Craft Road Trips
Craft Road Trips
In the spirit of the old-fashioned American road trip, we asked our colleagues around the office and around the country to list their favorite craft spots. We’ve included some excellent craft destinations many of you will recognize, and perhaps a few you haven’t heard of. Each region is filled with top-notch institutions and organizations – it would take much more than a summer to visit them all.
This list is not exhaustive; we quickly realized there were many more worthy venues than would fit in our print edition, so we expanded the list here. Let us know other places you’d recommend – we welcome suggestions in the comments area below and at [email protected].
Contributors to this list were: Peter Held, curator of ceramics, ASU Art Museum, Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, AZ; Will Hopkins and Mary K. Baumann, creative directors, American Craft, Minneapolis; Carissa Hussong, executive director, Metal Museum, Memphis; Faythe Levine, author and filmmaker, Milwaukee; Joyce Lovelace, contributing editor, American Craft, Los Angeles; Brigitte Martin, editor, Crafthaus, Pittsburgh; Jean McLaughlin, executive director, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC; Perry A. Price, director of education, American Craft Council, Minneapolis; June Ross, operations and communications director, Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco; Lowery Stokes Sims, curator, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Cindi Strauss, curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Lena Vigna, curator of exhibitions, Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI.
Brookfield Craft Center
Inspiring campus centered on a Revolutionary War-era mill, featuring seven fully equipped artist studios as well as an exhibition gallery and gift shop.
Washington, DC, Rockville, MD, Reston, VA, Richmond, VA
Long-running craft enterprise with multiple locations, featuring unique, high-quality goods chosen for beauty and function.
The Renwick Gallery
A branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum focusing on American craft and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present. Visit before renovations begin in 2014.
The Textile Museum
Collection of more than 19,000 objects dating back to 3,000 BC. The museum will join with George Washington University in 2014 in an expanded, custom-built space.
Representing more than 90 artists in glass, ceramics, wood, stone, mixed media, and textiles in gallery space and sculpture garden.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
One of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas at one of the largest museums in the United States.
The Society of Arts and Crafts
One of the oldest craft organizations in the country; two floors of gallery space and four exhibitions annually.
Fuller Craft Museum
Exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, and special events “where you can literally touch the materials and objects.”
Gallery featuring ceramic artists, with both sculpture and functional wares.
Innovative artists using traditional and non-traditional materials who push the boundaries of studio jewelry and adornment.
Contemporary gallery specializing in figural sculpture and studio ceramics.
Representing more than 50 internationally recognized artists working in glass.
American Visionary Art Museum
The work of artists without formal training, in an environment that is proudly “un-museumy.”
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
Deer Isle, ME
Perched on an island in the Atlantic, offering studio workshops in clay, glass, metals, paper, weaving, woodworking, and more.
Center for Furniture Craftsmanship
Teaching students of all levels how to design and craft functional work out of wood.
Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center
Museum and gallery exhibitions, demonstrations, fellowships, school programs, and collectors’ seminars, with an emphasis on glass.
Thousands of decorative art objects from the 16th century to the present day, including furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and textiles. Check out the “House & Home” galleries in the Ballantine House wing.
Pritam & Eames
East Hampton, NY
Mary K. Baumann: “They put original handmade furniture on the map.”
Corning Museum of Glass
Collection of more than 45,000 glass objects spanning 3,500 years of glassmaking history, in an inspired building. Also classes and demonstrations.
East Hampton, NY
Founded by Jack Lenor Larsen, LongHouse’s collections, gardens, sculpture, and programs are designed to “reflect world cultures and inspire a creative life.”
Excellent international contemporary art jewelry.
The Noguchi Museum
Long Island City, NY
Founded and designed by seminal modern artist Isamu Noguchi to display examples of his life’s work.
American Folk Art Museum
Devoted to American folk art as well as the work of self-taught artists from around the world.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Offering programming at other venues while the main campus undergoes renovation. Carissa Hussong says of this Smithsonian museum: “The exhibitions never fail to inspire.”
Greenwich House Pottery
A diverse program of classes, exhibitions, residencies, and events.
Museum of Arts and Design
Brigitte Martin: “I just absolutely love the top-floor learning center, where visitors can peek at the artistic process. Everyone is free to watch and talk to the artists while they create. This kind of interaction between the public and the artists is priceless.”
Featuring historical and contemporary designers known for innovative and finely crafted work.
Diverse exhibitions and film series, as well as concerts, readings, lectures, and children’s activities.
Memorial Art Gallery and Centennial Sculpture Park
Works representing more than 5,000 years of art history. Recently renovated sculpture park features pieces by Wendell Castle and Albert Paley, among others.
Mill Run, PA
Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, now a National Historic Landmark.
Nakashima Foundation for Peace and woodworking studio
New Hope, PA
Perry A. Price: “The warehouse full of wood is worth the trip alone to visit the home and studio of one of the most influential American craftsmen.”
The Wharton Esherick Museum
The hilltop studio and residence of the noted wood sculptor, with more than 200 works on display, is open to the public through guided tours.
The Center for Art in Wood
Lowery Stokes Sims: “This mainstay of woodworking and turning traditions has recently relocated to a new space, which allows the center to display
its collection in open storage. Imaginative and innovative exhibitions.”
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The first major museum to have a curator dedicated to craft, not to mention an extensive collection and an annual major craft show.
The Clay Studio
Exhibitions, guest residencies, classes, workshops, and lectures promoting the ceramic arts.
Contemporary studio artists working in figurative, narrative, and functional ceramics, glass, jewelry, and fiber.
Exhibiting innovative work “that can coexist in the worlds of design, fine art, decorative art and craft.”
Society for Contemporary Craft
Exhibitions focused on cultural diversity and non-mainstream art, as well as a range of classes, community outreach programs, and a retail store.
Bread and Puppet Theater
Perry A. Price: “Political theater; the barns are filled with vignettes of 50 years of papier-mâché puppets. Stay for mint tea and fresh-baked bread with aioli.”
Ann Nathan Gallery
Contemporary sculpture, paintings, and artist-made furniture.
The Art Institute of Chicago
Thorne Miniature Rooms showcase architectural and furniture styles from the Middle Ages to the 1930s. The decorative arts galleries contain Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles and Ray Eames furniture.
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Well-thought-out exhibitions, a permanent collection of more than 1,100 works of art, and educational programming including one-day workshops to learn such crafts as needle felting, button jewelry, and cigar-box guitar making.
Illinois Artisans Shop
Part of the Illinois Artisans Program, this shop, the first of its kind in the state, sells work by more than 350 Illinois member-makers at the James R. Thompson Center in the Loop.
National Museum of Mexican Art
Home to more than 7,000 artworks and objects from ancient Mexico to the present, the museum has one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections and features an extensive folk art collection, with a special focus on textiles.
Master works in ceramics and fiber arts, along with contemporary painting and sculpture.
Cranbrook Academy of Art and Museum
Bloomfield Hills, MI
Cindi Strauss: “Phenomenal intersection of craft and design in its academic program, artists-in-residence, collection, and exhibitions.”
Detroit Institute of Arts
Collections spanning the world, from ancient Egyptian works to contemporary art; also home of the Detroit Film Theatre.
Franconia Sculpture Park
20-acre park with a rotating collection of almost 100 sculptures, many wacky, 45 minutes northeast of the Twin Cities.
Goldstein Museum of Design
Pieces from Jack Lenor Larsen’s archive plus the work of prominent fashion designers such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Issey Miyake, and Isaac Mizrahi.
A boutique that features handmade fine jewelry, home décor items, and specialty chocolates.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Lowery Stokes Sims: “The permanent collection of craft is diverse, first-rate, and stunning. A cornerstone is the collection of textile samples donated by designer Jack Lenor Larsen.”
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Get inspired by printing presses and drawers full of wood and metal type, then stop at the gift shop for some take-home art books.
Northern Clay Center
Exhibitions, classes, a ceramics sales gallery, and the annual American Pottery Festival.
June Ross: “Great workshops encourage experimenting with fiber for all skill levels.”
Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
One of the big-five U.S. contemporary art museums, known for innovative approaches to audience engagement.
Weisman Art Museum
Native American Mimbres pottery and Korean furniture, among many other treasures, in a Frank Gehry building.
The Grand Hand Gallery
St. Paul, MN
Along with a second location in Napa, California (opened in 2012), the gallery offers work in clay, wood, glass, metal, fiber, and jewelry, with regular exhibitions.
Minnesota Potters of the Upper St. Croix River
Taylors Falls and vicinity, MN
Around 50 potters in a beautiful setting who open their studios for tours.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Kansas City, MO
About a dozen special exhibitions each year at three locations; admission is free.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, MO
Extensive collection of Asian art. Time magazine called the museum’s 2007 Bloch building an “architectural marvel.”
Red Star Studios
Kansas City, MO
Workspace for ceramists, artists-in-residence opportunities, classes, and sales of handmade objects and functional pottery.
Toy and Miniature Museum
Kansas City, MO
Carissa Hussong: “Although there are a large number of mass-produced toys included in this museum, there are many handmade items as well. It is a strange and funky place – definitely worth a visit and should be countered with a trip to the Kemper art museum or the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.”
Featuring repurposed architectural and industrial objects, the museum bills itself as an “eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel.”
Two locations offering craft exhibitions, studio space, classes, and family programs.
International Quilt Study Center and Museum
The largest publicly held quilt collection in the world.
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Co-founded by Jun Kaneko, this has been called “the largest urban artist colony in the world.”
Toledo Museum of Art
The Glass Pavilion has five galleries, a glass study room, classrooms, two hot shops and a flame-working studio, a multipurpose GlasSalon, courtyard space, and a coffee bar.
Ohio Craft Museum
Five major exhibitions annually and classes for all ages and levels of experience. Also houses a research library.
Excellent collection centered on early American furniture and 17th- and 18th-century British pottery, with portions on view in its gallery and often at the Milwaukee Art Museum, too.
Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron
North Freedom, WI
The largest scrap-metal sculpture in the world, built by Tom Every in the 1980s, includes two Thomas Edison dynamos from the 1880s and the decontamination chamber from the Apollo 11 spacecraft.
Racine Art Museum
Carissa Hussong: “It seems kind of silly to recommend the Racine Art Museum – anyone interested in craft would already know it is not to be missed. And while in the area, drive up to Sheboygan to tour the Kohler Arts Center.”
John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Cindi Strauss: “Ceramics industry meets contemporary art – incredible exhibitions with boundary-breaking objects.” Lena Vigna: “You’ve seen the bathrooms, right?”
Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum
Two Rivers, WI
More than 1.5 million pieces of wood type and a 4,500-square-foot printing studio make it one of the world’s largest printing museums.
Birmingham Museum of Art
The rich collection is complemented by a 30,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture garden.
Carissa Hussong: “A National Historic Landmark [and former pig-iron factory], it now hosts regular iron pours, a national cast-iron conference, and a
variety of classes.”
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
June Ross: “Love the sculpture garden, fantastic architecture, and state-of-the-art visitor experience.”
Arkansas Arts Center
Little Rock, AR
An art museum and center for the visual and performing arts.
Boca Museum of Art
Boca Raton, FL
Check out the extensive collections of pre-Columbian and Asian art and sculpture gardens.
Cornell Museum of Art and American Culture
Delray Beach, FL
Six exhibition galleries and an interactive children’s gallery that focus on fine art, craft, and American culture.
St. Petersburg, FL
Retail and exhibition galleries, artists’ studios, classes, and an annual, two-day festival.
Mindy Solomon Gallery
St. Petersburg, FL
Sculpture, drawings, paintings, and photography, with exhibitions that rotate every six weeks.
The Dali Museum
St. Petersburg, FL
One of the largest collections of works by the legendary artist, located on St. Pete’s breathtaking waterfront.
West Palm Beach, FL
Contemporary glass and fine art sculpture from both national and international artists.
Museum of Design Atlanta
Exhibitions on architecture, industrial and product design, interiors and furniture, graphics, fashion, and more.
The Signature Shop
A craft gallery offering jewelry, objects for use and decoration, and sculpture.
A maze of buildings, sculptures, and displays built from found objects and recycled materials by Howard Finster.
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
The 25,000-square-foot facility includes exhibitions of Kentucky crafts and a shop featuring work from more than 650 artisans.
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
Large-scale exhibitions in three gallery spaces; monthly trolley hop nights.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art and Center for Southern Craft and Design
One of the largest collections of Southern art in the world, exemplifying the visual heritage of the American South from 1733 to the present.
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art
Peter Held: “Works by [‘Mad Potter of Biloxi’] George Ohr in a Frank Gehry-designed building.”
Walter Anderson Museum of Art
Ocean Springs, MS
Dedicated to the legacy of the three Anderson brothers of the Gulf Coast: Walter, a painter; Peter, a potter; and James, a painter and ceramist.
Asheville Art Museum
Many works of significance representing Western North Carolina’s craft-rich heritage.
Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center
An exhibition space and resource center dedicated to the acclaimed experimental school of the mid-20th century.
Blue Spiral 1
Large gallery presenting works by Southern artists; 15+ exhibitions annually.
Southern Highland Craft Guild
Traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. Three galleries, a library, craft shop, and demonstrations.
John C. Campbell Folk School
The folk school offers year-round weekend and weeklong classes in crafts as well as music, dance, cooking, gardening, and more.
Two locations – Randolph and Uptown – showcase art and design from around the world.
June Ross: “They level the playing field for all of us to be textile designers. Factory tour!”
The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design
Gallery exhibitions, lectures, collaborative residencies, and think tanks on the UNC Asheville Kellogg Campus.
Penland School of Crafts and Penland Gallery
Carissa Hussong: “Ideally you would spend a couple of weeks at Penland taking one of the many classes they offer, but it
is worth the trip for the setting and galleries. There are also plenty of galleries and artist studios to visit along the way.”
Jean McLaughlin: “Historic functional pottery community with open studios.”
Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden
Fantastic topiary created by Pearl Fryar since the 1980s.
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
Workshops, classes, residencies, and gallery exhibitions at the historic campus in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
The Metal Museum
The only institution in the country devoted exclusively to fine metalwork. Art is made as well as displayed here.
Appalachian Center for Craft
The center hosts weekend and weeklong workshops, a retail gallery with work by more than 100 visiting and local artists, and up to 25 annual exhibitions.
Chrysler Museum of Art
Cindi Strauss: “Contemporary glass nirvana.”
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Art nouveau and art deco objects, 18th- and 19th-century European decorative arts and the one of the best U.S. collections of objects by imperial Russian jeweler Peter
Visual Arts Center of Richmond
Celebrating its 50th year, when it began as the Hand Workshop, the center is the largest non-university art program in the state, offering classes for adults and children, and sponsoring the annual Craft + Design Show.
Peter Held: “One of the finest museums dedicated to Native American art.”
Musical Instrument Museum
A full auditory experience – don’t miss the Mechanical Music Gallery with self-playing instruments.
Perry A. Price: “The winter home and school of Frank Lloyd Wright. Stunning example of prairie style in the desert, refined throughout the architect’s life.”
Ceramics, glass, jewelry, metal, paintings, wood, along with gifts under $100.
Ceramics Research Center
Part of the Arizona State University Art Museum, the CRC is a resource for artists, students, and enthusiasts.
All craft mediums are represented here, but the emphasis is on clay sculpture and studio art jewelry.
Run by two ceramic artists, this gallery specializes in contemporary ceramic art, prints, and works on paper.
Denver Art Museum
DAM has put more emphasis on ceramic and fiber art in recent museum-wide exhibitions.
Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art
Perry A. Price: “Eclectic collection of craft and design in the former home and studio of a Denver artist. A unique experience.”
Museum of Contemporary Art
This museum has five galleries on two floors, as well as dedicated education spaces, a shop, library, and rooftop cafe.
Snowmass Village, CO
Year-round workshops in ceramics, sculpture, print-making, woodworking, furniture design, and more.
Aspen, Denver, Vail, CO
Studio art glass by all the big names at three Colorado locations.
Archie Bray Foundation
Cindi Strauss: “Ceramics heaven for artists and those passionate about clay.”
Art jewelry, glass, metal, wood, clay, and fiber, not to mention Reiki sessions and Feng Shui consultations.
Roswell Museum and Art Center
One of the few remaining WPA-spawned museums, it focuses on Southwestern art and artifacts.
Andrea Fisher Gallery
Santa Fe, NM
Exclusively selling Native American pottery from the southwest and pottery from the village of Mata Ortiz in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Blue Rain Gallery
Santa Fe, NM
An eclectic collection of contemporary regional and Native American art.
Santa Fe Indian Market
Lowery Stokes Sims: “The mother lode of contemporary craft by Native Americans.” Perry A. Price: “Plus you can get the original Frito pie across the plaza at the Five & Dime.”
International Folk Art Market
The largest international folk art market in the world provides a venue for master artists to display, demonstrate, and sell their work.
Museum of International Folk Art
Peter Held: “My favorite museum. Outstanding collection from around the world and dynamic installations.”
Works in clay, wood, sculpture, fiber, and mixed media, along with studio jewelry.
Santa Fe Clay
Jean McLaughlin: “The exhibitions are always worth the visit, and ask to look at the work in storage. Plan your trip around the farmers’ market next door.”
Millicent Rogers Museum
Historical collections of Native American art and jewelry, contemporary paintings, weavings, and pottery, including the Maria Martinez family collection.
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
Small gallery with continually changing exhibitions, a nice respite from Vegas hoopla.
The Austin Museum of Art merged with Arthouse in 2011, creating an interesting hybrid institution, with two locations in this indie craft mecca.
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Carissa Hussong: “Good exhibits and store, but you can also interact with resident artists.”
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Lots here: Two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, visitors center, library, movie theater, gift shop, café, two art schools, and two house museums.
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art
Located at Utah State University; don’t miss the ceramics collection, with more than 1,200 objects by more than 400 artists.
The Natural History Museum of Utah
Salt Lake City
June Ross: “Stunning architecture as backdrop for rich displays of Navajo designs and traditions.”
Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center
The permanent collection represents art from Alaska and the circumpolar North, including landscape paintings, drawings, and works by contemporary artists.
Tail of the Yak
Mary K. Baumann: “One of those secrets that only the locals know about, filled with treasures.”
A showcase of exceptional functional ware from potters working across the United States.
Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts
Alta Loma, CA
Tour the legendary woodworker’s handmade home and take in current exhibitions from area artists.
The Autry National Center of the American West
Joyce Lovelace: “A gem, focused on the art and culture of the American West. In a touristy area near the L.A. zoo, Universal Studios theme park, and Griffith Observatory.”
Craft and Folk Art Museum
The only museum in Los Angeles dedicated to craft and folk art, CAFAM mounts seven original exhibitions a year. With classes and workshops for all ages.
The Getty Center
Impressive collection of European and American art set among beautiful buildings and gardens. The Getty Villa location in nearby Malibu houses exquisite ancient pottery and glass.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Excellent decorative arts and design holdings, including a comprehensive collection of the arts and crafts movement.
Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Center
This branch of the museum focuses on architecture and design in the Golden State.
Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
Great permanent collection of Wood’s work, with regular exhibitions, artist workshops, and performances.
Oakland Museum of California
Perry A. Price: “Innovative exhibition design and perspective, with strong holdings in craft.”
American Museum of Ceramic Art
Located in an area rich in ceramic history, AMOCA is one of the few museums in the country devoted exclusively to clay.
Mingei International Museum
Peter Held: “Fantastic museum showing crafts from around the world.”
Visions Art Museum
Dedicated to the promotion of quilts, textiles, and fiber art.
De Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Dating back to 1895, the De Young concentrates on American art, international textile arts and costumes, and art of the ancient Americas, Oceania, and Africa.
San Francisco and Venice, CA
Local craftspeople contribute to the mix of new and vintage furniture, clothing, tools, books, jewelry, and cards.
Gravel & Gold
The Mission District shop offers goods of beauty and function. “We like to know where our wares come from and to directly support the people who create them.”
Museum of Craft and Design
Newly reopened in a much bigger space, MCD’s focus is on “innovative contemporary work in craft and design that engages the community.”
Velvet Da Vinci
Brigitte Martin: “When it comes to contemporary art jewelry and metalwork, this gallery is the place to see in town. The quality and range of work shown is unparalleled.”
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
San Jose, CA
The first museum in the nation to focus exclusively on quilts and textiles as an art form.
San Marino, CA
A world-class research library, fine art and craft collection, and botanical gardens.
Frank Lloyd Gallery
Santa Monica, CA
Ceramic sculpture meets contemporary art. Frank Lloyd Gallery focuses on West Coast artists who emerged after 1950.
Headlands Center for the Arts
Artist talks, exhibitions, dinners, and campus-wide open houses.
Take a tour of the historic mid-century facility and browse the factory seconds and samples on sale in their shop.
Burning Torch Boutique
June Ross: “One-of-a-kind crafted fashion and home furnishings.”
Hawai’i State Art Museum
Free museum with a popular lunch spot. Items from the sculpture and decorative arts collections are on permanent display.
Honolulu Museum of Art
Hawaii-focused painting, sculpture, and decorative arts, along with Hawaiian feather capes, wood temple images, calabashes, and unique Hawaiian quilts.
White Bird Gallery
Cannon Beach, OR
The White Bird Gallery presents paintings, sculpture, prints, and photography alongside glass, ceramics, and jewelry.
Sitka Center for Art and Ecology
Workshops, residencies, and community events drawing inspiration from the coastal environment near the Salmon River estuary.
Bullseye Gallery celebrates the work of contemporary artists working in kiln-formed glass.
Museum of Contemporary Craft
Jean McLaughlin: “Timely exhibitions and talks. Check out the programs and plan your trip around them.”
Bellevue Arts Museum
Cindi Strauss: “Great exhibitions on craft artists that also contextualize the work with contemporary art in other media.”
Carissa Hussong: “Wonderful selection of contemporary jewelry fit into a very small space. Located in the Seattle City Center Building with other stores, restaurants, and a permanent collection of contemporary glass sculpture.”
A gallery with two locations, KOBO features Japanese and Northwest fine craft in clay, fiber, metal, wood, paper, and bamboo.
Community classes, professional workshops, and exhibitions with nationally and internationally recognized artists in the field.
Seattle Art Museum
Noteworthy contemporary exhibitions, a sculpture garden, and an excellent gift shop.
Located one block north of the Seattle Art Museum, Traver Gallery is an international showcase for contemporary glass, among other mediums.
Pilchuck Glass School
The storied school, now in its 42nd year, offers docent-led tours of its glassmaking facilities.
Museum of Glass
Watch a team of artists in the world’s largest hot shop, enjoy exhibitions in the galleries, and walk the 500-foot-long Chihuly Bridge of Glass.
Tacoma Art Museum
Cindi Strauss: “The unsung hero of Pacific Northwest craft.”