In the month of November, things are getting crafty in Philadelphia.
CraftNOW is bringing back its annual citywide celebration CraftMONTH, and this year, anyone with a creative curiosity or an artsy knack will be able to indulge in multiple happenings all over the City of Brotherly Love.
Throughout the activation, there will be different events kicking off every week with the intention of highlighting the robust craft scene here. Overall CraftNOW—along with its 15 partners—will host a series of programs and exhibits at museums and galleries to jam pack the month with plenty to see and plenty to learn.
The highlight of the eventful experience happens on Nov. 11 with the free annual symposium. The signature event will be hosted that Friday in-person at the Moore College of Art & Design with this year’s theme being Public|Private.
“The theme Public|Private was selected because it provides a thread that unites the current work of so many scholars and artisans,” said Leila Cartier, Executive Director of CraftNOW in a statement. “Our organization has developed and launched a new directory and series of programming we have coined CraftBUILD, to showcase Philadelphia-based artisans and their works to local developers, architects, and designers. The theme has many other interesting interpretations, including how communities can come together, like the Mummers, around a common interest in making.”
As a release states, the annual symposium’s theme will examine the evolving concept of shared versus personal space. CraftNOW will also stream the program virtually to allow national and international audiences to take part. Registration details and the full itinerary, including talks, a gallery tour, and book signing are available online.
While at the symposium, Philadelphians can explore how handmade elements and crafted objects communicate whether architectural space is shared or private. In the age of the Internet and social media, the veil of public showcases and private lives are often interconnected—including in the world of creative crafters and their spaces/studios. This particular showcase takes a look at how that can directly translate to the world we live in today.
The symposium on the 11th (which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will additionally feature a series of presentations from the Peabody Award-winning PBS series ‘Craft in America’, The Center for Art in Wood, the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, and more. The symposium will also include shorter talks by emerging scholars selected from CraftNOW’s recent call for papers.
The keynote speaker will be an architectural critic for The Wall Street Journal, Michael J. Lewis. Lewis has also authored a few books—and one with a local tie—’Philadelphia Builds: Essays on Architecture.’ Other publications from the accomplished speaker includes ‘Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind’, and ‘City of Refuge.’
Advanced registration for the symposium’s in-person luncheon is available online, and to attend the symposium virtually, more details are also available online. For more information about the Public | Private Symposium, interested Philadelphians can also visit CraftNOW’s website.
If you can’t make the main event on the 11th however, there’s plenty more to see throughout November.
Other highlighted activations include Private | Public exhibitions that are placed throughout the city. With the advantage of having some of the best innovative artists today working in wood, clay fiber, metal, and glass, the organization typically chooses other cultural institutions’ showcases that run in line with the theme. In 2022, expect to be immersed in work from the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, Center for Art in Wood, Graver’s Lane Gallery, and the Wharton Esherick.
From Nov. 11-13, CraftMONTH’s 46th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show will also be taking place. Hosted at the Convention Center, this premier show and sale of contemporary craft and design includes 195 of the finest and most dynamic craft artists in the United States, selected by an esteemed panel of craft experts, a release states. All work is for sale, and the artists receive 100% of their sale proceeds.
But you don’t have to wait to indulge in the experience.
Coming up this weekend, CraftNOW Create will kick off Saturday, Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Smith Memorial Playground. This free experience will boast demonstrations with step-by-step instructions on how to create nine crafts ideal for elementary-age students. On top of the educational activities, the event will also showcase family-friendly activities throughout the day.
CraftNOW Create will display works from 1241 Carpenter Studios, American Swedish Historical Museum, Center for Art in Wood, The Clay Studio, Da Vinci Art Alliance, Fabric Workshop and Museum, Past Present Projects, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, and Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation.
You can start the festivities right away on Nov. 1 with the Ritual of Tea with Dye Workshop at Fabric Workshop and Museum, and then with First Fridays in Old City (Nov. 4) at The Center for Art in Wood with ‘Vessel: Embodiment, Autonomy, and Ornament in Wood.’
Later in the month of November, Philadelphians can also check out Collector’s Night with InLiquid Gallery to celebrate contemporary art, design, and craft, or head to the Commonweal Gallery Artist Workshops and Tours (taking place on Nov. 5, 13 and 19.)
The festivities will ultimately end with a traditional celebration at the Wayne Art Center’s Craft Forms with ‘An International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Craft.’ As the release finishes, this exhibition is set to return in December 2022 and will be juried by Jeannine Falino, an independent curator and museum consultant working at the intersection of craft, design and American culture. More information can be found on craftforms.org
In total, CraftNOW looks for ways to introduce Philadelphians and beyond to the creative world of craft. The organization was founded by a consortium of individuals, galleries, museums, universities, retailers, and civic organizations. And since the event’s inception in 2015, CraftNOW began its mission to showcase the city’s community and create opportunities for the public to engage directly with the handmade.
For more information on CraftNOW, and for a full list of activities happening throughout the month of November and beyond, visit craftnowphila.org.