I was recently watching “Craft in America“, PBS’s excellent series covering the major influences that play a part in each artist’s craft. The particularly episode I watched was episode V – Process, that looked at how an artist achieves the skill to become proficient. It profiled several artists about how they have learned their techniques. Artist Tom Joyce, was talking about how he has learned technique from a very old blacksmith. They showed them together, this very old man sitting in a chair with a blanket around his knees, and Joyce, the younger artist showing him the piece that he had worked on. The old man was very slow and careful inspecting this patterned grate but approved of the piece and said that Tom had done good work. Afterward, Joyce was talking about the fact that if these old craftsmen weren’t still around, most of the techniques would be lost as there would be nobody to pass on the information about how to create specific effects.
In episode 1 – Memory – the show discusses how craft artists carry on historical traditions in the creation of their own unique work.
“Unlike fine artists, who perhaps capture a moment in time, and are more concerned with an artistic style and technique, craft artists, through their objects, go beyond telling where we were, making a statement of who we are. Their objects will create memories for us, because the artists give selflessly of their memories in creating the objects.”
On their website I found this great article from the series on memory fragments and how we collect things, memorabilia, that are personal and evoke specific feelings or memories of people or events from our past.
Read the complete blog entry here