The American Craft Council conference begins in Minneapolis today (through Saturday), and this year’s topic is “Creating a New Craft Culture.” In an article about the conference, its context, and the conversations taking place at this event, MinnPost quotes craft historian Sandra Alfoldy:
“It’s a cycle isn’t it? Much of what’s going on now is very similar to the shifts in the field that happened in the ’60s and ’70s. What I want to see is how territorial these groups are. Do fine-craft organizations and professional artisans see these DIY initiatives as a threat or as a positive development in the field? … It’s important to keep in mind that the field is seeing some genuinely new developments: The Internet is a huge factor here, and that new media increases markets for craft globally as well as locally.”
University of Minnesota Press author Elissa Auther, an associate professor of contemporary art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, will be speaking at the event tomorrow. Her presentation, “Lifestyle and Livelihood in Craft Culture,” addresses questions of identity, community and authenticity in craft culture and how they are answered through and against the marketplace. Her book String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art will be out in December.