Silhouettes By Hand's Lauren Muney has been named to the Early American Life Magazine's Directory of Traditional Crafts for both 2013 and 2014. The Directory of Traditional American Crafts is an honor bestowed on a handful of artisans who work in traditional media, styles, and crafts. The Directory presents a selection of the best historically informed handwork in America today.
A jury of museum curators, university professors, antiques dealers and collectors screens each entrant's work. The work is reviewed and rated by experts working in the area of a particular craft, and the cumulative judgment of each of these jurors leads to the selection of a particular artist's work to be included in the Directory.
The Directory of Traditional American Crafts is a special listing that appears in the August issues of Early American Life, a national magazine focusing on architecture, decorative arts, period style, and social history from colonial times through the mid-19th Century.
The Directory has been used for nearly three decades by curators at living history museums, owners of traditional homes, and motion picture producers to find artisans to make period-appropriate furnishings and accessories for displays, collections, and use.
The experts—curators from such prestigious institutions as the National Trust, Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winterthur, Historic Deerfield, Old Sturbridge Village, Hancock Shaker Village, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, and the Frontier Culture Museum as well as antiques dealers, independent scholars, and professional instructors—selected the top craftspeople working with traditional tools and techniques for the magazine’s 28th annual Directory.
The work is judged anonymously, and jurors rate the work in the Directory at the Master level or higher. “The judges look for authentic design and workmanship, whether the piece is a faithful reproduction or the artisan’s interpretation of period style,” said Tess Rosch, publisher of Early American Life. “Scholarship, as well as use of period tools and techniques, is particularly valued in this competition.”
One goal of the Directory is to help preserve traditional handcrafts, part of our culture that is rapidly being lost in the digital age. Many of these skills were passed down from master to apprentice for hundreds of years, but now few new people choose to learn and master them. “If our traditional arts are lost, we have forgotten a part of who we are as Americans,” Rosch said.
The August issue of Early American Life, on newsstands in mid-June, lists all of the artisans selected for the Directory as well as contact information for those wanting to own their work. The Directory layout features lush color photos of many of these artworks photographed at ppopular museum complexes around the United States. A framed Silhouettes By Hand silhouette was photographed for the 2014 Directory, photographed at Old Sturbridge Village museum.
“The Directory is a source for collectors and historic museums eager to own fine, handcrafted, period-accurate objects and also a means of supporting those who perpetuate the art forms that are such an important part of our nation’s heritage,” Rosch said. To learn more about Early American Life, for subscription information, or to purchase a copy, visit www.EarlyAmericanLife.com.