Craft in America, Inc. is an American non-profit organization (501(c)(3)), founded by Carol Sauvion that gave birth to the hit television documentary series that released back in 2007. The eponymous show is based out of LA, California, and airs on PBS. It began as a project designed to film three one-hour documentaries dedicated to the documentation and popularization of modern-day craft and traditional American craft practices via media educational programs in many formats.
Craft in America – the show’s mission is to raise awareness and encourage an appreciation of handmade craft, practitioners of the said craft, and the enormous contribution of craft to the cultural heritage and history of a nation. In 2005, using the funds and grants received from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS along with several other private donors, began a series of television documentaries that went on to become a full-fledged series in 2007 and progressed to win prestigious awards like the Peabody Award.
The series, since its launch, has spanned 10 seasons to date. Now the question is, will there be a Craft in America season 11? Read on to know.
Craft in America Cast: Who’s in it?
Each episode of the documentary series Craft in America takes viewers inside the homes and workplaces of skilled American craft makers, who get eloquent about their creative process and follows them as finely crafted pieces of art are made with hands and heart. The series has so far brought on board and filmed the works of more than two hundred artists, including stained glass artists, cabinet makers, textile artists, bead workers, woodworkers, blacksmiths, silversmith, etc. such as Joyce J. Scott, Sam Maloof, Tom Joyce, Dona Look, among others.
The series also visits and covers various schools and craft institutions that have made it their mission to further the process of and preserve American crafts. Craft in America has covered the Pilchuck Glass School, the Penland School of Crafts, the North Bennet Street School, Pewabic Pottery, and The Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian. Maintaining diversity and focusing on native and multi-cultural craft artists is one of the specialties of the show.
What is Craft in America about?
This Peabody Award-winning series, which airs on PBS, explores the wildly creative spirit of America through longstanding traditions of handmade crafts. Since its premiere in 2007, the series has led viewers on a grand journey to discover the practitioners of American craft, their origins, and their varying techniques. Each episode of Craft in America brings together sagas from regions and cultures that seem to be very different on surface viewing, using shared history and living practice to explore and identify issues of identity, philosophy, and creativity.
Take, for example, two of its installments called ‘Borders’ and ‘Neighbors,’ wherein the channel is seen venturing into and across the borders of the southern United States in their attempt to highlight the influential history if any. Borders, for instance, takes you to Mexico, to explore connections and the diverse influences the Mexican and American craft practitioners have had on one another. ‘Neighbours’ takes you to meet the Mexican ceramic artists Carlomagno Pedro Martínez, and Magdalena Pedro Martínez then brings you back to the US to check out American silver designer William Spratling.
Another episode called ‘Visionaries’ brings to light the myriad ways in which contemporary artists influence the perspectives of people through their art and seduce them to the endless prospects of practicing a craft. It follows Kay Sekimachi, Forrest L. Merrill, Jack Lenor Larsen, and Felicia Rice, among others. One documentary titled ‘California’ takes an in-depth look at the diverse heritage of craft and the traditions outlining it with Corine Pearce, Randy Stromsoe, and Deborah Cross. ‘Nature,’ on the other hand, delves into the natural world with Patrick Dougherty, Preston Singletary, and Catherine Alice Michaelis.
The series is essentially a journey into the minds and hearts of artists and their techniques and explores the origins of craft in the land of America. Famed sculptor and jewelry designer Thomas Mann from New Orleans crafted the Storm Cycle to reflect on the disastrous Hurricane Katrina, that brought about a vast change in the lives of those affected by it. He said, “I believe that the topics I’ve chosen for the themes of the panels in Storm Cycle depicts an alternative angle of view of the event, one that maintains a sense of humor about the human condition and our sense of resilience to catastrophe while pointing out the foibles and contradictions of the power structures we expect to protect us. It is also my clear intent to keep the plight of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast alive in the mind of America via the medium of the arts.”
Craft in America Season 11 Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘Craft in America’ season 10 premiered on December 21, 2018, on PBS with two episodes. Since its debut in 2007, the show has kept adding installments, one to three episodes, during the course of every year.
‘Craft in America’ season 11 premieres on December 27, 2019, on PBS. It consists of two episodes as well, titled, ‘Quilts’ and ‘Identity’, which land on the same date on the platform. You can watch the episodes on PBS.
While a majority of us think of “craft” as something we were forced to do in the second grade, which we outgrew, there are artists who craft their entire lives. The award-winning PBS series Craft in America follows those dedicated practitioners and the contemporary craft scene. The artists explain their work, their influences, inspirations, and processes and we take a tour of their workspaces and have the chance to see, and possibly buy their handiwork.
There are no gimmicks, no cheeky hosts, no trick editing, and definitely no dumbing down. This is an old-fashioned documentary series giving viewers the credit for having some sense and knowledge, and a mature taste in wanting to know more. The work emerging at the end of each episode in Craft in America is a gorgeously worked, thoughtfully made, and is immensely functional. We have the unique chance, through Craft in America, to know artists whose work is never in the slightest danger of featuring in mainstream media. The artists are mostly older, which is quite inspiring, and their inner tranquillity and creative passions may be unconventional, but never fail to fascinate.
Craft in America Trailer
You can watch a preview clip from the episode titled ‘Identity’ from season 11 below:
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