Get Juiced

Give Us This Day Our Daily Juice

Westervin: Fresh Daily Juice Recipe

We’ve been making (or at least trying to make) juice every day for awhile now, and though we do like to experiment with what we juice every now and then, we also have a basic recipe for day-to-day juicing. It makes two pretty large glasses of juice that we usually drink around lunch time.

Everyday Juice

  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 Apples
  • 2 handfuls of green stuff! (e.g. spinach, kale, lettuce)
  • 1-2 celery stalks
  • 3-4 carrots

This is the barebones recipe that we play around with. Adding a ring or two of fresh pineapple is one of our favorite additions. Substituting sweet potato for carrots also turns out well.

Happy juicing!

Who Are You Pairing?

Who Are You Pairing: 2014 Golden Globes

It’s that time again, folks. Awards season! And with it comes one my favorite series here on the Westervin blog: “Who Are You Pairing?

Looking back, I realized this will be my third year creating red carpet & art pairings! I really enjoy putting these together, and not just because it gives me an excuse to spend an entire Sunday evening drooling over gorgeous gowns AND scouring the interwebs for inspiring works of art. It also gives me an opportunity to join two subjects that I enjoy but that aren’t often associated with one another (at least, I haven’t seen many other pairings like these). It’s simply fun to combine the dreamy, glamorous world of the red carpet with bright, intriguing, and beautifully crafted drawings, paintings, and sculpture that might not have the same main stream appeal as Hollywood. Let’s enjoy the beauty of both!

Also, a big amen to the ladies who rocked bold colors or intricate patterns last night! Those are always more fun to work with…

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Julie Bowen and Kustaa Saksi

{ Julie Bowen }  { Kustaa Saksi }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Sandra Bullock and Erin Flannery

{ Sandra Bullock }  { Erin Flannery }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Aubrey Plaza and Yrjo Edelmann

{ Aubrey Plaza }  {  Yrjö Edelmann }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Caitlin FitzGerald and Aaron Skolnick

{ Caitlin FitzGerald }  { Aaron Skolnick }

Who Are You Pairing at the 2014 Golden Globes: Lupita Nyong'o and Jeremy Miranda

{ Lupita Nyong’o }  { Jeremy Miranda }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Kaley Cuoco and Jenny Brown

{ Kaley Cuoco }  { Jenny Brown }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Joanna Newsom with Andy Samberg and Sarah Ball

 { Joanna Newsom & Andy Samberg }  { Sarah Ball }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Rocsi and Alan Reid

{ Rocsi }  { Alan Reid }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Zooey Deschanel and Thomas D. Meyer

{ Zooey Deschanel }  { Thomas D. Meyer }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Michelle Dockery and Brooks Salzwedel

{ Michelle Dockery }  { Brooks Salzwedel }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Emilia Clarke and Lilli Carré

{ Emilia Clarke }  { Lilli Carré }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Golden Globes: Laura Carmichael and Steve Juras

{ Laura Carmichael }  { Steve Juras }

Blog News, Westervin Shop

Westervin Shop Now Open!!!

peach and gray handmade pompom hat by Westervin

Hello dear readers! We’ve been quiet here lately because we’ve been transitioning through some big changes. I’m no longer working full-time, and I’ve finally decided to embrace my creative, entrepreneurial aspirations. These hands were made for crafting!

After a few (too many) years of school and a short career in business administration/marketing, I’m finally following my crafty fingers to a more fulfilling life as a maker and craft-focused blogger. Leveraging what I know and love, I’ve just launched my shop on Etsy as an extension of our blog, creating crochet accessories and home goods. I hope to soon add other textiles-based goods using embroidery, quilting, and dyeing as I expand my fiber arts repertoire.

Check out the Westervin shop!

AND take advantage of our Cyber Monday Sale: FREE SHIPPING on all orders worldwide placed Monday, December 2. Use coupon code: CYBERSHIP13

mint and brown handmade pompom hat by Westervin

teal and maroon pompom hat handmade by Westervin

teal and brown handmade pompom hat by Westervin

Blog News

Two Years Down, Forever To Go

Today is a pretty darn exciting day for the Westervin’s. It’s our two year anniversary! Although two years doesn’t really seem like very much time, and it sure has gone by very quickly, we wanted to take a little look back at what we’ve been up to since our last anniversary. It’s been a great year, and it’s already on to the next one.

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin 1st Anniversary 2012

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin October 2012

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin with Megan Harper, Grace Steinel Jones, and Ben Jones

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin Thanksgiving 2012

Sarah West Ervin and Brian West on a gorilla sculpture at the St. Louis Zoo

Sarah West Ervin and Brian West at Christmas 2012

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin New Year's 2013

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin May 2013

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin at the City Museum in St. Louis

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin all dressed up in June 2013

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin in July 2013

Brian West and Sarah West Ervin in New Orleans in March 2008

Sarah West Ervin and Brian West in Chicago in August 2013

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Craft Contexts, Maker's Remarks

Pauli Ochi of Ochi Gallery & Shop

Pauli Ochi Jewelry, Arrowhead Ring

{ Pauli Ochi Jewelry; photo credit: Tessa Sheehan }

It’s that time, folks! We haven’t had a Maker’s Remarks post here on Westervin in over a year (sad face), but today is the day for a new installment (jubilent face)! As I mentioned last week, Pauli Ochi (see: Ochi Gallery, Ochi Shop, and her line of handcrafted jewelry) kindly answered a few (and them some) questions about her jewelry, her creative process, and her daily life running a gallery & shop in awe-inspiring Sun Valley, Idaho. She’s really a fascinating woman! Let’s read up:

Pauli Ochi making jewelry

What materials do you use for creating your necklaces, and why do you prefer to work with them?

I’ll use anything that catches my eye: semi-precious stones, vintage pieces that I re-work, occasionally different fabrics. Right now I’m having a throwback interest to seed beads, which I used when I was a kid. I took a long break from them because they can be so tedious, but I’m in a mood to embrace the challenge.

Where do you find inspiration for your necklace designs?

Mainly through material. I’ll spend hours in the fashion district when I go to NY, or in bead stores anywhere I travel, or perusing the internet for colors and textures that look interesting.

Pauli Ochi Jewelry: multicolor crystal rings

Do you have an intended wearer in mind when you make your necklaces?

Definitely. I design for the girl/woman who can pull off statement pieces but still look casual. She loves both jewelry and art and has an appreciation for things that are handmade and all their imperfections. It’s important for me to keep my ideal wearer in mind because it keeps me focused on the final product. Sometimes I move on to a new piece before I finish the last one!

Why do you choose to make things by hand?

I think it has a lot to do with growing up in a gallery surrounded by people who consider the art-making process and who appreciate things made by hand.

Pauli Ochi Jewelry: handmade statement necklaces

{ photo credit: Tessa Sheehan }

As a person who makes jewelry by hand and runs an art gallery, do you have an opinion on the common but complex distinction made between art and craft?

I’ll respect good art, and I’ll respect good craft. I don’t think I worry too much about the distinction. In fact I think Ochi Shop is a place that embraces both art and craft without seeking to define them.

I’m afraid I’ve never been to Idaho. Should I visit?

Yes Idaho is amazing. The town I live in, Sun Valley, is literally awe inspiring, not to sound too cheesy.

Sun Valley Idaho by Baron Von Fancy

{ Sun Vally, Idaho, Bar Von Fancy }

Tell me about the art you select for Ochi Gallery and the items you select for Ochi Shop.

My parents started Ochi Gallery almost 40 years ago. I’ve inherited working with some really accomplished artists who have had long careers, which in the art world means real perseverance. I try to hold any new artists I bring into our program, or into the shop, to the same standard; that is, they have to be both talented and truly committed to their vision.

Is there a type of work you’re most excited to promote through your gallery or shop?

I love work with a conceptual edge or a sense of humor. And of course I love work that is inspiringly beautiful, where the artist considered everything from material to process to final product. I’m always most excited to promote the work of artists who have the personality as well as the talent.

Baron Von Fancy at Ochi Gallery

{ Baron Von Fancy’s “This Must Be the Place” at Ochi Gallery }

Can you pick a favorite of the exhibitions you’ve curated?

Probably not! Some are more fun and come together more smoothly than others, but working with different artists sometimes means having completely different jobs. I’ve found myself doing the most random things in the name of art. I’ve had to figure out how to move several tons of sand into the gallery, I’ve helped select models for a performance piece, I’ve even dug in the snow for an outdoor installation. My favorite is always the one I’m working on. For instance, right now I’m obsessed with Baron Von Fancy’s “This Must Be the Place,” and Erin Rachel Hudak’s “My Nature / Your Nature.”

Erin Rachel Hudak at Ochi Gallery

{ meet me here, mountains, Erin Rachel Huduk }

What do you most look forward to when you start each day?

That’s such a good question because I always think about that quote “how you start the day is how you live your life.” I look forward to my morning runs outside and to whatever creative project I’m working on (because there’s always something!) This morning, for instance, I was looking forward to peeking at the Dropbox folder my lookbook photographer, Tessa Sheehan, sent me!

Seen any good movies lately?

I thought Starlet, starring Dree Hemmingway, was surprisingly good. We just watched Searching for Sugarman, which is a crazy story. That was a good documentary. Lately though, I’m kind of into Netflix’s original series.

Pauli Ochi Jewelry: handmade statement necklaces

{ photo credits: Tessa Sheehan }

Blog News, Craft Contexts

Westervin Recently

Screengrab: SarahWest Ervin's Ochi Shop Picks

{ My curated collection for Ochi Shop }

It’s been a grand week! Westervin and I have been featured in a few places around the internets recently, and I thought I’d share these happy mentions. First up, I’ve made a lovely new e-friend in Pauli Ochi, a jewelry designer from Sun Valley, Idaho who runs Ochi Gallery and Ochi Shop. After I discovered her amazing jewelry via Pinterest, Pauli found her way to Westervin then reached out with the friendliest email. In the end, Pauli invited me to guest curate some picks from Ochi Shop and kindly agreed to answer some of my questions for a Maker’s Remarks post here on Westervin. Stay tuned for the interview going live next Monday, but for now, check out my Ochi Shop picks!

Screengrab: Sarah West Ervin Interview with Alistair Porter on Marginalia

{ My interview on Marginalia }

Also this week, my friend and former classmate Ali Porter interviewed me for Marginalia, the graduate student blog at Columbia College Chicago. Check it out to learn a little more about me, my job at Lillstreet Art Center, and my experience as a graduate student in the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management MAM program at Columbia.

Screengrab: Westervin mentioned on LoganSquarist

{ Westervin mentioned on LoganSquarist }

In other local crafty news, my recap of the recent Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival got a little shout-out on the LoganSquarist, a blog covering our Chicago neighboorhood, Logan Square. They liked some of our pics from our visit!

Screengrab: Westervin featured on Mint Design Blog

{ Westervin mention on Mint }

Now, this final feature isn’t actually from this past week. It’s from last summer, but I only just stumbled upon this nice little surprise. If you’ve been around for a while, you might recall that the save-the-dates Brian and I made for our wedding were included in the book Design: Paper. Well, another person whose work was included in the beautiful book, Ellie Snow, blogged about it and included a snapshot of our save-the-dates. Her blog, Mint, is so lovely and she seems to be a very talented designer, so we’re super flattered to think that she was impressed enough with our handicraft to include a mention in her post. Thanks, Ellie!

Craft Contexts

With Ink or Thread

Embroider by Marguerite Zorach, 1900

{ My Home in Fresno Around 1900, wool embroidered on linen, Marguerite Zorach }

I fell down the rabbit hole recently, scouring the interwebs for some visual inspiration in textile arts. Crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, applique, quilting–I’ve always loved a good fabric craft! I was recently reading about Marguerite Zorach (1887-1968), who was an American painter turned textile artist considered a pioneer for her rugs, tapestries, and other textile works. Though she preferred working in textiles–she said she could find more brilliant colors in wool than in paint–I found it much easier to uncover images of her oil paintings. Sadly, major art institutions and aficionados did not (and many probably still don’t) consider her textile works equivalent to her oil paintings. I disagree! Just look at these incredible pieces!

embroidered handbag by Marguerite Zorach

{ Handbag, wool embroidery on burlap or linen, Marguerite Zorach }

The Circus, embroidery by Marguerite Zorach

{ The Circus, embroidery on wool or linen, 1929, Marguerite Zorach }

detail of embroidered panel by Marguerite Zorach

 { detail of embroidered panel, polychrome wool on linen, 1925-28, Marguerite Zorach }

Maine Islands, embroidery by Marguerite Zorach

{ Maine Islands, needlework and pencil on canvas, 1919, Marguerite Zorach }

batik scarf by Marguerite Zorach

{ batik scarf, wax-resist dye on plain-weave silk, 1918, Marguerite Zorach }

embroidered rug by Marguerite Zorach

{ The Snake and Bird, wool on linen, 1937, Marguerite Zorach }

These next two pieces I found in an a New York Times article about rugs–they were made a little before Zorach’s time by unknown or anonymous artists. Beautiful and odd…

hooked rug

M.E.H.N., hooked rug, 1868, artist unknown }

applique table cover

A table cover, made of wool embroidery and cotton applique on wool, 1870, artist unknown }

Now let’s look a few contemporary artists working in textiles for even more fiber arts inspiration! Below are some of my favorite pieces I’ve found recently.

embroidery by Tracey Emin

{ Soft Blue, embroidered calico, 2012, by Tracey Emin }

embroidery by Joetta Maue

{ Asleep on the Couch, hand embroidered, painted, and appliquéd re-appropriated linen, 2012, Joetta Maue }

embroidery by Arimoto Yumiko

{ detail of embroidered bag by Arimoto Yumiko, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidery by Stephen Sollins

{ Elegy (…and glad to be home…), embroidery, 2004, Stephen Sollins, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidery by Ana Teresa Barboza

bordado y tela, embroidery, 2010, Ana Teresa Barboza }

cross stitch by Dina Weiss

Bowery, summer trash, needlepoint, 2010-2011, Dina Weiss }

embroidery by Jenny Hart

This Work Never Ends, hand embroidery on salvaged cotton, 2002, Jenny Hart }

embroidered linen by Joetta Maue

{ She Danced …hand embroidered, appliquéd, cut, and stained re-appropriated linen, 2011, Joetta Maue }

embroidered face by Stacey Page

{ Rachel, Stacey Page, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidered portrait by Daniel Kornrumpf

Line of Sight (detail), hand embroidered on linen, 2012, Daniel Kornrumpf }

embroidered portrait by Stacey Page

{ Henry, Stacey Page, found via Embroidery as Art }

embroidery on satin by Jenny Hart

Luck – 1972hand embroidery, sequins and appliqué on satin, 2003, Jenny Hart }

Craft Contexts

Statement Jewelry, Then and Now

Arts and Crafts hair comb by Archibald Knox

comb by Archibald Knox }

If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been eyeballs-deep in the Arts and Crafts movement, reading about the historical origins of today’s crafts styles and philosophies in Makers: A History of American Studio Craft. Most recently, I learned something truly fascinating (though not too surprising) about Arts and Crafts jewelers in the early 20th century. Their jewelry, crafted rather laboriously by hand using more inexpensive and easily attainable materials, was associated with progressive culture and politics. Handmade jewelry made a social statement.

Arts and Crafts necklace by Murrle Bennett

{ necklace by Murrle Bennett }

These jewelers “rejected both costume jewelry and social jewelry, the two professional types of their day.” Costume jewelry is made from inexpensive substitute materials, such as tin alloys and fake stones, rather than gold and precious stones, and is “produced in the least labor-intensive, most mechanized way possible.” Like the cheap jewelry you find at Forever 21 and Target, and even more expensive pieces you can find in more “high end” retail outlets that are still made in bulk from cheap materials in factories overseas. Costume jewelry is imitation social jewelry, pieces made from the real materials–gold, platinum, diamonds, emeralds, etc. Social jewelry is a sign of wealth and status. Beyonce’s 18-carat diamond engagement ring, anyone?

Arts and Crafts necklace by Brainerd Bliss Thresher

{ necklace by Brainerd Bliss Thresher }

“Arts and Crafts jewelers,” on the other hand, “proposed a hierarchy of taste instead of a hierarchy of wealth,” and their works were associated with “reform clothing,” which advocated for more casual, practical clothing, especially for women of the time. Their pieces were commonly made from sterling silver or copper and included glass beads, carved bone, enameling, and semi-precious stones. Their works also featured nature-inspired motifs, including a variety of flora and fauna. This was a common feature of Arts and Crafts works, as the movement often praised more rural ways of life.

Arts and Crafts necklace by Maurice Daurat

{ pendant by Maurice Daurat }

Arts and Crafts brooch by George Pierre

{ brooch by George Pierre }

Arts and Crafts necklace by Arthur and George Gaskin

{ necklace by Arthur & Georgie Gaskin }

While reading about this, I immediately thought of the “statement necklaces” that were everywhere a couple years ago or so (and are still pretty popular?). Sadly, the only statement most of these necklaces were making was just a “fashion statement,” as they were only large pieces of costume jewelry. However, there were and still are quite a few craftspeople and artisans creating jewelry that make both a fashion statement and a social statement—bold, colorful, original pieces of art that are handcrafted, often from affordable materials, like embroidery thread and wooden beads, as well as recycled metals and stones.

handmade necklace by Edith Robertson

{ necklace by Edith Robertson }

 handmade necklace by Tamara Bavdek

{ necklace by Tamara Bavdek }

handmade earrings by Heejin Hwang

{ earrings by Heejin Hwang }

handmade bracelet by Karen Konzuk

{ bracelet by Karen Konzuk }

handmade necklace by Arlie Trowbridge

{ necklace by Arlie Trowbridge }

handmade rings by Polly van der Glas

{ rings by Polly van der Glas }

necklace by Orly Genger

{ necklace by Orly Genger }

handmade ring by Elke Kramer

ring by Elke Kramer }

handmade necklace by Pauli Ochi

necklace by Pauli Ochi }

handmade necklace by Viktoria Luftensteiner

necklace by Viktoria Luftensteiner }

The next time I purchase a piece of jewelry, I’ll try to be more conscious of the statement I’m making….

Craft Contexts

Old is New

"Daisy" wallpaper by William Morris: photograph by Beata Wilczek

Daisy by William Morris }  { fl by Beata Wilczek }

Today’s Pretty Pair comes with a mini history lesson for anyone who isn’t familiar with the Arts and Craft movement, of which William Morris (1834-96), whose wallpaper design is pictured above, was one of the founders.

The Arts and Crafts movement was influenced by the writings of three Victorian men: Morris, A. W. N. Pugin, and John Ruskin. It was not just an aesthetic movement but also a social movement, started in response to industrialization and urbanization in 19th century England and the resulting consequences of dehumanizing labor and the abandonment and destruction of nature. Advocates of this movement sought to assert the value not just of beautiful objects but also of the makers of those objects and the personal benefits derived from handmaking processes. According to the authors of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, Ruskin believed that workers “could derive satisfaction from their labor only if they were given some creative control.” Furthermore, “this vision, above all others, inspired the craft revival,” which elevated the practice of design in society and applauded people’s individuality expressed through handmade artifacts and the imperfections inherent in humankind and its handicraft.

Throughout his lifetime, William Morris, a follower of Ruskin’s, taught himself how to glaze ceramics, letter and illustrate manuscripts, engrave wooden printing blocks, dye wool and silk, print textiles, and weave tapestries and rugs. With several colleagues, he founded a sort of design and craft fabrication firm, eventually named Morris & Co., that produced murals, carvings, glass, metalwork, jewelry, furniture, and embroidery.” The motto of the company and its legion of international followers was “Art into Life.” Through tremendous acclaim, Morris & Co. helped to elevate craft to more of an art status. Morris himself is perhaps best know for his exquisite wallpapers, which were painstakingly drawn and followed the philosophies of the Arts & Crafts movement. According to Makers:

“His influence on the crafts was (and is) immense. By his own example, he elevated craft from a trade to a vocation, linked handwork with idealism, and became a hero for generations to come. Morris & Co. was a successful business but not a cutthroat capitalist one. It gave dignity back to labor (even if its workers weren’t designers, as Ruskin might have wished). Morris insisted that craft could be art and that art must be incorporated into the daily lives of ordinary people. This just might be his most important legacy of all.”

The ideal of the Arts and Crafts movement was to combine beauty and usefulness, that handcrafted goods have value beyond their utility. Followers also claimed that craft is the foundation of the arts—one can’t separate fine art from folk art—and that nature and regionalism can and should be expressed through handcrafted works.

These assertions are certainly nothing we haven’t heard before in the last few years, but they were pretty revolutionary for their time.

Craft Contexts

Craft is Not a Four Letter Word

carnations in a chain-link fence

{ carnations in a fence outside the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival 2013 }

While Brian and I were at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival this past weekend, we ran into a friend of mine who had some of his photographs on display in one of the festival’s popup galleries, which were coordinated by the South Logan Arts Coalition. After catching up, I mentioned my summer project — reading through Makers: A History of American Studio Craft and writing regular blog posts on topics or ideas inspired by the text — and that I was at the festival to gather some material for my next post. He seemed genuinely interested but a little puzzled. “So you’re a… crafter?” he asked, hesitating on the word, as if he wasn’t sure what the appropriate term was.

Evan Baden with photographs from Under the Influence

{ Evan Baden in front of his work, photographs from Under the Influence,

at a South Logan Arts Coalition popup gallery }

He admitted that it seemed almost like a dirty word, that some people speak about craft as something to be looked down on. And it’s true—many people consider “craft” to be of less value than “fine art.” Perhaps they think of craft as requiring less imagination, less intellect, less skill — who knows what, just less. But I don’t hesitate to identify as a crafter, though I think it’s important for me to acknowledge that I’m more of a hobby crafter or a domestic crafter rather than a maker of fine or studio craft.

Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival: Stephanie Burke and Jeriah Hildwine

{ detail of T and O Map by Stephanie Burke & Jeriah Hildwine }

After confidently shaking my head yes, yes I would call myself a crafter, my friend seemed a little perplexed again at my reason for attending the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival. Perhaps he was worried I wouldn’t find much by way of craft inspiration. But the funny thing is that the very popup gallery we were in, which showcased the work of at least six different artists, had more to do with craft than not. Almost one entire wall was taken over by Stephanie Burke and Jeriah Hildwine, whose several pieces of mixed media work included quilting, embroidery, and sewing. Textile arts? Or textile crafts? You say potato.

Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival: Garth Borovicka

Ends of the Earth by Garth Borovicka }

Also in the room were wooden miniature works by Garth Borovicka, which I’ve seen at the Renegade Craft Fair and on Etsy. Those are pretty clearly “craft” venues. These Borovicka pieces that were on display at the popup gallery were hanging on the wall next to a slip of paper that described the work — its maker, its materials, its title. So, if it’s hanging on a wall in gallery, it’s art, and if it’s sitting on a table at a craft fair, it’s craft? My head hurts. Either way, Borovicka’s pieces are delightful….

Wooden miniatures by Garth Borovicka

{ Desktop blocks by Garth Borovicka }

Everyday objects are transformed into public art in these tiny worlds. A paper clip becomes an oversized sculpture in the manner of artist Claus Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, adding wonder to any work space. —- Garth Borovicka

Like the wood and textile works in the popup gallery that I’ll call “craft adjacent,” miniatures are a phenomenon that seem to float somewhere between art and craft. A good friend of mine who works in the art auction world was recently describing a miniatures collection that she was helping to sell. It seemed odd at first, not just the idea that someone had collected thousands upon thousands of teeny tiny handmade pieces of furniture and home décor, but also the fact that these pieces were part of an “art auction” being sold for a couple hundred bucks a pop. She showed us a few pictures, and after I stopped awing over the preciousness of the itsy bitsy works, I started to wonder at the skill required to make exquisite replicas of furniture, sometimes famous antique pieces of furniture, on such a small scale. My friend then passed around her phone with a picture of a miniature silver platter with incredible detail — it was about as tall as one’s thumb. When she was helping to unpack all the miniatures, she unwrapped this little platter, turned it over in her hand, and found her father’s signature on the bottom. Her father, a silversmith, had actually made this piece. Apparently, his mother was an avid collector of miniatures herself. What a small world (and other puns).

Miniature Furniture

{ hand-carved Rosewood miniature furniture }

So what’s the difference? Why is “craft” sometimes a dirty word in the art world? I wish I could explain it. Truth be told, I’ve spent the last few months trying to figure it out, reading books and articles, asking curators and craftspeople, thinking about it while I stare out the bus window on my commute home. I think I’m beginning to formulate my own understanding of the division, but it’s just a nugget of an idea right now. There seem to be a number of ways to slice it: form versus function, head versus hand, expression versus reflection. But none of these divisions really tell the whole story. There’s no doubt there’s plenty of grey area here. I’m sure I’ll never figure it out completely, and I’m sure my opinions will evolve over time, but after this summer, I hope to have a better understanding of studio craft and, therefore, a better idea of how craft is similar to and different from art. If I get closer to an answer, you’ll be the first to know!