|Gourd bowl with pyrographic design by Georgianne Jackofsky|
In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century a movement, led by English writer and artist William Morris, sought to restore the glory and appreciation of traditional craftsmanship. The movement took place at a time when the industrial revolution and machine-made products were devaluing skills that had been refined by artists and craftsmen throughout the course of human history. Once again we find ourselves at a crossroads in human history; where artists and designers with unique and valuable skills are being replaced by machines. This time the machines are not the steam, coal, and electric powered inventions of the nineteenth century, but the digitally controlled computer programs of the twenty-first century. There is a New Arts and Crafts movement taking place right now and it is happening on a global scale. In the last century, the movement was centered around schools, communities, and individuals dedicated to preserving traditional art forms. This time around the movement has no clear leader or epicenters of activity. One reason for the difference between the twentieth century movement and the twenty-first century movement is that the same technology that is creating the need for the movement is also aiding the movement by providing easy availability of tools and the rapid dissemination of the information needed to learn the practice, as well as the appreciation, of traditional art forms. The digital genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back to the age of analog technology, but we should follow the advice of William Morris by recognizing the talents of traditional artists and craftsmen, giving the simple beauty of traditional folk art the respect it deserves.
Now for some shameless self promotion. The Homegrown String Band not only creates homegrown and handmade acoustic music, we are also practitioners of traditional arts and crafts. Annalee has created her own line of handmade soaps and lotions, Erica is a well known knitter and designer who creates original knitting and crochet patterns as well as a line of hand dyed yarn. Georgianne is an amazing artist who creates incredible works of beauty using pyrography (drawing with fire) on wood and gourds, as well as fashioning copper, brass, and aluminum wire jewelry. I work in copper, silver, pewter, wood, and fiber to create jewelry, decorative art, spoons, bowls, buttons, and Navajo spindles.
You can find us hawking our wares, every Sunday (if we are not doing a show) through November, at The Rocky Point Farmers Market located on Prince Road just east of Broadway (Old Depot Park) in Rocky Point, NY. We put up two tents and several tables displaying soaps, sundries, jewelry, gourd art, copper bowls, knitwear, and hand dyed yarn. Stop by and support the New American Arts and Crafts Movement. While you're there you can also stock up on organic produce, nursery stock, eggs, grass fed beef, free range chickens, and maybe catch a few tunes.