The first issue of a yet-to-be-named publication appears as a mimeographed sheet, published by Aileen Osborn Webb’s Handcraft Cooperative League of America and circulated to stockholders of the League’s America House retail outlet. The HCLA invites suggestions for a name, and Craft Horizons is born.
Under Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn, the U.S. Army begins recreational activities that will evolve into the Army Arts and Crafts program, boosting morale and inspiring creativity in soldiers to this day. The general’s sister, ACC founder Aileen Osborn Webb, is an early champion of the program.
In the first U.S. hot-glass creation outside a factory, Harvey Littleton makes his first sculpture, a nude female torso, while working a summer job at the Corning Glass Works in NY state.
Rosie the Riveter rules, as women pick up power tools and head to wartime assembly lines, getting a taste of non-traditional making.
A young architect named George Nakashima is released from the U.S. internment camp where he learned traditional Japanese carpentry. He goes on to make remarkable furniture that’s famous for using slab wood in a natural state.
The American Craftsmen's Cooperative Council incorporates and establishes the American Craftsmen’s Educational Council. Acting on Webb’s desire that aspiring craftsmen receive quality training, the Council sponsors numerous public programs, seminars, and competitions.
Piet Mondrian completes Broadway Boogie-Woogie, the culmination of his minimalist aesthetic, foreshadowing the Modernist movement.
The Servicemen's Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill, passes, providing money for returning soldiers such as Ed Rossbach, Peter Voulkos, and Rudy Autio to take craft courses at U.S. universities.
The American edition of Bernard Leach’s A Potter’s Book is published. The first ceramics text aimed at working studio potters, it goes through five editions in the next six years.
Charles and Ray Eames’ bent plywood furniture is shown in Charles’ first solo show at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, blurring the lines between designer and craftsman.
The ACEC’s School for American Craftsmen becomes part of the Liberal Arts College of Alfred University. The move signals a shift in the image of craft education from vocational training to a significant, creative field of study.
Amid postwar peace and prosperity, a baby boom, and suburban sprawl, Americans begin to revel in domestic life, constructing home workshops and developing craft hobbies.
Eva Zeisel brings an organic approach to Modernism in her line of Town and Country dinnerware designed for Red Wing Pottery (MN). The line remains popular long after original production ends in 1956.
Eero Saarinen designs the Gateway Arch (completed in 1965) in St. Louis, a lasting icon of Modernism and Structural Expressionism.
Tage Frid begins his illustrious 37-year career teaching woodworking at the School for American Craftsmen and later as head of the furniture department at RISD. His belief that construction techniques should determine design – expressed in his three-volume series, Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking – influences three generations of woodworkers.
First annual Craftsman’s Fair of the Southern Highlands held in Gatlinburg, TN.
French artist Jean Dubuffet begins a company to collect l’art brut (“raw art”) by untrained artists. The style later comes to be known as Outsider Art, a term coined by critic Roger Cardinal in 1972.
Robert Turner establishes the first pottery studio at the avant-garde Black Mountain College (NC).
Anni Albers has a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first show devoted to textiles at the pacesetting museum.
Silversmith Margret Craver, in cooperation with metal-refining company Handy & Harman, organizes the first of three invitational workshops, revitalizing silversmithing as a studio practice, after two wars’ metal rationing had stunted its growth. Artists include Ruth Pennington, Earl Pardon, Frederick Miller, and John Paul Miller.
Lloyd Reynolds begins teaching calligraphy at Reed College in Portland, OR, sparking a revival in the lettering arts. Among those influenced: Steve Jobs, who attended a class taught by Reynolds’ handpicked successor in the early ’70s and became convinced of the need for beautiful, readable fonts for the first Macintosh computers.
Jackson Pollock’s drip painting style is featured in a four-page spread in Life magazine, bringing the Abstract Expressionist to celebrity status in the U.S.
Picasso, seemingly tired of painting, exhibits in the “Third Sculpture International” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Under the direction of William Manker, Scripps College launches its Ceramic Annual, displaying work by Southern California studio potters, including Laura Andresen, Glen Lukens, Otto and Gertrud Natzler, and Marguerite Wildenhain. In 1957, Paul Solder picks up the reins, curating the event through 1991 and raising its profile with national and international artists. Beginning in 1996, guest curators oversee the event. In 2011, those honors went to Tim Berg, who curated the 67th Ceramic Annual: "Making Fun."
~Contributor: Kirk Delman, Claremont, CA (posted Aug. 1, 2011)