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Summer In The City Salon Series - Inside Out: Current Conversations in Craft & Beyond

Last year the American Craft Council launched its inaugural Summer in the City Salon Series, a trio of current conversations on craft in our historic library…

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Last year the American Craft Council launched its inaugural Summer in the City Salon Series, a trio of current conversations on craft in our historic library located on the sixth floor of 72 Spring Street in New York. If you missed it or were motivated and want to hear more or have simply been looking forward to having a glass of wine and some good conversation, fear not, the good folks at the Council-through the generous support of Leatrice Eagle and Etsy -have conspired to shape the second, Summer in the City series beginning on Thursday, May 15th at 6:00 p.m.

This first event, "The Industrial Complex,” coincides with the opening of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair that weekend and features Tyler Hays of the New York and Philadelphia-based furniture company BDDW. Hays will discuss the beginnings of his company, his unique and often awe-inducing designs and the company's relationship with industry and the handmade. Hay's beautifully crafted, traditionally turned, cutting-edge pieces known for their "heirloom quality" are a natural fit and his walk through BDDW's past all the way up to its present and a look at its future should prove inspiring and truly eye opening.

We decided to call our second event on July 24th "Connect/(Dis)connect" and have invited jeweler, educator and writer Bruce Metcalf and Chanel Kennebrew of Junkprints, an indie craft artist, graphic designer and Etsy seller, to engage in a lively conversation that will explore the complicated relationships between the broad spectrum of craft makers. Metcalf's sharp-witted thinking and his ability to clearly articulate his feelings and observations about the state of craft today (and his ability to rile up an audience as demonstrated by his presentation at the Society of North American Goldsmiths conference this spring) made him an obvious choice for this discussion. Etsy suggested we invite Kennebrew, known for her engaging, playful and socially relevant work that speaks to the themes of stereotypes and social binary opposition. Her t-shirts, hoodies, bags and other collaged pieces are bright, bold, beautiful and seem to have a soundtrack of their own. These two in conversation should be immensely insightful and shed lots of light on what’s going on in the world of craft right now.

Our third and final program takes place on September 18th and is aptly named "The Politics of Craft." With the historic upcoming presidential election looming we felt it was an important time to examine the relationship that craft has to politics and the role that it can (and does) play in addressing issues of urgency in our world. With that in mind, we immediately knew whom we wanted to round up for this final edition to our series.

Being big fans of Rob Walker, a columnist for the New York Times Magazine and author of the recently published Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (for more information and to purchase your own copy go to, and knowing his interest in craft across the board, we tracked him down and invited him to lead a conversation with makers Sabrina Gschwandtner and Liz Collins. Walker's writing has focused on consumer culture, design, marketing and related subjects and he is the author of the new book, Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. With craft lurking at the edges of so many conversations, we felt that Walker would be just the guy to draw some interesting conclusions-particularly if we put two smart and very forward-thinking and forward-practicing makers in the mix. So, without hesitation we asked Gschwandtner, of KnitKnit, and Collins, a knitwear designer and founder of Knitting Nation to join.

Gschwandtner has just finished a 16-city whistle stop tour promoting her book KnitKnit: Profiles and Projects from Knitting’s New Wave and her work has been exhibited in various international museums and galleries, including the Museum of Arts & Design, New York, and the Fleming Museum, Vermont. Collins is an artist and designer, who uses machine knitting to create groundbreaking clothing, textiles, and 3-D installations. She designs knitwear, collaborates with other designers and artists, and is an Assistant Professor in the Textile Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Collins's work was included in Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC (2007) and can be seen in the books Fashioning Fabrics and Knitknit.

So please join us (it is free after all) for some exceptional thinking and conversation this summer. Come for one or join us for all of the programs that bring the best of the old and new together. Don't forget to sign up now as space is extremely limited and reservations are required: Contact Monica Hampton or (212) 274-0630 ×272.

Hope to see you there!



Thank you for hosting these events. I am really looking forward to seeing Bruce Metcalf and Chanel Kennebrew. I love both their work and am anxious to hear about their various experiences as makers - the differences and similarities. See you Thursday!

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