Educational Seminars

For as long as there have been pegged joints and matte green glazes, there have been educational seminars designed for Arts and Crafts collectors. Early Arts and Crafts societies in cities such as Boston, Chicago, and New York gathered to hear speakers reveal the evils of the Industrial Revolution and applaud the virtues of the simple life, one lived among handcrafted furnishings which William Morris described as those “you know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.”

Following in that tradition, the National Arts and Crafts Conference was founded in 1988 as a three-day educational event for Arts and Crafts collectors. It was built on a foundation of seminars presented by researchers, authors, craftsmen, and scholars.

The chosen speakers for the 35th National Arts and Crafts Conference in February 2022 are as follows:

Friday, February 18th

Opening night

8:00pm – 8:15pm

Opening Remarks

by Bruce Johnson

Director, The National Arts and Crafts Conference & Shows

The director for the National Arts and Crafts Conference since the shows’ beginning in 1988, Bruce Johnson will provide the opening remarks to welcome everyone back to the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn.

Seminar #1

8:15pm – 9:00pm

“From Victoria to Bauhaus: The Evolution of Arts & Crafts Design”

by Andre Chaves

Andre has been an Arts and Crafts and book collector for a long time but it was the book collecting that led him into printing more than 20 years ago. Since at that time he was living in the Duncan Irwin house designed by Greene and Greene he chose the name Clinker Press since the presses were housed in the clinker brick garage. .Over the years he has printed a number of books on the Arts and Crafts Movement by both period and contemporary authors. He has an interest in the esthetic as well as in the history of printing and remains a one man shop to this day.

Seminar #2  

9:00pm – 9:50pm

“The Tragic Life of Juanita Gonzales: Newcomb Pottery Visionary”

by Tom Folk

The author of The Pennsylvania Impressionists and Waylande Gregory: Art Deco Ceramics and the Atomic Impulse, Dr. Tom Folk is a certified appraiser in American painting and sculpture, American ceramics, 20th Century Furniture and Design among several fields, a member of the American Art Pottery Association and the American Ceramic Circle. With a Masters in Art History from Rutgers University and a Doctorate in Art History from CUNY, Folk has additionally written articles for several catalogs and exhibitions, given many lectures on ceramic artists, and facilitated exhibitions on his research on Waylande Gregory. Most recently, Folk has been researching Newcombe College artist Juanita Gonzales and will present her story at the 35th National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn.

Saturday, February 19th, 2021

Morning conference seminars

Seminar #3 

9:00am – 10:00am

“Working in the Shadows: The Surprising Life of Albert Stickley”

by Jill Thomas-Clark

Jill Thomas-Clark earned a BFA at the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree in Roman Art History at the University of Chicago. She and her husband, Michael Clark, specialized in researching unrecognized Arts & Crafts firms, especially in those in central New York.  Their investigations led to numerous lectures, articles, books and a museum exhibition. A researcher, writer, and collector, Jill is currently on the Board of Trustees at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in Morris Plains, New Jersey.  Her recent research projects include Pairpoint Limoges porcelain, and wooden Arts & Crafts lamps.

Seminar #4

10:00am – 11:00am

“The Dignity of Labor: African-American Connections to the Arts & Crafts Movement”

by Elaine Pinson

Elaine has a master’s degree in the History of Decorative Arts, a joint program The Smithsonian Associates and the Corcoran School of Arts & Design at The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College with a major in economics. Elaine is a member of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, which supports the mission of the Smithsonian Institution through grantmaking.

Sunday, February 20th, 2021

Morning conference seminars

Seminar #5    

9:00am – 10:00am

“When Art and Craft Meet Technology: Rookwood in the 1920s”

by Riley Humler

Riley Humler has been a dealer and collector of American and European Art Pottery for more than 40 years. He was gallery director of Cincinnati Art Galleries, LLC and coordinated the art pottery and art glass auctions there and at Humler & Nolan for 30 years. He is now director of ceramics at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers in Chicago. He has also been an appraiser on “Antiques Roadshow” for 21 years and lectures on a regular basis about his life-long relationship with American Art Pottery, particularly Rookwood.

Seminar #6     

10:00am – 11:00am

“Notorious Women Photographers of the Arts & Crafts Movement”

by Susan Ehrens

With a focus on pioneering “notorious” women photographers of the West, Ehrens has lectured extensively on the shared aesthetics of the American Arts & Crafts Movement and Pictorialist photography. An independent scholar, curator and author based in the San Francisco Bay Area, for over four decades she has specialized in the history of photography with a singular focus on women artists of California and the West as important pioneers of the art of photography. She is the author of Alma Lavenson: Photographs (1990), A Poetic Vision: The Photographs of Anne Brigman (1995), and The Errand of the Eye: Photographs of Rose Mandel (2013).

If you’d like to attend these seminars plus the small group discussion groups, free tours, etc., you can register for a Conference Events Pass OR reserve an Arts and Crafts Weekend Package where you can stay at the Grove Park Inn!