Choosing Craft: The Artist's Viewpoint

Vicki Halper (Editor) Diane Douglas (Editor)


Choosing Craft explores the history and practice of American craft through the words of influential artists whose lives, work, and ideas have shaped the field. Editors Vicki Halper and Diane Douglas construct an anecdotal narrative that examines the post-World War II development of modern craft, which came of age alongside modernist painting and sculpture and was greatly influenced by them as well as by traditional and industrial practices.

The anthology is organized according to four activities that ground a professional life in craft--inspiration, training, economics, and philosophy. Halper and Douglas mined a wide variety of sources for their material, including artists' published writings, letters, journal entries, exhibition statements, lecture notes, and oral histories. The detailed record they amassed reveals craft's dynamic relationships with painting, sculpture, design, industry, folk and ethnic traditions, hobby craft, and political and social movements. Collectively, these reflections form a social history of craft.

Choosing Craft ultimately offers artists' writings and recollections as vital and vivid data that deserve widespread study as a primary resource for those interested in the American art form.

Product Details

$42.00  $38.64
University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
May 01, 2009
6.8 X 1.3 X 10.1 inches | 2.0 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Vicki Halper is an independent curator and writer and former associate curator of modern art at Seattle Art Museum.
Diane Douglas is executive director of Seattle CityClub and former director of the Bellevue Arts Museum.


A lively range of opinions. . . .With an index that reveals a fascinating matrix of arguments, milestones, and professional networks.-- Fiberarts

A multifaceted record of the American craft movement from 1945 to the present day. . . . In addition to being a good read, the book is an important historical record. . . . The only thing I want from this intelligent collection is to have even more of it.--Crafts

Explores a wealth of media. The book's most distinguishing feature is its emphasis on the commonalities and hardships faced by artists; from pursuing an art education to the challenges of business and marketing. . . . This insightful work offers inspiration for aspiring artists.--WNC

In capturing the spirit and growth of a cultural phenomenon over a fifty-year period, Choosing Craft has the value of a time capsule.--Surface Design

Focuses on artists' experiences and opinions as a primary resource for craft scholarship. . . . [Contains] valuable and enjoyable conversations on craft.--American Craft

A fascinating read. . . . The opinions of the featured makers are deeply felt and at times profound. . . . [Opens] up an enticing window onto this diverse and fascinating field of study.--The Journal of William Morris Studies

An important contribution to the cultural history of American craft. . . . Offers readers . . . substantial pleasures and revelations.--Ceramics Monthly

Will interest a wide range of readers, from beginners to collectors to historians. An informal but informative overview, it will be useful as assigned or recommended reading for students in crafts classes.--Choice

A rare book in the developing field of craft history, as it frames the issues surrounding craft through artists' eyes. Reading this book is akin to hanging out at a craft workshop and having heart-to-heart talks with the people on the ground creating the movement. . . . Inspires, provokes and reminds us that today's debates have long roots.--Journal of Modern Craft

This collection forces the reader, in a positive fashion, to look more deeply at American craftsmanship and the very talented people who helped define it. . . . I left this book with a much greater understanding of post-war American craft and a deeper appreciation of the various fields of craftwork and the people who have shaped its history.--Journal of Folklore Research