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Found 1,924 Resources

Joan Lintault letter to Claire Zeisler

Archives of American Art
Letter : 2 p. : handwritten ; 28 x 22 cm.

Letter from fiber artist Joan Lintault, thanking Ziesler for speaking to her graduate students at Southern Illinois University.

Peter Jacobi

Archives of American Art
Letter : 1 p. ; 21 x 30 cm.

Letter from German fiber artists Peter and Ritzi Jacobi to Merritt about their introduction to American culture at Haystack, October 13, 1972.

Joan Adams Mondale letter to Barbara Fendrick

Archives of American Art
Letter : 1 p. : handwritten ; 21 x 16 cm.

In this letter to art dealer Barbara Fendrick, Mrs. Mondale thanks her for sending her a purse by fiber artist Maria da Conceicao.

Oral history interview with Elaine Reichek, 2008 Feb. 12

Archives of American Art
8 wav files (4 hr., 29 min.) digital

An interview of Elaine Reichek conducted 2008 Feb. 12, by Sarah G. Sharp, for the Archives of American Art, in Reichek's studio, in New York, N.Y.

Gyongy Laky with 'Art' sculpture slide

Archives of American Art
1 slide : col. ; 5 x 5 cm.

Oral history interview with Dominic Di Mare, 2002 June 4-10

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 60 pages

An interview of Dominic Di Mare conducted 2002 June 4-10, by Signe Mayfield, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at his home and studio, in Tiburon, California.

Di Mare speaks of growing up in Monterey, California, around thread, as his mother crocheted and his fisherman father made lures; drawing as a child; receiving the Junior Scholastic Art Awards in high school; enrolling at Monterey Peninsula College and San Francisco State; acquiring a teacher's degree and taking a craft class; being "enthralled" by setting up a loom; teaching art in junior high schools; getting married and buying a loom; reading Craft Horizon magazine and becoming inspired by the work of Kay Sekimachi; buying yarn from Helen Pope at The Yarn Depot and forming a friendship with her; exhibiting at The Yarn Depot; participating in craft competitions and showing his work to Paul Smith, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts; his first show at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in 1965; exhibiting at Museum West (the west coast extension of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts); recognizing "self and struggle and passion" in Ferne Jacobs' work; his dealers including Marjorie Annenberg (Annenberg Gallery, San Francisco), Ruth Braunstein (Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco), Susan Cummins (Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley, Calif.), and Florence Duhl (Florence Duhl Gallery, New York); receiving a grant from the Marin Arts Council; quitting his teaching job, receiving an NEA grant, and becoming a full-time artist; collectors Dan and Hillary Goldstein; the beauty of poet Betty Parks' article, "Dominic Di Mare: Houses for the Sacred," in American Craft (October/November 1982); his "shrine" imagery; his military service during the Korean War and being assigned to a post office in Paris, France; going to the Louvre and encountering the Nike, "winged victory" sculpture; and Jack Lenore Larson's support.

Di Mare considers himself to be "self-taught" although he attended the California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco State, and Rudolph Schaefer School of Design. He also talks about autobiographical elements in his work; his "personal, artistic vocabulary"; the repetition of black and white; his use of sticks and feathers; and cross shapes, representing the church and a ship's mast. He comments on making portraits during his summers in Switzerland and making magical wands; and his artistic philosophy. Di Mare also recalls Camille Cook, Helen Drutt, Trude Guermonprez, Sophi Harpe, Gyongy Laky, Marjorie Livingston, Hal Painter, June Schwarcz, Rose Slivka, Millie Tresko, and Dorian Zachai.

Oral history interview with Neda Al-Hilali, 2006 July 18-19

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 116 pages

Sound recording: 22 sound files (7 hr., 46 min.) digital, wav

An interview of Neda Al-Hilali conducted 2006 July 18-19, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home, in Los Angeles, California.

Al-Hilali speaks of her childhood in Czechoslovakia and Bavaria; studying language in London; her experience living in Baghdad, Iraq with her first husband; moving to California and completing her undergraduate and graduate degrees at UCLA; teaching experiences at Scripps College, Claremont Graduate University, California State University Los Angeles, and UCLA; the installation processes of Beach Occurrence with Tongues, Black Passage, the Cassiopeia series, and others; frustrations she encountered with commission work; the rich history of the fiber tradition; travels to Afghanistan, Japan, and Oaxaca, Mexico; achieving gestural and painterly qualities with fiber; the importance of color in textile work in the Middle East; experiences with galleries, including the Hunsaker/Schlesinger Gallery in Santa Monica, California; utilizing a Ouija board for reflection and creative guidance; issues such as global warming and over-development; the status of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule; the gratitude she feels at being a part of the fiber tradition; and plans for the future. Al-Hilali also recalls Bernard Kester, Jim Bassler, Fern Jacobs, Joyce Hunsaker, Alice Simsar, and others.

Oral history interview with Lenore Tawney, 1971 June 23

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 32 pages.

An interview of Lenore Tawney conducted 1971 June 23, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.

Gyongy Laky working on Liberace doormat

Archives of American Art
1 slide : col. ; 5 x 5 cm.

What the Handwriting Says About the Artist

Smithsonian Magazine

Note Georgia O’Keeffe’s signature squiggle in this 1939 letter featured in the exhibition, “The Art of Handwriting.” Image courtesy of Archives of American Art

The American painter Charles E. Burchfield once said of handwriting: “Let the mind rule the writing not the eye … someone will decipher your hieroglyphics.” Whether impeccable cursive or illegible chicken scratch, an artist’s “hand” is never far from hieroglyphic. It is distinctive, expressive of the artist’s individuality—an art form in and of itself. The handwriting of more than 40 prominent American artists is the subject of “The Art of Handwriting,” a new exhibition by the Archives of American Art.

Housed in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery at the Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, “The Art of Handwriting” is guided by the notion that artists never stop being creative. “Being an artist carries through in all aspects of your life,” says curator Mary Savig. “Their creativity is lived and breathed through everything they do, and that includes writing letters.”

“The solitary Christmas card signature is evidence that Moses could turn out a cultivated script when she took the time,” writes Leslie Umberger, curator of folk and self-taught art at the American Art Museum. Image courtesy of Archives of American Art

For each letter, note and postcard in the exhibition, a scholar explains how the formal qualities of the artist’s handwriting shed light on his or her style and personality. Curator Leslie Umberger of the American Art Museum finds in the “pleasant and practical” script of Grandma Moses her twin roles as artist and farmwife. For National Gallery of Art curator Sarah Greenough, Georgia O’Keeffe’s distinctive squiggles and disregard for grammar reveal the spirit of an iconoclast. And author Jayne Merkel observes that Eero Saarinen displayed as much variety in his handwriting as he did in his architecture.

Jackson Pollock’s irregular schooling may explain his messy penmanship. Image courtesy of Archives of American Art

In some cases, an artist’s handwriting seems to contradict his or her artwork. Dan Flavin, for instance, was known for his minimalist installations of fluorescent lights but wrote in a surprisingly elaborate, traditional cursive. Art historian Tiffany Bell attributes the discrepancy to Flavin’s interest in 19th-century landscape painting. “Artists don’t live in vacuums,” says Mary Savig. “They’re really inspired by the art history that came before them.”

They are also shaped by their schooling. Many artists learned to write and draw by rote, practicing the Palmer method and sketching still lifes until they became second nature. Jackson Pollock is one exception that proves the rule: according to Pollock expert Helen Harrison, the artist’s messy scrawl had as much to do with his sporadic education as with his nascent creativity.

Handwriting may be a dying art, now that nationwide curriculum standards no longer require the teaching of cursive. Some have criticized the omission, citing the cognitive benefits of cursive instruction, while others argue that the digital revolution has rendered cursive obsolete. But for now, most visitors can still wax nostalgic over the loops and curlicues left behind by American artists.

Savig admits that her own handwriting looks more like Jackson Pollock’s than, say, the precise script of fiber artist Lenore Tawney. The variety of styles in the exhibition suggests that artists really are, she jokes, just like us: “Hopefully there’s a letter in here that is for every single person.”

Wall hanging

National Museum of African Art
Wall hanging in a light gauze-like construction composed of loosely woven white cotton threads. The predominate white color scheme is broken by the delicate patterning of light greenish-brown reeds and vibrantly colored red peppers inserted at regular intervals into the weft. Bundles of reeds lashed together define the top and bottom of this wall hanging.

Kuba women preparing fiber for embroidery, near Bulape, Congo (Democratic Republic), [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

"Raffia fiber in plain weave forms the basic material of the cloth. The yarn for this foundation is obtained from the leaves of the palm Raphia vinifera. Young boys strip the fibrous leaves and split them by hand or with a raffia-rib comb. Women participate in the preparation of fiber for embroidery, splitting and smoothing fibers with snail shells. The fibers are made more pliant by being rubbed by hand. After treatment they are bound into skeins for the weaver's use." [Adams Monni, 1978: Kuba Embroidered Cloth. African Arts, 12 (1), November 1978, pp.24-39]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for National Geographic and traveled to Africa from January 19, 1972 to mid April 1972.

Kuba women preparing fiber for embroidery, near Bulape, Congo (Democratic Republic), [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

"Raffia fiber in plain weave forms the basic material of the cloth. The yarn for this foundation is obtained from the leaves of the palm Raphia vinifera. Young boys strip the fibrous leaves and split them by hand or with a raffia-rib comb. Women participate in the preparation of fiber for embroidery, splitting and smoothing fibers with snail shells. The fibers are made more pliant by being rubbed by hand. After treatment they are bound into skeins for the weaver's use." [Adams Monni, 1978: Kuba Embroidered Cloth. African Arts, 12 (1), November 1978, pp.24-39]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for National Geographic and traveled to Africa from January 19, 1972 to mid April 1972.

Kuba women preparing fiber for embroidery, near Bulape, Congo (Democratic Republic), [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

"Raffia fiber in plain weave forms the basic material of the cloth. The yarn for this foundation is obtained from the leaves of the palm Raphia vinifera. Young boys strip the fibrous leaves and split them by hand or with a raffia-rib comb. Women participate in the preparation of fiber for embroidery, splitting and smoothing fibers with snail shells. The fibers are made more pliant by being rubbed by hand. After treatment they are bound into skeins for the weaver's use." [Adams Monni, 1978: Kuba Embroidered Cloth. African Arts, 12 (1), November 1978, pp.24-39]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for National Geographic and traveled to Africa from January 19, 1972 to mid April 1972.

Kuba women preparing fiber for embroidery, near Bulape, Congo (Democratic Republic), [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

"Raffia fiber in plain weave forms the basic material of the cloth. The yarn for this foundation is obtained from the leaves of the palm Raphia vinifera. Young boys strip the fibrous leaves and split them by hand or with a raffia-rib comb. Women participate in the preparation of fiber for embroidery, splitting and smoothing fibers with snail shells. The fibers are made more pliant by being rubbed by hand. After treatment they are bound into skeins for the weaver's use." [Adams Monni, 1978: Kuba Embroidered Cloth. African Arts, 12 (1), November 1978, pp.24-39]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for National Geographic and traveled to Africa from January 19, 1972 to mid April 1972.

Kuba women preparing fiber for embroidery, near Bulape, Congo (Democratic Republic), [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

"Raffia fiber in plain weave forms the basic material of the cloth. The yarn for this foundation is obtained from the leaves of the palm Raphia vinifera. Young boys strip the fibrous leaves and split them by hand or with a raffia-rib comb. Women participate in the preparation of fiber for embroidery, splitting and smoothing fibers with snail shells. The fibers are made more pliant by being rubbed by hand. After treatment they are bound into skeins for the weaver's use." [Adams Monni, 1978: Kuba Embroidered Cloth. African Arts, 12 (1), November 1978, pp.24-39]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for National Geographic and traveled to Africa from January 19, 1972 to mid April 1972.

Kuba women preparing fiber for embroidery, near Bulape, Congo (Democratic Republic), [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

"Raffia fiber in plain weave forms the basic material of the cloth. The yarn for this foundation is obtained from the leaves of the palm Raphia vinifera. Young boys strip the fibrous leaves and split them by hand or with a raffia-rib comb. Women participate in the preparation of fiber for embroidery, splitting and smoothing fibers with snail shells. The fibers are made more pliant by being rubbed by hand. After treatment they are bound into skeins for the weaver's use." [Adams Monni, 1978: Kuba Embroidered Cloth. African Arts, 12 (1), November 1978, pp.24-39]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for National Geographic and traveled to Africa from January 19, 1972 to mid April 1972.

Oral history interview with Joyce J. Scott, 2009 July 22

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 64 pages

An interview of Joyce J. Scott conducted 2009 July 22, by Robert Silberman, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Scott's home and studio, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tyranny of the Shoulds

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Soundsuit

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Oral history interview with Mary Giles, 2006 July 18

Archives of American Art
Sound recording: 4 sound files (2 hr., 43 min.) : digital, wav

Transcript: 46 pages

An interview of Mary Giles conducted 2006 July 18, by Jane Sauer, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the home of Jane Sauer, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Giles speaks of childhood summers spent on Pine Lake in Minnesota; receiving a B.S. in art education from Mankato State University, Minnesota; educational experiences at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; the influence of nature and Native American art in her work; finding inspiration in "woods and water"; spirituality; teaching elementary art in St. Louis for 28 years while pursuing her art; the materials she works with, including wax linen and various metals; the techniques she uses, such as coiling, twining, torching, hammering, and knotting; the importance of a studio; the appeal of natural aging and corrosion of materials; the competitiveness of craft fields in the United States; attending American Craft Council shows and Sculpture Objects & Functional Art expositions in Chicago; craft as art in the United States; her experience showing in galleries and struggles with pricing; participating in the Poland Triennale in Lodz, Poland, 2001; the pioneering efforts of female fiber artists. Giles also recalls Mary Lee Hu, Diane Itter, Jack Lenor Larsen, Walter Nottingham, Rianna DeRaad, Cynthia Schira, Ferne Jacobs, Barbara Rose Okun, Nancy Kranzberg, Jan Buckman, Horty Shieber, Duane Reed, Agnes Martin, and others.

Wall hanging

National Museum of African Art
Hand-woven cotton and plant fiber wall hanging with objects (natural and found) inserted into the weft. The wall hanging is composed of a warp of primarily natural colored cotton fiber and a weft dominated by four horizontal registers of thin light-brown reeds. Other elements inserted into the weft include vibrant strands of orange thread, an off-white candle, a pen and tufts of white light and dark brown fiber. Thin strands of plant fiber are knotted at the top so that the hanging can be suspended. A wide band of light brown tufted cotton fiber leads to the alternating light and dark patterns that dominate the textile. It terminates in two long braided strands of cotton fiber.

Man, Muleteer, in Costume Carrying Fiber Woven Bag, Outside Stuccoed Building n.d

National Anthropological Archives
Black and white Photoprint on Paper Mount in Album
49-72 of 1,924 Resources