- Top to bottom are Faith Ringgold, Tanya Aguiniga,
Randall Darwall, and Clary Illian
Why do artists create? That’s the question the Peabody Award-winning documentary series Craft in America continues to probe. Now in its fourth season, the series continues its exploration with two new episodes: Threads and Crossroads. (Check local PBS stations for viewing times.)
Threads examines how four artists use fiber to create their diverse works. Faith Ringgold uses paintings and mosaic tiles to tell stories in her work. Randall Darwall, a weaver, uses dyes and yarns for his “kinetic sculpture.” Terese Agnew uses densely embroidered quilts to “draw with thread.” Consuelo Jimenez Underwood uses unconventional materials, including barbed wire and safety pins, as well as painting, sewing and applique to document her Mexican-American heritage.
Crossroads, the ninth and newest episode, explores places where change and innovation meet global influences to impact handmade tradition. Tanya Aguiniga makes furniture, jewelry and accessories that combine recognizable shapes and unconventional materials. Lia Cook merges jacquard weaving with modern brain-mapping techniques to create expressive, emotional portraits. And in Minnesota’s St. Croix Valley, a group of potters uses traditional Japanese Mingei elements in their work to achieve simplicity with modern functionality.
Far from being a simple overview of each artist’s work, the two episodes attempt to answer the questions: How did they think of that? And how do they do that?