"Craft and Community" explores the relationships between craft-workers, communities and traditions. Case studies are drawn from rural and urban settings throughout Pennsylvania, representing a range of occupational, ethnic and religious traditions: gravestone carvers, an Iroquois beadworker, Afro-Caribbean, Puerto Rican and Croatian musical instrument makers, suburban quilters, a rural blacksmith, rustic furniture makers, Amish buggy makers, Ukrainian egg writers, Hmong needleworkers and Pennsylvania German hex sign painters and potters. The contributors to this volume apply an ethnographic approach to the study of contemporary material culture. The opening essay questions the popular notions of folk art, showing how these shape the collection and presentation of certain types of objects. In contrast to a "folk art" model, an ethnographic approach seeks to understand material objects in the social context of the lives of the craftsworkers and their customers. Emphasizing native definitions for "art" or "craft" based on the shared values and forms of particular cultural traditions, the ethnographic approach considers questions of cultural meaning, significance and aesthetics.
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press