Blog

A BUZZY NEW ADDITION TO HCCC

Posted June 1, 2017 in Blog


Honeybees are here! Photo by Perry A. Price.

This spring, HCCC added around 10,000 new staff, give or take a hundred, but you will probably never notice them. They are working in our Craft Garden and likely will put in a few extra hours across the Museum District. They are honeybees, whose hive was recently installed on the roof of the Center.  Continue Reading »

CASE STUDY: PETER VOULKOS

Posted May 28, 2017 in Blog, Case Study

Peter Callas assisting Peter Voulkos in Belvidere, NJ, 1998. Peter Callas built the first anagama kiln in the United States, and Voulkos fired many of his pieces in it later in his career. Photo by TolneGGG (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0), via Wikimedia Commons.

The following text accompanied the work, Untitled Plate (1989), by Peter Voulkos, on view April 18 – May 21, 2017, at HCCC as part of the Case Study exhibition series. Rotating periodically throughout the year, this series presents an in-depth look at craft-based objects as they relate to current events and/or spotlights a moment in craft history.

HCCC would like to thank the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, for making this work available for exhibition. Please make sure to visit In the Studio: Craft in Postwar America, 1950 – 1970, on view at the MFAH through October 8, 2017, to learn more about the development of Studio Craft in the United States.

Peter Voulkos (American, 1924-2002) was a pioneer of Studio Craft, a post-World War II movement in the United States that experimented with new techniques in the traditional materials of metal, clay, glass, wood, and fiber, as well as non-traditional materials. He shaped the ceramic avant-garde during the mid-20th Century and broadened the scope of contemporary ceramics through his experimentation with surface and form.

Continue Reading »

MADISON CREECH ON MEMES, COLLABORATION, AND THE MATERIALITY OF NOSTALGIA

Posted May 5, 2017 in Blog

Madison Creech, “#TBT Smiley,” from the series, “Always Low Brow Always,” 2016. Hand embroidery on plastic Wal-Mart bag. Photo courtesy of Madison Creech.

HCCC Curatorial Fellow Sarah Darro recently asked Madison Creech a few questions about the processes and inspiration behind her work. Madison is featured in In Residence, which is on view in HCCC’s Artist Hall through May 20, 2017. 

Sarah Darro: Your series of sculptural quilts, LOL-a-Bye Felicia, incorporates digital fabrication techniques and humorous references to music and pop culture. How do you see this work in conversation with a contemporary culture of sampling in the music industry and on the Internet?

Madison Creech: Within contemporary culture, we consume information and images without hierarchy. In one scroll through Facebook, you will find a tongue-in-check meme, then a newsworthy injustice, then a series of baby photos, etc. Each update occupies the same amount of space as the next. Our mind is subconsciously making connections and comparisons between the memes, the news, and our personal lives. I feel like a lot of my collaborative work with Matthew [Madison’s husband and artistic partner] consists of iterations of these connections and comparisons. Continue Reading »

LIVE FROM THE STUDIO WITH REBECCA LYNN HEWITT!

Posted May 3, 2017 in Blog

Continue Reading »

THE ARTIST IS IN THE BUILDING

Posted April 6, 2017 in Blog

Not infrequently, while on the phone or in a meeting in my office at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the conversation will be distracted, if not outright interrupted, by the sounds of making coming from the studios of our resident artists. It never bothers me when this happens–which is good, as it happens every day–because it gives me an opportunity to brag about this incomparable program and the fascinating artists it brings to HCCC. Since joining the Center, the excitement and energy that the resident artists bring to my work daily has become among the most enjoyable aspects of my job. Continue Reading »

CASE STUDY: PUSSYHAT

Posted March 17, 2017 in Case Study

The cat-eared knit hat on view at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft this spring has traveled thousands of miles, from a Maine-based knitting group to New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; and now Houston. It was worn on January 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C., at the Women’s March, the largest single-day peaceful demonstration in United States history. Betsey Norland, a knitter from Lambertville, New Jersey, was unable to attend the protest herself and knitted eight hats as a way to participate, commenting, “A little bit of me was on a lot of women.” This handmade hat is just one of millions that were created for and worn by participants marching in Washington, D.C., and in 600 sister marches worldwide. Continue Reading »

ALTHEA CROME ON STORYTELLING THROUGH KNITTING & OUR CULTURAL FASCINATION WITH MINIATURES

Posted March 14, 2017 in Blog

Althea Crome

Installation view of Althea Crome’s “King and Queen of Hearts Coronation Sweater,” 2015. On view in “Pocket Museum” at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft through March 18, 2017. Photo by Scott Cartwright.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is participating in #5womenartists, a national campaign led by The National Museum of Women in the Arts to share information about women artists. Check out other entries on our blog.

This week, HCCC Curatorial Fellow Sarah Darro asked Althea Crome a few questions about the processes and inspiration behind her work. Althea is featured in Pocket Museum, which is on view in HCCC’s Artist Hall through March 18, 2017.

Sarah Darro: A number of your pieces incorporate figurative subjects and narrative elements from the art historical canon, ranging from ancient Greek amphora to Picasso paintings. You have also collaborated on projects in which characters wear your designs: the 2009 stop-motion film, Coraline, for instance. How does narrative function in your work?

Althea Crome:  Storytelling started with my four children who, as they were growing up, begged me to tell them tales. It has evolved over time into storytelling in my artwork. All of my pictorial knitting tells a story—either through a single piece or through a series of work. Some of my pieces have an autobiographical theme, like my Scuba Cardigan, which I created during a time in my life when I was my most heartbroken and found it difficult to knit. I was newly divorced and looking for ways to find meaning in my life, so I took up scuba diving. The sweater tells a story of one wonderful day of scuba diving, when we were followed out to sea by dolphins, saw a rainbow and a water spout, swam with sharks and sea turtles, and I even lost and later found my weight belt in a coral reef. I used techniques on the collar and borders to create the illusion of water and sea life. The creation of this particular piece paid homage to the things in my life that helped save my spirit and, in the process, re-energized my desire to knit.  Continue Reading »

#5womenartists:  Alicia Dietz

Posted March 8, 2017 in Blog

Photo of Alicia Dietz by Maj. Richelle Treece, US Army National Guard.

Photo of Alicia Dietz by Maj. Richelle Treece, US Army National Guard.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is participating in #5womenartists, a national campaign led by The National Museum of Women in the Arts to share information about women artists.

HCCC Curator Kathryn Hall recently asked woodworker and veteran, Alicia Dietz, currently featured in United by Hand: Work and Service by Drew Cameron, Alicia Dietz, and Ehren Tool, a few questions about her experience as a woodworker and Officer in the U.S. Army. Continue Reading »

CRAFT ACTIVISM

Posted February 2, 2017 in Blog

Image found on Twitter: @rmayersinger.

Keeping up with current events, it was impossible to miss the millions who participated in the Women’s March on Washington D.C. and the sister marches organized around the globe. Also impossible to ignore was the role that craft played in the community building and optics of the historic protests through a march partner organization, the Pussyhat Project. Organized and spread online and through social media, the Pussyhat Project sought to create a unique visual statement for the march–both creating a field of pink that united individual protesters and offering a way to participate and support by those who could not physically join in the march but volunteered to knit and crochet hats. Continue Reading »

Garth Johnson on Cross-Cultural Translation, Communing with Secondhand Objects & Generational Shifts in Craft Culture

Posted May 9, 2016 in Blog

making legends into posters

Garth Johnson,”Making Legends into Posters” from the “Proverb Plate Series,” 2010. Sand-blasted found porcelain plate with silver PVD coating. Photo courtesy of artist.

This week, HCCC’s Curatorial Fellow Sarah Darro asked Garth Johnson, Curator of Ceramics at Arizona State University’s Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center and At Your Service artist, questions about his artistic process, his relationship with collecting and craft culture for young audiences.

Sarah Darro: How have you navigated your many roles within the field of craft? As a ceramicist, writer, curator, and professor—is there a position that you identify with most?

Garth Johnson: I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. I was surrounded by handmade things, and making was definitely central to my childhood. I grew up making, then entered college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an art student because art was what I was generally good at. I should add that I have hands that are very un-talented. I’m not somebody who can pick up a tool or a material and master it easily. I’ve always felt that this was an asset as an educator—I can identify with people who have many different learning styles. The “slippage” between my brain and my hands is what led me to become a writer and curator. 

These days, I identify mainly as a curator. It’s a good thing that there generally isn’t a singular path for curators to embark on—it’s a field that values experience over academic achievement.  Continue Reading »