Sunday, 3 March 2013

Glenn Adamson maintains high priest position of craft but changes focus for the future

Few of us in the practice of contemporary craft theory would argue with the assertion that Glenn Adamson has been the reigning high priest…with a string of influential books, a solid presence as an international lecturer, a position at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and last but not least being at the editorial helm (along with Tanya Harrod and Ned Cooke) of the Journal of Modern Craft.  The U.K. has always been at the forefront of craft scholarship, I recall that when I was working on the history of knitting in Newfoundland I was interested in charting the path of the trigger mitten and had no trouble finding "knitting" historians, and even a group of scholars that specialized in medieval knits, while I was in the U.K.  Anyhow, let it suffice to say, that when American Glenn Adamson turned up at the V&A I wasn't surprised.

Adamson first made his mark in the publishing craft world with his book Thinking Through Craft.  While it is essentially a reworking of his Phd thesis, and may not be entirely representative of his current thinking the book stood out for me for the energy and rigour that it brought to the subject of craft.  His second book, The Craft Reader, is a weighty tome that is essentially a textbook for anyone teaching the growing but still new subject of craft theory.  It is a combination of old and newer writings on the topic by a variety of scholars, including some Canadians.

Naturally, there was considerable interest in the Adamson title that was released in February 2013, The Invention of Craft.  But rumour had it that Adamson was not going to tour in support of it and that he might be stepping away from the altar of craft.  Curiosity got the better of me and I finally decided to e-mail Glenn Adamson and ask if it were true.  His generous and prompt response was that,

"Yes it’s true, more or less – in that I am concentrating on new projects (mainly a show on the concept of the future in design, which will be at the V&A in 2016). Still doing some craft related things like the journal, and supervising students.. But felt it was time to move on at least for now.
Thanks for the nice words and hope you like the new book!

This is what Sandra Alfoldy, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, had to say about The Invention of Craft
 “Once again, Glenn Adamson has proven adept at pinpointing the hot-button issues in modern craft. The Invention of Craft takes historical ideas about craft that have been canonized in craft scholarship and turns them on their head. His controversial assertions and excellent examples will have scholars and makers buzzing for years.”

If you are interested in learning more about the book here's the link:   http://

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