Friday, October 2, 2009

Wheezing out the Objets d'Art

Just want to share with you this important and amusing letter that appears in the current issue of American Craft. This magazine has gone overboard in trying to "blur" the line between art and craft. Latest issue features snot art (gold body adornments which fit up your nose) among other revolting things.
American Craft Magazine is an insult to all master craftspeople in America. Please help spread the word. Choose Share widget link in the left column. Thank you from Nourot Glass where our motto since 1993 is "Beauty,Imagination,Excellence in American Art Glass".
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Dear Editor, October/November Issue American Craft

O.K. You win. I’m giving up, yelling uncle, and throwing in the towel. I have just finished reading the August/September issue of a publication I have loved and collected for 30 years. Now I have fallen out of love. It started with a change in the relationship spearheaded by Andrew Wagner. Out with the old, in with the new. Let’s talk design: let’s appeal to a younger audience; let’s put curlicues on our type! The studio craft movement is on its last arthritic leg, and the beautifully crafted object is wheezing its last gasp.
I tried to adapt; I really did. I tried to fight the gnawing feeling that this paramour of 30 years was just in midlife crisis. I could afford to make some changes for the sake of the union. I started by doing what Mr. Wagner asked. I let him know what I thought of his changes.
I was met with “sorry you don’t understand, but trust me and you will soon be renewed.”
So I tried to trust, but freely admit to being skeptical. Yet with each new issue of American Craft Magazine, I saw new signs of the impending death of the relationship.
I was buoyed by the issue that focused on Philadelphia and its artists. A little sparkle of the old days shone. Unfortunately, the next issue retreated as if the previous had been a momentary lack of judgment. It was clear that the publication must lead this relationship. No more give and take. Just take it or leave it.
The papers have been signed with this last issue. Curtis Benzle tried to counsel and did an eloquent job. His remarks were met with the same “yes, but” that had been thrown at me.
Testimony to the demise came from Glenn Adamson, whom I had always admired for his ability to see both sides of an issue. Maybe he still does. But his admonition to give up on the past, once-vital approach to craft was the coup de grace.
It was time for me to accept that I, along with my beloved autonomous and rarefied objet d’art, must remain trapped in a retrograde exercise but continue to embrace it.
I will heal. I do not wish ill of my former partner. We simply find ourselves, as so many couples do these days, wanting different things. It was a beautiful relationship while it lasted.
So I will find comfort with dinosaurs of like mind-the ones that are still awed by the tangible beauty of the well-made object. They will be my comfort t as we die out.
But who knows, maybe in some distant millennium when the hand is atrophied from disuse, some brash young scientist will want to clone one of us as a curiosity. A creature of another time. A creature content to have lived when the opposing thumb was at its zenith.
Ron Porter
Columbia, South Carolina

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American Craft Magazine
Letters to the editor

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