Carol Sauvion is the Creator and Director of Craft in America, the documentary series celebrating American craft and the artists who bring it to life. The Craft in America series airs nationwide on PBS.
Sauvion is the Executive Director of the non-profit organization Craft in America, which holds as its mission the promotion and advancement of original handcrafted work through educational programs in all media. Projects include the documentary series; the book, Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects; and two inclusive websites: www.pbs.org/craftinamerica, www.craftinamerica.org. The Craft in America Center, located in Los Angeles is open to the public, and supports exhibitions with catalogs, artists’ talks
and workshops and provides access to a large craft library. Craft in America projects also include outreach to six public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, production of educational guides in conjunction with the premier of each episode, production of short films to enlarge upon materials presented in the PBS series and providing films and shorts to museums and craft organizations nationwide.
To help advance knowledge of the handmade, Sauvion participates in conferences and screenings, juries exhibitions and lectures on craft. She is currently on the board of the American Craft Council.
Craft is Sauvion’s lifelong passion. For the past 40 years, she has been the director of Freehand, her Los Angeles gallery specializing in functional craft. Prior to her involvement in the gallery, she was a potter for ten years. She continues to make pots as an avocation. Sauvion earned a BA in Art History from Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York.
CraftForms 2021 Juror’s Statement by Carol Sauvion
It was an enlightening experience for me to jury CraftForms 2021 at the Wayne Art Center, just outside of Philadelphia, where I grew up. I want to thank the Wayne Art Center for the opportunity to view and choose the fine craft for this exciting exhibition. The entries, submitted by artists living in forty-five states and nine countries, were excellent examples of the contemporary craft renaissance. The materials used by these gifted artists included the five traditional craft materials of clay, glass, metal wood and fiber as well as new media. The task of choosing ninety pieces from this wealth of styles and artistic expressions was daunting.
As I always do when jurying, I first reviewed the entire group of submission. I was struck by the inventiveness and mastery of technique these excellent applications exhibited. Reading the artists statements is always an important part of my decision making and the artists who submitted applications were eloquent in their explanations of technique and poignant descriptions of their inspirations. I was especially struck by the influence of COVID on the artists, many of whom created works in response to the pandemic, placing it firmly in this moment of our craft history.
Craft in Philadelphia fits the description of craft as cross-spacial, cross-temporal and cross- cultural. Philadelphia was built into a world-class city by diverse groups of artisans. This indigenous, international and generational influence of the crafts on Philadelphia continues today, maintaining the value and importance of handwork.
CraftForms, firmly rooted in the present, represents Philadelphia’s long history with the handmade. This would include the strong contemporary craft presence begun by Helen Drutt in the 1960s and made accessible to the public by the Works Gallery and later, the Snyderman Gallery. This creative field has been brought into the 21st Century by such prestigious organizations as the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the Clay Studio, the Center for Art of Wood, the Fabric Workshop, the Wayne Art Center and CraftNow. Philadelphia universities, including Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Swarthmore College and the University of the Arts, have contributed to the robust craft presence in this great city. Sadly, the University of the Arts, with its famous crafts department and stellar group of professors, has made the tragic mistake of eliminating their crafts program, which is famous for having launched many careers in the arts.
I’m proud to be a native Philadelphian and honored to have been chosen to jury this year’s CraftForms exhibition at the Wayne Art Center. I hope visitors to the exhibition will enjoy the thought-provoking array of talent on display.