Library Salon Series: Fall 2012

Library Salon Series: Fall 2012

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The American Craft Council is pleased to announce the fall installment of the Library Salon Series, kicking off Friday, October 12th at 7 p.m. with a pre-screening of “Craft in America: Crossroads,” the forthcoming segment of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning PBS series dedicated to exploring America’s rich craft history.

“Crossroads” follows the evolution of American craft in its drive toward exploration, experimentation and innovation; a move toward new forms and creative solutions. Not only does the episode feature the work of world-renowned textile artists Tanya Aguiñiga and Lia Cook, but also three local Minnesota potters: Warren MacKenzie, Jeff Oestreich, and Clary Illian.  

Here’s what the folks at Craft in America had to say about the artists featured in this episode:  

Tanya Aguiñiga designs environments in which people experience the beauty of handcrafted space. Tanya was raised jointly in Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, California. Her work expresses an effort to use the raw materials of her bi-cultural experience to create a vital, unique personal expression. “In my work, craft and handwork are at the core… My explorations in color and texture probably come from the Mexican side of me and the more minimalist aesthetic comes from the U.S. side of me… People call me a textile artist, a furniture designer, a sculptor… I think it’s a very frontier sensibility.” Aguiñiga says. Fiber and weaving are the starting point for her. Her innovative and much lauded furniture and design work have been exhibited in cultural meccas as far and wide as Mexico City, Milan, and New York. She was recently granted a prestigious United States Artists Award.

Lia Cook has for years been at the forefront of the intersection of craft and art, where she has recently melded techniques of 18th century Jacquard weaving (a precursor of the computer) with an inquiry into brain functioning, thus combining the most basic manual technology with contemporary technology and scientific practice. Her unusual mix of old and new has garnered her international recognition. Cook’s pioneering work is exhibited in major museums throughout the world. We will travel with Lia from her studio in Berkeley, CA, to her solo show at the Houston Center for American Craft.

In Minnesota, there is a vital community of potters centered in the lush and verdant St. Croix Valley, whose style is fondly referred to as “Mingei-sota.” Their work is based on traditional pottery for everyday use, known in Japan as “Mingei.” The Mingei Philosophy was studied and brought to England by Bernard Leach in the 1920s. Potters from all over the world apprenticed at the Leach Pottery and carried their newly-acquired aesthetics back home. In the U.S., Warren MacKenzie, Jeff Oestreich, and Clary Illian were central to this aesthetic cross-pollination – that everyday handmade objects are honest, inexpensive, and functional, and by this pureness, infuse one’s life with beauty. Imported in the 1960s, this aesthetic widely influenced the emerging counter-culture and, as a result, modern design today.

Please join us on October 12th for this very special screening. Following the Salon and in celebration of American Craft Week, we’ll be hosting a reception for an exhibition in our space featuring Minnesota-based ACC member artists.

Here's out full fall lineup of Library Salon Series sessions at the ACC:

Craft in America: Crossroads
Friday, October 12th  
7 p.m.

In Conversation: ROLU STUDIO
Thursday, November 8th 
7 p.m.

Swedish Holiday Slöjd
Thursday, December 6th
7 p.m.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.