The recipients of the Center for Craft’s 2022 Craft Archive Fellowship are Xenobia Bailey, Jeffrey Gan, Elizabeth G. Greenlee and N.E. Brown, Siera Hyte, Maru López, and Olivia Quintanilla. For their six projects, they will receive grants of $5,000 to explore and analyze archives of their choosing, allowing them to engage in both conventional and innovative approaches to archival research.
Focusing on underrepresented and non-dominant craft histories in the United States, fellows will participate in a joint virtual program presented by the Center for Craft and the American Craft Council, and publish their scholarship in a special issue on Hyperallergic devoted to craft archives in summer 2023.
The unique topics they’ve chosen span centuries and communities, and we’re excited to see what they discover over the course of their research. Meet the fellows and learn a little about their projects:
Xenobia Bailey (Philadelphia, PA)
James Forten: A man of the Cloth, with a Mind of Steel and a heart of Gold
Born to free Black parents in Philadelphia in 1766, by age 14 James Forten was employed — and later a prisoner of war — on tall sail ships. He would go on to become a master sailmaker and build a thriving business in the Philadelphia ports. Xenobia Bailey will research how these early experiences at sea helped Forten advance his craftsmanship and studio practice.
Jo Hamilton, “Crochet Portrait of Xenobia Bailey” (2021)
Jeffrey Gan (Alameda, CA)
Craft and Performance at Indo Refugee Community Centers, 1960–1975
Drawing upon interviews, scrapbooks, and dance costumes held in personal collections, Jeffrey Gan will explore the flourishing of material craft and performance at Indo refugee centers in 1960s Southern California, and the subsequent demise of these practices in the 1970s in response to assimilatory pressures.
Elizabeth G. Greenlee and N.E. Brown (Berea, KY)
Black American Craft at Berea College and The Lincoln Institute
By analyzing documents and material objects in Berea College Special Collections and Archives and the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center’s Artifacts Teaching Collection, Elizabeth G. Greenlee and N.E. Brown will research the history of Black craft at two schools in Southern Appalachia: Berea College, the first non-segregated and coeducational college in the Southern US, and the Lincoln Institute, an all-Black boarding high school founded by Berea trustees.
Top: photo Betsy Blake Photography | Bottom: N.E. Brown, “Self Portrait” (photo Elizabeth Powell)
Siera Hyte (Waterville, ME)
detsadatliyvsesdi: struggle to hold onto or cling to one another
Through the lens of the Cherokee value detsadatliyvsesdi (struggle to hold onto/cling to one another), Siera Hyte will delve into archives that reflect how tribal, community, and intergenerational craft educational efforts aid in “holding onto” traditional weaving practice, ancestral ways of knowing, and kinship ties post-Indian Removal Act.
Maru López (San Diego, CA)
Craft, Lists, and Fairs: Constructing Puerto Rican Identity in the 1950s
Reflecting on the role of crafts in the construction of Puerto Rican identity, Maru López will explore the official 1950s documents from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) that catalogued artisans for the development of craft fairs and centers.
Olivia Quintanilla (San Diego, CA)
Oceanic Chamoru Craft: Past, Present and Future
Inspired by the sinahi — crescent-shaped shell jewelry designed to resemble the Marianas Trench, made by the Indigenous Chamoru people of the Mariana Islands — Olivia Quintanilla will study different forms of Chamoru craft archives at the Micronesian Area Research Center and Guma’ Cultural Centers, and through oral histories with cultural practitioners, to better understand Chamoru craft through the theme of ocean and marine life connections.
The Center for Craft in Asheville, North Carolina, is a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing the field of craft through fostering new ideas, funding craft scholarships, and backing the next generation of makers, curators, and critics.