Environmental Effects Symposium
Each year, CraftNOW hosts a symposium to provide a platform for critical discourse in contemporary craft. This year the event was hybrid – attendees could join in person or by Zoom.
CraftNOW’s 2021 symposium Environmental Effects examined how communities and interiors shape our experiences, when sustainability issues are expressed through craft, and the greater impact of our contemporary material culture. Longer presentations were complimented by shorter Pecha Kucha style talks.
Dr. Kelli Morgan was this year’s keynote speaker. She contributed the chapter Crafting Diversity in our recent publication Craft Capital: Philadelphia’s Cultures of Making. Dr. Morgan is a curator, educator, and social justice activist who specializes in American art and visual culture. Dr. Morgan has held teaching positions at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan, as well as curatorial positions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Masks and proof of vaccination were required upon entry to the Center for Architecture and Design. Space was limited to 50 guests to allow for social distancing.
This hybrid symposium event was free and open to the public.
From left: Helen Drutt: Five Decades, Wood + Body, Cords and Kellum, and Making Place Matter
Working Lecture and Event Schedule
Friday, November 5, 2021
10:00 Opening Remarks with Elissa Topol and Leila Cartier, CraftNOW Philadelphia
10:10 Helen Drutt: Five Decades, Helen Drutt and Liza Kirwin, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian
10:55 Wood + Body, Navva Milliken, Attai Chen, and Shamaka Thompson, The Center for Art in Wood
11:05 World Building, Roberta Massuch, Lauren Fensterstock, and Emily Zilber, Wharton Esherick Museum
11:50 Break for Lunch – On your own with Reading Terminal Market and other restaurants less than a block away
1:00 Cords & Kellum: Annette Cords and G. Kellum, InLiquid
1:45 Making Place Matter: Ibraham Said and Elizabeth Essner, The Clay Studio
1:55 Earth Itself: Lauren Mabry and Christine Pfister, Pentimenti Gallery
2:05 Shifting Landscapes: How Commitment to Change Can Create New Futures, Keynote Speaker Kelli Morgan
2:50 Question and Answer Session
3:00 Closing Remarks
The 45th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show returned to the Pennsylvania Convention Center November 5 – 7, 2021. Visit their website linked above and follow them on social media @PMACraftShow for more details.
Additionally, The Center for Art in Wood celebrated the opening of its new exhibition, Extra-Human: The Sculpture of Michael Ferris, the evening of Friday, November 5.
Helen Drutt: 55 Years, Helen Drutt and Liza Kirwin, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian
Helen Drutt is renowned for advancing contemporary craft across the globe. As a celebrated educator, author, gallerist, collector, and advisor, she has introduced us to a world of extraordinary makers and their expansive ideas. Join Liza Kirwin of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art in conversation with Helen Drutt as she shares her key experiences of the past five decades at the center of the contemporary craft world, as well as her current projects.
Addressing Climate Change through Craft, Frances Dubrowski, Honoring the Future
Honoring the Future’s mission is to harness the power of art to educate, empower, and engage the public on climate change. Frances Dubrowski will discuss the programs, exhibitions and artists the organization highlights in order to engage the public in conversation and inspire action.
Wood + Body: Jennifer-Navva Milliken, Attai Chen and Shamaka Thompson, The Center for Art in Wood
In conjunction with the exhibition Wood + Body: Expressions of Contemporary Jewelry, and in consideration of the CraftNOW PHL Symposium 2021 theme, Environmental Effects, this discussion will address the phenomenology of the making and wearing of wood on the body. The relationship between wood and the human body holds narrative and conceptual significance rooted in ancient art and literature but continuing into the present. Wood plays a leading role in the environments of most cultures and people worldwide, providing shelter, fuel, mobility, and tools, as well as a medium for ritual and personal expression.
This talk will feature artists whose works are included in the exhibition in conversation with exhibition curator Jennifer-Navva Milliken. We will discuss, among other things, the body as environment for art; the jewel as an effect; and the act of adornment in private vs. public spaces.
World Building: Roberta Massuch, Lauren Fensterstock, and Emily Zilber, Wharton Esherick Museum
Artists Lauren Fensterstock and Roberta Massuch, although working in different styles and materials, each explore what it means to build objects or worlds that respond to architectural and natural environments. Together in conversation with Curator Emily Zilber, who worked with Fensterstock and Massuch on separate, site-specific projects for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2020) and Wharton Esherick Museum (2021) respectively, we’ll delve into what it means to build new material worlds in response to environmental phenomena. For Fensterstock and Massuch, these are both as ineffable as the nature of light or the patterning of weather and as concrete as a second-Empire style formal gallery and an iconoclastic artist’s home and studio.
Cords and Kellum: Annette Cords and G. Farrel Kellum, InLiquid
Material Voices at The InLiquid Gallery is a two-person exhibition of Annette Cords’ Jacquard tapestries and G. Farrell Kellum’s sculptural works that connect through their visual references to an urban aesthetic while investigating deeper issues of marginalized identities and the production of visual culture. Utilizing reference points of labor, binary systems, and mark-making, Cords and Kellum give voices to individuals who are often relinquished to their collective identity.
Annette Cords’ jacquard tapestry and G Farrel Kellum’s painted fiber sculptures come to the InLiquid Gallery for Philadelphia’s Craft Month with CraftNOW in November. Kellum dives into the world of urban aesthetics, while Cords focuses on the convergence of visual and written languages; together, these works create a rich texture of contemporary craft.
Making Place Matter: Ibraham Said and Elizabeth Essner, The Clay Studio
Join Egyptian-born, North Carolina-based ceramic artist Ibrahim Said as he discusses his new sculpture On the Bank of the Nile, featured in Making Place Matter, the inaugural exhibition at The Clay Studio’s new South Kensington home. In this short conversation with exhibition co-curator Elizabeth Essner, Said will consider how narratives of home, memory, and place intersect with larger social, political, and environmental issues around the Nile River.
Earth Itself: Lauren Mabry and Christine Pfister, Pentimenti Gallery
I make ceramic objects, vessels, and dimensional glaze paintings. The ever-dynamic compositions feature rich, vibrant glazes that remain in constant fluctuation between flowing liquids and solid structures, challenging viewers to contemplate the perceived physical state of matter. Sometimes the surfaces look weathered and aged, but at the same time colorfully lush and wet. Similar to glass, my glazes push to new limits as I experiment with heat, and possibilities of the material, to create a spectrum of flow and gesture in work that carries forward the histories of both glazed ceramic and abstract painting.
Shifting Landscapes: How Commitment to Change Can Create New Futures in the Arts, Kelli Morgan of Tufts University
In her keynote address, Dr. Kelli Morgan discusses how her commitment to changing her professional environments resulted in significant shifts within various art museum landscapes.
Dr. Morgan is a curator, educator, and social justice activist who specializes in American art and visual culture. Her scholarly commitment to the investigation of anti-blackness within those fields has demonstrated how traditional art history and museum practice work specifically to uphold white supremacy. Dr. Morgan has held teaching positions at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan, as well as curatorial positions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 2014, the Ford Foundation awarded her a dissertation fellowship. She earned her PhD in Afro-American studies and a graduate certificate in public history–museum studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
2020: Culture of Making
CraftNOW’s 2020 symposium Cultures of Making examines the many ways community, activism, research, and connection develop out of collaborative craft practices in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia to the Santa Clara Pueblo and beyond. Keynote speakers Vashti DuBois, Executive Director of The Colored Girls Museum in Philadelphia, and Hinda Mandell, editor of Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Pussyhats, are central to each day’s conversation as we talk and think about the role of craft as a tool for provocation and exchange, especially in this heightened time of social unrest.
Center for Architecture and Design
1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia