WORDS BY ISABELLE WATTENBERG
The word “craft” has arguably been diluted as of late—a label slapped onto mega-brand beer, and a catchall term advertisers use to conjure images of handmade work when they’re selling assembly-line products. But amid all this, the American Craft Council has steadily been supporting and uplifting the artists and processes that create and maintain the world of craft art. Since 1939, the organization has provided resources and community for both maintaining craft tradition, from Japanese textile to Etruscan-era metalworking techniques, and exploring innovation—such as new methods of glass blowing, or wearable sculpture made from living plants.
The Council’s wealth of resources include a craft library, intensive study programs, and awards celebrations, but its crown jewel is the American Craft Made show—a multi-day marketplace that connects artists and their craft with the public. This year features three days of exhibition at the St. Paul Rivercentre, accompanied by a virtual marketplace that’ll be open for the first two weeks in October.
“The 150 artists at American Craft Made are united by their dedication to making handmade objects that reflect a deep respect for materials and processes—and by the drive to share their enthusiasm with the public,” says Andrea Specht, executive director of the American Craft Council. “American Craft Made / St. Paul is also a thoughtfully curated mix of Minnesota artists (which make up about one-third of the exhibitors) and artists from around the United States. Whether you’re a ‘big C’ collector, a craft enthusiast, or a person who simply loves to look at and learn about beautiful objects, we welcome you to American Craft Made / St. Paul,” she says.
American Craft Made attendees will wander through a paradise of artful craft—wood carvings, pottery, bronze-cast sculptures, hand-woven shawls, beaded jewelry, garments from recycled kimonos, vegan textiles made from pineapple and cactus leaves, and so, so much more. If you want to really experience craft in its many true forms, this is the place to be.