One of my favorite, most relaxing series to watch is Craft in America, a PBS show that visits four different artists/craftpersons in each episode. To my delight (and heaven knows why) many episodes are currently available on YouTube!
I just watched (for the third or fourth time in several years) the episode “Craft in America: THREADS.” A feast for the eyes and food for the brain: artist Faith Ringgold’s quilt/paintings ( I see new details every time, and she is an extraordinary teacher with stories to share;) weaver Randall Darwell and his partner Brian Murphy (the colors! the textures! the partnership!) fiber artist Consuelo Jiminez Underwood (weaving with safety pins, and wire, and a message for our times;) and quilter Terese Agnew, whose “Portrait of a Textile Worker” I wrote about here. Agnew uses a traditional form (quilting, piecing and embroidery) to make beautiful textile art with thought-provoking content. (In one quilt, cedar waxwings congregating in a parking lot were the inspiration — but the employees crossing the parking lot have pink slips in their pockets, because that’s what happened to them while she was making the quilt.)
I was one of the thousands who sent Agnew an envelope full of clothing labels…
… which she stitched together to make “Portrait of a Textile Worker;” the finished quilt measures 98 by 110 inches. This photo gives you an idea of its size:
Terese Agnew with “Portrait of a Textile Worker;” from an article about the Craft in America series, at SFgate.com
I’ve been sheltering in place for over a month now; armchair travel, beautiful, hand crafted things, and inspiring conversation come to me via Craft in America.
Even episodes featuring crafts that don’t usually excite me (like furniture making or wrought iron making) are a trip out of myself — something different, something new, and something inspiring.
Did I mention beauty? The work of Chugach Aleut jewelry artist Denise Wallace is a good example of where Craft in America may take you. Wallace is featured in Craft in America: COMMUNITY. Find a complete list of episodes at Craft in America or, for episodes you can watch on YouTube, here.
Note: I do wish the episode titles gave more detail about content (Is Terese Agnew in THREADS or in QUILT? — Is Denise Wallace in LANDSCAPE or ORIGINS or COMMUNITY? but that’s a quibble.)