Newsmakers in the World of Craft

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Leon Niehues, and Kurt Weiser
USA Fellowship recipients (from left) include Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Leon Niehues and Kurt Weiser.

Three well-known craft artists are among those chosen to receive one of 50 USA Fellowships from United States Artists (USA), the national grant-making and advocacy organization. Artists are awarded unrestricted grants of $50,000 each. In the category of Crafts and Traditional Arts, winners include: Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, of Stone Ridge, N.Y.; Leon Niehues, of Huntsville, Ark.; and Kurt Weiser, of Tempe, Ariz..

Mimlitsch-Gray creates jewelry and tableware in traditional metals such as copper and silver, but she changes familiar forms so they serve as social commentaries. Weiser, a ceramic artist, works in painted porcelain, using color and incorporating narrative scenes. Niehues is a basketmaker who works in the traditional Ozark splint knife method.

Other fellows in the category are glass artist Sibylle Peretti, of New Orleans, La.; Tlingit/Aleut multi-media artist Nicholas Galanin, of Sitka, Alaska; and textile artist Rowland Ricketts, of Bloomington, Ind..

After months of searching for a new home, San Francisco’s Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts has announced it will be moving across Market Street to the ninth floor in the historic Humboldt Bank Building. For 34 years, the school, under the direction of Alan Revere, had occupied space in the Phelan Building, constructed in 1908 with jewelers in mind. That building was acquired by the New York-based Thor Equities, which has been clearing and renovating the space—some tenants and former tenants say ruthlessly clearing—for larger businesses.

Revere doesn’t have a schedule yet for classes in the new space, but hoped to begin with a fabrication class sometime in April or May.

Mary Giles
Masters of the Medium award winner Mary Giles. CREDIT: JAMES HARRIS

The James Renwick Alliance, a national nonprofit arts organization that assists the Smithsonian America Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, presented Master of the Medium awards to five distinguished craft artists during its annual Spring Craft Weekend earlier this month in Washington, D.C. “Celebrating the Stars of Today and Tomorrow” was the theme, and awards went to Adrian Saxe, Los Angeles, ceramics; Mary Giles, Stillwater, Minn., fiber; Paul Stankard, Mantua, N.J., glass; Bruce Metcalf, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., metal; and William Hunter, Palos Verdes, Calif., wood.

The Hawai’i Wood Guild has named seven winners from its recent exhibit at the Isaacs Art Center in Waimea, on the island of Hawai’i: Best of Show, Tai Lake for “Entry Chair”; 1st Place-Joinery, Timothy Allan Shafto, Tiffany DeEtte Shafto, Joshua Johansen for “Harmony Table”; 1st Place-Sculpture, John Mydock and Elmer Adams for “Oasis”; 1st Place-Woodturning, Michael Patrick Smith for “Dream Keeper”; Honorable Mention-Joinery, Marcus Castaing for “Dream Keeper”; Honorable Mention-Sculpture, Cliff Johns for “Holo Hula”; and Honorable Mention-Woodturning, Scott Hare for “Hawaiian Hooker.” “Harmony Table” also won the Artists’ Choice award.

The Craft Organization Development Association (CODA), which issued reports of the economic impact of craft artists who sell what they make, announced that as of Dec. 31, 2012, it had suspended day-to-day operations. CODA said changing times and new ways to communicate have made information sharing easier, and over time there were too few attendees at its annual CODA Leadership Conference to sustain operations and allow the organization to continue.