Sharon Church on How Craft Connects Us

Sharon Church on How Craft Connects Us

Sharon Church portrait

Sharon Church, studio jeweler, professor emerita at the University of the Arts, and ACC Fellow

Jared Castaldi

Craft connects us to what it means to be human. To make something with your hands – to know that you exist and see the impact of that existence – has enormous value.

The American Craft Council recognizes that value and is instrumental in promoting artists and their work to a broader public that might not understand the artist’s effort and dedication. It is a tremendous undertaking requiring passion and support.

ACC established the College of Fellows in 1975 to recognize people who have made significant contributions to craft through outstanding artistic achievement and leadership. Every other year, current members of the College of Fellows nominate new members to this dedicated, determined, and extraordinary group. These Fellows have spent a lifetime plying their craft, their work honed over time. When I was inducted into the College of Fellows in 2012, I was honored to be selected by these artists, whose work I deeply admire.

Sharon Church, Persephone's Bouquet

Sharon Church, Persephone's Bouquet (2011)

Ken Yanoviak

This October, we will welcome seven new Fellows – six inventive artists and one devoted scholar – who have contributed so much to this community. It is the triumph of their work that motivates me, like many artists, to continue to innovate and to interpret the world through my work. As artists, we change over time. Yet our attitude toward material, the focus and dedication to the task at hand, the surprise and delight at seeing what the imagination creates remain the same.

Artists contemplate their work, while at the same time pondering what’s new? Where do I go next? This is no small task. But the process and the challenge of making objects with your hands provides a richness to life that can’t be found elsewhere. Making craft is a means of moving from the past into the future with both excitement and reverence.

ACC champions this essential work through its stewardship of the College of Fellows, as well as its national craft shows, educational programs, award-winning publication American Craft, and its beautifully housed library and expanding digital archives.

Gifts to the American Craft Council have a positive impact on thousands of craft artists and enthusiasts across the country. They support recognition programs such as the College of Fellows, development opportunities for emerging artists, and preservation efforts through the library.

I am grateful to know that there are so many members of the ACC community who share my appreciation for craft. Please join me in ensuring a vibrant future for craft. 

Make a gift today

P.S. Who inspires you? See our 2016 honorees and consider making a gift in honor of an artist who has influenced you. The names of donors who make a tribute gift by September 14 will be included in the program for our ACC Awards celebration, taking place this October at Kaneko in Omaha, Nebraska.