Weekend Reading: Handmade History in the Making

70 years of making, handmade history, american craft magazine, craft history timeline

We’re not the only ones celebrating handmade heritage this month! American Craft Magazine is celebrating its 70th anniversary with an interactive timeline of 70 Years of Making in the United States. The timeline is an incredible combination of history, art, culture and innovation. I wanted to share it here because I think context and roots are important and this is such a creative way to show how the modern craft movement in America is connected to a much larger history. This is what American Craft has to say about the project:

“Great moments in craft: That’s what we set out to capture when we decided to mark American Craft‘s 70th anniversary with a 70-year timeline of making in the United States. But set aside any ideas you might have of a linear chronology with clear-cut categories and tidy edges. What we found, working with 16 contributors and (literally) a library of reference books, is a fascinating tangle of people, institutions, exhibitions, technologies, economic history, and culture – high and low. We tried to capture the gloriously messy interplay of events as well as the visual vibrancy of the past seven decades.”

How cool is that? The timeline is a work in progress and can be submitted to by visiting here.

Handmade Nation New Wave of Craft Timeline by Kate Bingaman Burt

I also had to share the awesome illustrated timeline above (click for a larger view) of the New Wave of Craft by Kate Bingaman-Burt from the Handmade Nation book by Faythe Levine. The timeline is available as a printable PDF here and will be a fun rainy day coloring project for my office wall!

Handmade: A Collaboration between Etsy and Pictory on the Art of Craftsmanship

As an extra bonus I was sent a link to this collaboration between Etsy & Pictory on The Art of Craftsmanship-an interactive photo essay on makers and their arts, many of which are being lost. I wanted to end this post with the intro to the project as it sums up my feelings on our theme this month and being part of creating a handmade heritage for future generations:

Call me materialistic — they’re just things after all. But the pattern I noticed in the submissions to this theme is that they aren’t just things. The handcrafted heirlooms mentioned here are ties to the past and the future. The contributors who wrote about them would run back into a burning building for them. And the skills shared are among the most important gifts a family member could pass along.

Many of the captions mention a concern for a dying art, in the wake of industrialization. But as long as people are people, we’ll keep using our hands to combine raw materials, time, and care into something greater.

~Laura Brunow Miner

One last thought: If you were to make a time capsule of the craft movement right now to be opened in 100 years what pieces/artists would you include?