, Morris and the Craftsman Ideal in America.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986.

A brief history of the British Arts and Crafts Movement and how it manifested in the rapidly industrializing United States. Replete with chapters on organizational and economic development,  and rich in its multicultural and non-gendered biased perspective, this book fills in the historical gap between the thoroughly covered British movement and the Studio Craft Movement circa 1950.

3. Walker, Rob. Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. New York: Random House, 2008.

The book every craft organization executive director should sleep with next to their bed. Craft needs to be branded for the masses, and Walker gets how marketing works today. Written in an accessible and easy to read style, it was a pleasure to read.

4. Buren, Daniel. “The Function of the Studio.” Trans. Thomas Repensek. October,  Vol. 10 (Autumn 1979): 51-58.

The bad boy of the French Academy in the late 1960’s, now lionzed in museum collections world wide. In The Function of the Studio Buren questions “the art system” in a wry and biting criticism of accepting the way things are. For anyone who ever asked themselves, “isn’t there a better way?,” Buren can offer insight.

5. Atterbury, Paul., ed. A.W.N Pugin: Master of Gothic Revival. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995.

A.W.N. Pugin is usually the forth name that you don’t remember after Ruskin, Morris, and Stickley. A contemporary of Ruskin who championed the Gothic Revival in England, but who could have cared less about the handmade, Pugin’s romantic, Christian and moralizing doctrine laid the groundwork for the Arts and Crafts Movement. An exhibition catalog of the 1995 show at the Bard Graduate Center in New York, Master of the Gothic offers 10 essays on different aspects of Pugin’s origins, contributions, and legacy to decorative arts.

Travis Meinolf

Travis MeinolfTravis Meinolf is a weaver from San Francisco, currently living in Berlin, Germany, with an MFA in Textiles and Social Practice from California College of the Arts, awarded 2008. His thesis, Common Goods, is archived at the Vancouver Art Gallery, SFMOMA, and Gladstone Gallery, New York, because of its pretty pictures.

1. ‘Art and Socialism‘ a talk delivered by William Morris to the Leicester Secular Society in 1884, and many others including Art and labour…can be found on the Morris section of the marxist.org archives

2.’Spaces of Hope’ by David Harvey, part of a series, California Studies in Critical Human Geography…Also ‘the Condition of Post-Modernity’. Harvey does such an excellent job giving background to his arguments. Really, any book by him offers great insight that is applicable to all cultural production.

3. ‘Essay on Liberation’ by Herbert Marcuse and his opus ‘One-Dimensional Man’ and all the critique and response that comes out of that work over the next few decades.

Maybe this stuff is  a bit naive to suggest, I’d also (for textile enthusiasts) go into more specific stuff like Anni Albers’ ‘On Weaving’ and Arthur Danto’s ‘Weaving as Metaphor’ article… oh and Capital is probably a good one, too, to continue the ‘craft as revolution’ bent that I am working with. I bet Stephanie Syjuco (when we get her list) will have some good ‘craft as anti-market’ texts for you, too.

Erik Scollon

Erik Scollon

Erik Scollon

Erik Scollon is an artist and writer based in Oakland, California.  He recieved a dual degree from California College of the Arts (MFA in Ceramics, and MA in Visual and Critical Studies.

1. Thinking Through Craft by Glenn Adamson.  Adamson moves beyond the Art vs. Craft anxiety that usually bogs down too many writers, and begins the long over due work of a theory of craft on its own terms.

2. Theory of the Avant-Gard by Peter Burger.  Craft object are usually rooted in function, and Burger’s analysis of the modernist split between art and life turns upon the function of the work.  Reading Burger in grad school really set the stage for how I would think about art, craft and function.

3. Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriaud.  I had heard of the Empty Bowls project long before I’d heard of Rirkrit Tiravanija.  Bourriaud’s description of the way artists and practices were relating to the audience and community essentially describes the way that craft practices had already been functioning, but now there were new words for it.

Also, here is a link to my masters thesis- Using Art:  A Theory of Contemporary Ceramics.

Craft Theory Reading List

This reading list of craft, craft theory, and related texts is managed by Travis Meinolf and Erik Scollon.  Contributors have been asked to suggest three texts they have found useful to them in their thinking, conception or practice of craft based making.