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American Craft

American Craft April/May 2017

Get American Craft digital magazine subscription today for its memorable stories and images that inspire readers to craft a conscientious, expressive life they feel good about. The magazine celebrates the age-old human impulse to make things by hand, in order to communicate, learn, heal, and connect. Our readers value community, sustainability, quality and authenticity.

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United States
American Craft Council
$11.37(Incl. tax)
$85.37(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
collecting, evolving

THERE’S A NERVOUSNESS IN the air around the topic of collecting – the theme for this issue. The decades-old ecosystem supporting artists, gallery owners, and collectors is morphing, and nobody’s sure what’s next. Many whose business is craft worry that the way people live now – virtually, casually, transiently – is changing the game forever. Will more young people start collecting? What about the objects that older collectors want to shed? Who’s buying? These are questions that keep craft dealers awake, I confirmed recently. “Not enough young collectors are coming along to fill the void of those of advancing age,” Don Treadway of Treadway Toomey Galleries laments. Why not? Dealer Leslie Ferrin has given the question a lot of thought. “Younger collectors are not as interested in being considered collectors,” she says. They…

3 min.
luci jockel

A timely survey of shows, views, people, and work WHAT DO ANIMAL REMAINS and Victorian mourning jewelry have in common? You might say not much. But there’s a clear connection for Luci Jockel, who earned an MFA in jewelry and metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. Jockel, 25, doesn’t use the woven strands of human hair or jet gemstones typically associated with mourning jewelry; she prefers Icelandic sheep wool, deer bone, and beeswax. Still, like mourning jewelry, Jockel’s delicate pieces express deeply felt grief and commemorate lives irrevocably lost. Jockel’s reverence for creatures living and dead is apparent in her respectful treatment of the artifacts she handles. A collector of bones since childhood, Jockel used to hike through forests near her parents’ house in western Pennsylvania, picking up every…

1 min.
death becomes her

Beauty plus: Jockel considers all of her objects beautiful, but she readily admits some people might find them off-putting. “I try to strike a balance,” she says. “You can easily look past a beautiful work, but if there is also something [in it] that’s kind of disturbing, it will hold your attention a little longer as you try to understand why this piece makes you feel the way it does.” Roommate repellent: Stench is an inevitable by-product of Jockel’s work, which she discovered working with honeybees. She had persuaded a beekeeper to give her bees that had died from natural causes. When she got them, their bodies were still too moist and full of pollen to work on, so Jockel laid them out to dry in her dorm room. “Without proper…

1 min.
form and function

Careful oversight: All of Greycork’s manufacturing partners are located in the United States at this point. “We work with manufacturers locally, and we go and visit their factory and watch them build things so that we can make sure the quality is there,” says CEO John Humphrey. Solution-focused: Greycork’s newest product is a pegboard designed to add storage in underperforming and awkward spaces, shipped with hooks and a shelf. A mirror is an optional add-on. The company regularly launches new products. A family affair: Humphrey’s father, Peter, bought Horner Millwork in 1980 and has built the 12-person Massachusetts shop into a 400-employee business. Consumer savvy: The Greycork team uses their Providence, Rhode Island, showroom for sales – but also as a market research lab, connecting with customers and learning what they want in…

3 min.

NIMBLE STARTUP GREYCORK has good news: You don’t need a lot of money to have high-quality furniture shipped to your door. You won’t need tools or complex instructions to build it when it arrives. And if you decide to move to a new apartment next week, it breaks down just as easily. It’s a pretty attractive pitch to those with tight budgets and tighter hallways, and none of it is an accident. Everything Greycork does is by careful design. “People are space-constrained and more mobile, and they have different needs,” says John Humphrey, Greycork’s 28-year-old co-founder and CEO. And by designing to meet those needs, he says, “we want Greycork to become a household name.” These are more than grand visions. In 2013, Humphrey – then working in venture capital – sketched out…

3 min.
finder not keeper

WHEN MITHRA BALLESTEROS goes to estate sales, she sees beyond the objects waiting to be picked over. “In these homes were men and women who kept their possessions and took care of them, who repaired their toasters and pressed their linens,” she says. “They lived very differently from most of us. I decided I wanted to capture and pay tribute to their lives somehow, and so I started saving some of the things that spoke to me.” What sorts of things speak to her? She laughs. “I have an unnatural attachment to objects,” says Ballesteros, 54, who lives in Mequon, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee. “I’m pretty obsessed with animals; I love brass, I love old books. The other thing I really love is needlepoint.” (Later, she adds puppets to the expanding list.) Those…