On October 25, 2012, the Maude Fife Room in Wheeler Hall filled to capacity for the Arts Research Center program Studio Time: Process/Production, featuring a talk titled Goodbye Craft by Glenn Adamson, Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The crowd listened in rapt silence as Adamson, the author of Thinking through Craft, editor of The Craft Reader, co-editor of The Journal of Modern Craft, described his personal journey towards a career focused on craft, and then made this extraordinary statement:
I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve decided that this is the last public talk I’m going to give about craft, at least for a while. The Invention of Craft, which I mentioned earlier, will also be the last book I write with craft in the title… again at least for a while. Now, I’m not going cold turkey. I’ll still help to edit the Journal of Modern Craft, for example. I’ll still work with students and colleagues. I’ll still avidly follow the scene, if it can even be called ‘a’ scene any longer. But I think that for me, it’s time to talk about something else.
Adamson’s wide-ranging and thought-provoking talk was followed by lively responses from Ronald Rael from the UC Berkeley Department of Architecture, and artist Stephanie Syjuco, and a spirited question and answer period. Those in attendance walked away thinking deeply about the role of craft in our contemporary culture.
Were you there? What did you think? Comments welcome!