Craft in America

S1 E1 | FULL EPISODE

MEMORY episode

Take a tour through craft's history in America beginning with the pioneers of the field to the intimate stories of some of our country's most prominent craft artists. Memory observes how past is prologue, and looks to the dynamic of cultural history and personal heritage in creating objects. Featured artists include Sam Maloof, Garry Knox Bennett, Mary Jackson, Tom Joyce, and Pat Courtney Gold.

AIRED: September 17, 2009 | 0:53:27
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

NARRATOR: COMING UP ON "CRAFT IN AMERICA"...

MAN: IT REALLY STARTED WHEN I GOT OUT OF THE ARMY.

I DIDN'’T WANT TO BE EVER REGIMENTED AGAIN.

MAN 2: I STARTED MAKING FURNITURE A LONG TIME AGO,

BUT IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME THAT, YOU KNOW,

I DIDN'’T THINK ANYBODY DID THIS.

MAN 3: THERE IS A LINEAGE THAT GOES BACK CENTURIES

AND MILLENNIA, IN FACT.

WOMAN: MY ANCESTORS KEPT THIS TRADITION WITH THEM

BECAUSE THEY WANTED THE FUTURE GENERATION TO HAVE

THESE BASKETS AS EVIDENCE OF WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

WOMEN SINGERS: ♪ '’TIS A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE ♪

♪ '’TIS A GIFT TO BE FREE ♪

♪ '’TIS A GIFT TO COME DOWN WHERE YOU OUGHT TO BE ♪

♪ AND WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELVES IN THE PLACE JUST RIGHT ♪

♪ '’TWILL BE IN THE VALLEY OF LOVE AND DELIGHT ♪

CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY CRAFT IN AMERICA, INC.

NARRATOR: GLASS, CLAY,

WOOD, FIBER, METAL.

HUMAN HANDS TRANSFORM HUMBLE MATERIALS INTO WORKS

OF FUNCTION AND BEAUTY,

CREATING OBJECTS THAT HOLD THE MEMORY

OF WHO WE ARE AS PEOPLE.

HOW ARE THE TRADITIONS OF CRAFT KEPT VITAL

BY TODAY'’S FINEST ARTISTS?

AND HOW HAS THE LEGACY OF CRAFT BEEN RE-IMAGINED

AS A MODERN ART FORM?

MAN: I JUST DO THIS BY EYE.

[SAW POWERING UP]

I DON'’T CALL MYSELF A CRAFTSMAN. I CALL MYSELF A WOODWORKER.

I LIKE THE WARMTH OF THE WOOD.

LET'’S GET A CLAMP AND, UH, PUT ONE TOGETHER.

I'’VE BEEN DOING THIS NOW FOR 60 YEARS,

AND I STILL CAN'’T BELIEVE THAT...

I'’VE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE A LIVING AND...BE SUCCESSFUL.

[FEMALE SINGER VOCALIZING]

WOMAN, VOICE-OVER: THIS ART FORM, OR THIS BASKETRY,

IT WAS BROUGHT FROM WEST AFRICA

WITH MY ANCESTORS, WHO WERE BROUGHT AS SLAVES.

AND I HAVE JUST A REAL STRONG FEELING

ABOUT MAKING EVERY STITCH.

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME,

AND HER MOTHER TAUGHT HER, AND I TAUGHT MY CHILDREN.

WOMAN: I STARTED OUT DOING JUST TRADITIONAL DESIGNS,

BUT AS I DO DESIGNS, UM,

MY MIND WORKS FASTER THAN MY HANDS,

AND THEN I HAD MY OWN INTERPRETATIONS,

SO I ENJOY DOING BOTH CONTEMPORARY--

BUT I STILL WANT TO KEEP TO--TO THE TRADITIONS.

MAN: PEOPLE ASK ME, "WHY DO YOU DO THIS STUFF?"

AND THE ONLY ANSWER I HAVE IS I WANT TO SEE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

I CAN PUT IT IN MY HEAD,

BUT I GET A KICK OUT OF SEEING WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE ON THE FLOOR.

OH, THIS IS SCARY STUFF.

THIS GOLD LEAF-- IT'’S SO DAMN FRAGILE.

VOICE-OVER: THE TRADITION OF FURNITURE-MAKING,

I'’M SURE I'’M IN IT BECAUSE I'’M DOING IT.

I KNOW I'’M OUTSIDE THE TRADITION OF SAM MALOOF AND THAT,

BUT I'’M STILL A FURNITURE MAKER,

AND WE'’RE...BROTHERS IN, YOU KNOW,

BROTHERS IN ARMS OR BONDS OR SAWS.

MAN: THERE ARE TIMES WHILE I'’M WORKING IN THE FORGE

WHERE I FEEL THAT I'’M PART OF A CONTINUUM...

AND IN THOSE MOMENTS, I FEEL A DEFINITE CONNECTION

WITH ALL THE ELDER SMITHS WHO'’VE GONE BEFORE ME.

ACKNOWLEDGING THAT INHERITED HISTORY IS

A KEY ELEMENT IN PRODUCING NEW WORK

THAT ALSO HAS THIS AFFINITY WITH THE PAST

WHILE IT'’S FINDING A NEW USE OR A NEW PURPOSE IN MY TIME.

NARRATOR: FOR CENTURIES, EVERY TOOL,

EVERY VESSEL, EVERY OBJECT WAS MADE BY HAND.

THEN, IN THE LATE 18th CENTURY, ALL THAT CHANGED.

THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION USHERED IN

A NEW AGE OF PRODUCTION.

MANUAL LABOR BEGAN TO BE REPLACED BY MACHINERY,

AND THE WORLD WAS FOREVER ALTERED.

MAN: THE MECHANICAL WORLD OFFERED ONE SERIES

OF OPPORTUNITIES.

ON THE PART OF SOME PEOPLE, THERE WAS A SENSITIVITY

TO THE WAY IN WHICH THE MACHINE WAS AFFECTING PEOPLE'’S LIVES,

WAS DISCIPLINING PEOPLE'’S LIVES,

WAS NARROWING LIFE EXPERIENCE.

[FACTORY WHISTLE BLOWS]

NARRATOR: IN ENGLAND, A NEW PHILOSOPHY WAS BORN

AS A REACTION TO AN INCREASINGLY INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD.

THE ARTS-AND-CRAFTS MOVEMENT REJECTED THE NOTION

THAT MASS-PRODUCED, MACHINE-MADE OBJECTS

WERE NECESSARILY BETTER FOR EITHER THE CONSUMER

OR THE DESIGNER.

IT ADVOCATED A RETURN

TO WELL-MADE, HAND-CRAFTED OBJECTS

AND A RECONNECTION TO BOTH THE ARTISTIC PROCESS

AND THE NATURAL WORLD.

TEXTILE DESIGNER WILLIAM MORRIS

WAS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THIS MOVEMENT.

HE BELIEVED IN THE NOBILITY OF CRAFTSMANSHIP,

THAT ARTISTRY AND HUMANITY DID HAVE A PLACE

IN THE CREATION OF EVERYDAY OBJECTS.

KNODEL, VOICEOVER: MORRIS FELT THE DECORATIVE NATURE

OF THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH WE LIVE IS EXPRESSIVE,

IT IS IMPORTANT, IT MUST BE CONSIDERED,

AND THEREFORE PLANTED A SEED

WHICH BEGAN TO PERCOLATE OUT

FROM ENGLAND, THROUGHOUT EUROPE,

AND EVENTUALLY TO THE UNITED STATES,

WHERE THEY HAD PROFOUND IMPACT ON MANY, MANY PEOPLE

AND INSPIRED REACTION THAT IS STILL IN MOTION TODAY.

MALOOF: I WANT A CHAIR TO BE VERY BEAUTIFUL,

I WANT A CHAIR THAT IS GOOD TO THE EYE,

AND I WANT A CHAIR, ABOVE ALL, THAT IS COMFORTABLE.

A CHAIR SHOULD INVITE YOU TO SIT.

IT HAS TO GIVE YOU GOOD BACK SUPPORT.

I'’VE HAD PEOPLE SAY THAT MY FURNITURE IS ART,

THAT IT'’S SCULPTURE, IT'’S THIS AND THAT,

BUT I REALLY DON'’T CARE WHAT THEY CALL IT,

AS LONG AS I'’M HAPPY WITH WHAT IT IS.

THIS IS LARRY WHITE,

AND, UH, LARRY WAS, UH, MY VERY FIRST EMPLOYEE.

BUT THIS OLD CHAIR, THIS IS BEAUTIFUL FIDDLEBACK.

WHEN HE OILS IT, IT IS GOING TO BE JUST KNOCKOUT.

MALOOF: I LIKE TO WORK IN WOOD. IT'’S A VERY SENSUOUS MATERIAL.

I LOVE THE COLOR OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF WOODS

THAT I USE.

THIS IS A CHAIR THAT WE MADE SOME YEARS AGO.

SOMEBODY BOUGHT IT AT AUCTION

AND BROUGHT IT BACK TO ME TO BE OILED.

EACH OF THE BOYS, UH-- WELL, WE ALL HAVE OUR HANDS

ON EVERYTHING THAT GOES OUT OF HERE.

I HAVE FOUND THAT MY FURNITURE HAS WITHSTOOD THE TEST OF TIME.

THESE ARE CHAIRS.

UH, WE JUST FINISHED A HUGE DINING TABLE,

AND THESE ARE THE DINING CHAIRS THAT GO WITH IT.

THESE ARE CHAIR SEATS THAT I'’M GOING TO PUT, UH, LEGS ON.

WE DO EVERYTHING TO ORDER.

IT ISN'’T A PRODUCTION SHOP, DON'’T HAVE PARTS ALL OVER

THE PLACE THAT WE'’RE WAITING TO PUT TOGETHER.

WHEN YOU'’RE WORKING,

THERE'’S A COMMUNION BETWEEN THE OBJECT MAKER

AND THE MATERIAL THAT HE OR SHE'’S WORKING WITH.

AND THEN IT TRANSCENDS INTO SOMETHING MUCH GREATER

WHEN YOU MAKE SOMETHING AND SOMEONE LIKES IT,

ENJOYS IT AND ALL, YOU'’RE PAID TENFOLD.

YEAH, THAT'’S GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT.

THERE IT IS.

GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS.

I GUESS I SHOULD...

GO AND LIE DOWN ONCE IN A WHILE, BUT I DON'’T.

[CHUCKLES]

I LOVE WHAT I DO.

I'’M 90 AND I CAN STILL WORK.

HA HA!

[SANDER WHIRRING]

IT REALLY STARTED WHEN I GOT OUT OF THE ARMY.

I DIDN'’T WANT TO WORK FOR ANYONE.

I DIDN'’T WANT TO BE EVER REGIMENTED AGAIN.

SO I WENT RIGHT TO WORK AT WHAT I REALLY LIKE,

THE GRAPHIC ARTS, SCRIPPS COLLEGE,

GRADUATE SCHOOL.

I WAS AT THE SCHOOL ONE DAY IN THE, UH, COURTYARD.

AND, UH, I SAW THIS GIRL CLEAR ACROSS, AND I LOOKED AT HER

AND I THOUGHT, "THAT'’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL

I'’VE EVER, EVER SEEN."

SHE WALKED ALL ACROSS THE COURTYARD TO ME AND SAID,

"PARDON, BUT COULD YOU TELL ME WHERE THE OFFICE IS?"

I SAID, "I'’LL NOT ONLY TELL YOU, I'’LL TAKE YOU."

AND, UH, I'’D GO BACK ABOUT TWICE A WEEK, NEVER SAW HER,

AND COME SEPTEMBER, I WAS AT THE SAME SPOT,

SHE ENTERED AT THE SAME SPOT AND LOOKED UP,

AND WALKED OVER TO ME AND SAID, "HELLO, SAMMY,"

AND 3 MONTHS LATER, WE WERE MARRIED.

FREDA WAS THE HEART AND SOUL OF WHAT I DO.

WHEN I MARRIED FREDA, I THINK WE DIDN'’T HAVE ANY FURNITURE AT ALL

IN THE HOUSE, SO I MADE FURNITURE FOR HER.

I MADE IT OUT OF DUNNAGE, UH,

THAT I FOUND ALONG THE RAILROAD TRACK.

AND A MAGAZINE HEARD ABOUT IT, SENT A PHOTOGRAPHER OUT,

AND I WAS PUBLISHED IN A NATIONAL MAGAZINE.

AND PEOPLE STARTED WRITING TO ME,

SO ON THE STRENGTH OF THAT, I QUIT MY JOB

AND STARTED MAKING FURNITURE.

SHE BECAME MY PARTNER IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.

SHE WAS SORT OF MY PROTECTOR.

IF IT HADN'’T BEEN FOR HER, I THINK I WOULD HAVE QUIT

A LONG TIME AGO, BUT SHE SAID, "WE CAN DO IT, WE CAN DO IT,"

AND, UH, SO WE DID IT TOGETHER.

WELL, THIS IS THE FIRST CHAIR I EVER MADE,

AND I--I LIKED IT, I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY SIMPLE AND ALL

AND, UH, I'’D GOTTEN TO... A LITTLE BIT KNOWN.

AND, UH, I, UH, ENTERED THIS CHAIR IN THE SHOW,

THE, UH, LOS ANGELES ART MUSEUM, AND IT WAS REJECTED.

AND, UH, I GOT A SLIP.

UH, I--I CAN ALWAYS REMEMBER FREDA AT THE SINK WASHING DISHES

AND SHE SAID, "ANY GOOD MAIL?" AND I SAID, "NO, LOOK AT THIS."

AND SHE READ IT, AND IT WAS A REJECTION SLIP.

AND I THOUGHT SHE'’D THROW HER ARMS AROUND ME AND TELL ME

THAT THEY DIDN'’T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE DOING,

AND SHE CALMLY PUT IT DOWN, TURNED AWAY,

KEPT WASHING DISHES, AND SAID, "SAM,

REJECTION IS GOOD FOR THE EGO."

AND I NEVER FORGOT IT. I NEVER, EVER FORGOT THAT.

I DIDN'’T KNOW ANYTHING

ABOUT THE CRAFT MOVEMENT AT ALL.

UH, I JUST STARTED WORKING AND, UH, THEN ONE DAY,

I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM THE CRAFT COUNCIL

AND INVITED ME TO SHOW A PIECE.

THE FIRST CONFERENCE THAT WE HAD WAS AT ASILOMAR.

THERE WERE A LOT OF CRAFTSMEN LIKE BOB STOCKSDALE

AND ART CARPENTER AND WHARTON ESHERICK,

WALKER WEED AND ALL.

AND THERE WERE ABOUT 4 OF US ON THE PANEL AND, UM,

THEY WERE CHALLENGING US, I KNOW THEY WERE, AND THEY SAID,

"MAKING A PIECE OF FURNITURE TAKES WEEKS, MONTHS TO MAKE,

"WHERE YOU DESIGN IT AND A FACTORY CAN TURN THEM OUT

BY THE DOZENS," AND THAT TYPE OF TALK OR, UM,

UH, "WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE A LIVING

AT WHAT YOU'’RE DOING?"

WELL, YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE KIND OF HARD QUESTIONS, '’CAUSE YOU

DON'’T KNOW IF YOU'’RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A LIVING.

ALL OF US IN THE PANEL JUST SAT THERE LIKE DUMMIES AND, UH,

I FINALLY SPOKE UP AND I SAID, "YOU KNOW, AS FOR ME,

"IF CHARLES EAMES WANTS TO DESIGN PLASTIC BOWLS TO SELL

"BY THE THOUSANDS, I THINK IT'’S HIS PRIVILEGE.

"BUT AS FOR ME, I'’D RATHER WORK THE WAY I'’M WORKING.

"UH, I CAN'’T PRODUCE VERY MUCH, BUT I GET THE PLEASURE

"OF MAKING THE PIECE, I GET THE PLEASURE OF MEETING THE PEOPLE,"

UH, AND I SAID, "I'’M GOING TO CONTINUE THAT WAY."

WELL, AFTER IT WAS OVER, WELL, WHARTON ESHERICK,

WHO WAS A REAL...UH, YOU KNOW,

DOGMATIC KIND OF A GUY, HE SAID,

"YOUNG MAN, COME HERE."

AND I WENT OVER TO HIM AND I THOUGHT, "OH, HELL,

HE'’S GOING TO BAWL ME OUT ABOUT SOMETHING."

AND HE SAID, "I HEARD WHAT YOU SAID,

AND DON'’T YOU EVER CHANGE,"

AND I HAVEN'’T.

I'’VE FOLLOWED WHAT I WANTED TO DO.

I DIDN'’T LET WHAT WAS POPULAR GUIDE ME.

[DISTANT BIRDS CHIRPING]

[WOMAN VOCALIZING]

JACKSON: THE MATERIAL I'’M USING IS PALMETTO.

I USE A SPECIFIC SABLE PALMETTO

THAT'’S NATIVE TO THE AREA WHERE I LIVE HERE.

IT PRODUCES VERY STRONG FRONDS,

SO I'’M ABLE TO PULL VERY TIGHT,

SEWING THE GRASSES, WHICH IS SWEETGRASS.

THIS IS A GRASS THAT WE FIND

NATIVE TO THIS AREA THAT HAS BEEN USED

FOR MAKING THESE BASKETS FOR OVER 300 YEARS.

SEE, WE'’RE ADDING NEW GRASS

WHEN YOU PUT THE NEW SWEETGRASS RIGHT HERE.

THIS ART FORM OF BASKETRY ORIGINATED FROM WEST AFRICA,

THE SENEGALESE AREA AND SENEGAMBIA,

SOME PARTS OF THE IVORY COAST.

MY ANCESTORS WHO WAS BROUGHT FROM AFRICA AS SLAVES

FOUND THESE GRASSES RESEMBLED WHAT THEY USED IN AFRICA.

SO SOON, I'’LL BE READY TO START ADDING BULRUSH.

GIRL: SO YOU START OUT WITH BULRUSH OR PINE NEEDLES?

JACKSON: SEE, THIS IS PINE NEEDLES,

AND THEN THIS IS SWEETGRASS, RIGHT?

GIRL: MM-HMM.

JACKSON: BUT I HAVE THE PINE NEEDLES THAT STARTED

RIGHT THERE.

ACTUALLY, YOUR MOM DID THIS SECTION FOR ME.

GIRL: I THINK I REMEMBER THAT.

JACKSON: YOU THINK YOU REMEMBER THAT?

GIRL: YEAH.

JACKSON: STRONG HANDS, RIGHT?

-MM-HMM. -MM-HMM.

[WOMAN VOCALIZING]

JACKSON: THE SLAVE-OWNERS CAME TO REALIZE

THAT THESE BASKETS WERE VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE MANY

DID NOT HAVE BASKET-MAKERS ON THEIR PLANTATIONS,

AND THEY ALL NEEDED CONTAINERS TO HOLD THE GRAINS

OR USE IN THE RICE FIELD.

AND THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY

THIS ART FORM IS STILL IN PLACE TODAY,

BECAUSE THEY REGARDED MY ANCESTORS

AS THE MORE VALUABLE SLAVES,

SO THEY DIDN'’T SEPARATE THE FAMILY.

THE TECHNIQUE IS STILL VERY MUCH THE SAME.

THIS ART FORM INVOLVED THE TOTAL FAMILY.

MEN TRADITIONALLY HARVEST THE GRASSES

FROM THE MARSHES AND THE SWAMPS,

AND THE WOMEN AND GIRLS MADE BASKETS.

SO FAMILIES WERE ALWAYS TOGETHER,

WORKING IN THIS TRADITION.

[CHAIR CREAKS]

I LEARNED THIS DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS

WHEN SCHOOL WAS CLOSED, GROWING UP.

EVERY SUMMER, I PRACTICED MAKING BASKETS.

IT WAS A WAY OF LIFE FOR MY FAMILY.

AFTER WE HAD GOTTEN THROUGH WITH OUR MORNING CHORES,

WE WOULD ALL ASSEMBLE IN MY GRANDMOTHER'’S FRONT YARD

UNDER BIG TREES, AND WE WOULD SIT AND MAKE BASKETS.

AND I'’M VERY FORTUNATE TO SAY THAT I CAME

FROM A FAMILY THAT MADE BEAUTIFUL BASKETS, SO IT WAS--

IT WAS STIFF COMPETITION WITH EVERYONE.

I NEVER LIKED ANY BIT OF IT BECAUSE IT WAS JUST

TIME-CONSUMING, AND MY FRIENDS IN OTHER COMMUNITIES,

THEY DIDN'’T HAVE TO MAKE THESE BASKETS,

BUT MY PARENTS FELT THAT THEY WANTED US TO LEARN.

SO I LEARNED ALL THE TRADITIONAL DESIGNS,

BASIC TECHNIQUES,

AND THEN I STARTED DESIGNING FORMS

THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE TRADITIONAL ONES;

CONTEMPORARY DESIGNS WITH SWEEPING HANDLES

AND FLAT BASKETS WITH GRASSES FLOWING FROM IT.

AND I WOULD KIND OF KEEP MY DESIGNS SECRET

UNTIL AFTER IT WAS MADE, AND THEN I WOULD SHOW IT--

HEH HEH!--TO EVERYONE, AND THEY WERE JUST AMAZED.

[WOMAN VOCALIZING]

JACKSON: I WENT TO SECRETARIAL SCHOOL IN NEW YORK

AND TRAINED TO BE A SECRETARY,

AND THAT'’S WHAT I DID FOR 10 YEARS.

THEN MY SON, WHO WAS 18 MONTHS OLD, WAS DIAGNOSED

FOR CHRONIC ASTHMA, AND I HAD TO GIVE UP WORKING

TO BE HOME WITH HIM, SO I NEEDED SOMETHING TO SUPPLEMENT

MY FAMILY'’S INCOME,

AND I REMEMBER MY MOTHER TELLING ME WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL,

"ONE DAY YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.

"YOU SHOULD LEARN IT, AND IT'’S GOOD TO LEARN MORE

THAN ONE THING BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW."

AND THEN I THOUGHT, "WELL, I WILL SELL MY BASKETS,"

THAT I HAD MADE A WHOLE COLLECTION

FOR MY PERSONAL USE IN MY HOME.

"I WILL TAKE THEM TO THE CITY MARKET."

I WAS OVERWHELMED WITH THE RESPONSE.

THEY LOVED MY WORK.

THIS WAS SOMETHING NEW THAT I WAS INTRODUCING,

AND THAT WAS KIND OF SCARY; YOU KNOW, WHETHER OR NOT

PEOPLE WOULD SEE THESE AS TOO FAR OUT,

AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF MY CAREER AS A BASKET-MAKER.

[WOMAN VOCALIZING]

JACKSON: AND WITHIN A COUPLE YEARS, I GOT AN INVITATION

TO SHOW MY WORK TO THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION,

AND PEOPLE STARTED COMMISSIONING ME.

I WAS VERY HAPPY ABOUT THAT.

IT'’S A FEELING OF MY ANCESTORS

AND HOW PROUD THEY WOULD BE IF THEY WERE HERE.

[STREAM WATER FLOWING]

[BIRDS CHIRPING]

GOLD: THE INDIAN CULTURE, WHEN WE'’RE BORN,

WE HAVE CEREMONIES FOR THE CHILD.

AND THEN, WHEN THE CHILD TURNS ROUGHLY A YEAR OLD

OR EVEN OLDER, WE GIVE THEM A NAME,

AN ANCESTOR'’S NAME.

AND SO SUDDENLY, WE HAVE THE BIRTH AGAIN OF THE ANCESTOR,

WHO IS GOING TO LIVE THROUGH THIS CHILD, WITH THIS CHILD,

AND GUIDE THIS CHILD.

SO THAT'’S SORT OF OUR CONCEPT OF TIME,

MEANING WE HAVE NO REAL END

AND WE HAVE NO BEGINNING.

EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED LIKE A CIRCLE,

AND SO THIS CONCEPT OF OUR LIFE CYCLE AS A CIRCLE

IS REALLY EMPHASIZED IN OUR BASKETS

BECAUSE OUR BASKETS ARE NOT ONLY CYLINDRICAL,

BUT A LOT OF OUR DESIGNS ARE CONNECTED,

SO YOU DON'’T KNOW WHERE THEY BEGIN AND WHERE THEY END,

SO WE JUST HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO READ THE BASKET.

[DISTANT BIRD SCREECHING]

GOLD: THE MATERIALS I WORK WITH ARE ALWAYS SPECIAL TO ME

BECAUSE I KNOW THERE'’S BEAUTY WITHIN THE PLANT FIBER,

SO WHENEVER I HARVEST ANY KIND OF A PLANT,

I OFFER A PRAYER TO THAT PLANT

BECAUSE THAT PLANT IS OFFERING ITSELF NOT ONLY TO ME,

BUT TO MY BASKET, TO MY CULTURE,

AND TO THE FUTURE GENERATIONS WHO WILL BE SEEING IT.

SO THE BASKETS, TO A WEAVER,

ARE ALMOST LIKE A LIVING ENTITY.

I'’M ENROLLED IN THE WASCO NATION.

THE WASCO PEOPLE LIVED ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER

FOR GENERATIONS AND GENERATIONS,

AND WHEN OUR ANCESTORS LIVED ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER

AND HARVESTED ALL THE SALMON, WE ALWAYS CAUGHT MORE SALMON

THAN WE COULD POSSIBLY EAT FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR.

AND WE WOULD DRY THE SALMON, AND WHEN WE POUNDED IT,

IT WOULD BE A CONCENTRATED PROTEIN.

THIS CONCENTRATED PROTEIN, WE PUT IN BIG BASKETS,

AND THIS WAS A POPULAR TRADE ITEM,

SO THE PEOPLE IN THE MISSOURI RIVER TRADE ROUTE--

THE HIDATSA, MANDAN, THE SIOUX--

THEY ALL KNEW OF THE WASCO PEOPLE

BECAUSE OF THE POUNDED SALMON, AND THEY ALL KNEW

OF THOSE BASKETS.

THIS BASKET WAS PROBABLY MADE

BETWEEN 1850 AND MAYBE 1880.

THESE LONG, LARGE FIGURES REPRESENT OUR ANCESTORS,

AND THIS LITTLE FIGURE HERE IS A PERSON,

AND JUST HOW IMPORTANT OUR ANCESTORS ARE TO THE PERSON.

THESE IMAGES ARE IMAGES OF CONDORS,

AND THESE ARE FOUND ON A LOT OF WASCO BASKETS.

CONDORS USED TO LIVE IN THE COLUMBIA GORGE FOR GENERATIONS,

UP UNTIL ABOUT THE EARLY 1900s, WHEN THEY BECAME EXTINCT.

AND I THINK THEY BECAME EXTINCT BECAUSE PEOPLE JUST SHOT THEM,

WHEN THE EURO-AMERICANS WERE MOVING INTO OUR AREA.

THIS IS A RECENT BASKET I DID ABOUT A YEAR AGO.

THIS IS THE IMAGE OF A CONDOR,

AND NOW WHAT WE NOW SEE ARE AIRPLANES.

I WAS BORN ON THE CONFEDERATED TRIBES

OF WARM SPRINGS RESERVATION IN CENTRAL OREGON.

IT'’S A HIGH-DESERT, SEMI-ARID AREA.

IN THE 1850s,

WHEN A LOT OF AMERICANS WERE MOVING WESTWARD,

THEY WANTED AGRICULTURAL LAND.

THEY WANTED TO BE NEAR RIVERS,

AND THEY LOOKED ON US AS SAVAGES,

AND SO WE WERE FORCED TO SIGN A TREATY,

WHICH, UH, FORCED US FROM OUR TRADITIONAL LAND

ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER.

[WIND GUSTING]

[BIRDS CHIRPING]

I GREW UP NOT KNOWING ANYONE WHO MADE THE BASKETS.

I THOUGHT THAT THAT WHOLE TECHNIQUE HAD DIED OUT,

THAT I WOULD NEVER SEE ANYONE WEAVE A BASKET.

IT JUST NEVER DAWNED ON ME.

NOT ONLY WOULD I NOT SEE SOMEONE WEAVE A BASKET,

BUT IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND

THAT I WOULD EVENTUALLY BECOME A BASKET WEAVER.

I WORKED FOR ROUGHLY 17 YEARS

AS A MATHEMATICIAN,

AND LIKE ALL WOMEN WHO ARE PROFESSIONAL,

WE HIT THE GLASS CEILING, AND I HIT IT HARD.

AND I DECIDED, "I DON'’T WANT TO FIGHT THIS.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IS SOMETHING I ENJOY."

SO I THOUGHT, "I'’M GONNA COMMIT MYSELF

TO REVIVING MY CULTURE THROUGH WEAVING WASCO BASKETS."

WHEN I FIRST LEARNED, I FELT I SHOULD BE TRUE TO MY CULTURE

AND LEARN THE TRADITIONAL DESIGNS,

SO I TOOK THE PAINS TO GRAPH ALL OF THEM

WHILE STUDYING THEM IN MUSEUMS.

THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE OLDEST DESIGNS

BECAUSE IT'’S BASED ON THE WASCO BASKET COLLECTED

BY LEWIS AND CLARK IN 1805,

WHEN THEY CAME DOWN TO OUR AREA ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER.

AND IT'’S VERY, VERY INTRICATE.

THE 1805 BASKET EVENTUALLY WOUND UP AT THE PEABODY MUSEUM,

SO I WENT AND STUDIED IT.

WHEN I WAS IN THE MUSEUM AND I WAS HOLDING THAT BASKET,

IT WAS LITERALLY COMMUNICATING WITH ME THROUGH ITS OWN WAY

WHEN I WAS HOLDING IT, AND IT REALLY TOLD ME ITS OWN STORY.

AND ITS STORY WAS BASED

ON OUR HISTORIC PETROGLYPHS.

THE PETROGLYPHS WERE DONE ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER

FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS,

AND THESE IMAGES WERE REALLY OUR ANCESTORS,

AND THE GEOMETRIC OUTLINE AROUND EACH OF THE FACES

WAS A SYMBOL OF OUR FISHING NETS.

SO HERE WAS, AGAIN,

THIS CIRCLE WITH NO BEGINNING AND NO END,

WHICH CONNECTED NOT ONLY MYSELF

TO MY ANCESTORS, BUT CONNECTED ME TO THE COLUMBIA RIVER.

WHEN I CAME HOME FROM THE MUSEUM,

I WANTED TO DO MY OWN INTERPRETATIONS OF THE BASKET,

SO JUST AS EXAMPLES, UM, THE TRADITIONAL FACE

ON THE 1805 BASKET WAS LIKE THIS IMAGE,

AND THE IMAGES WERE ORIENTED IN THIS DIRECTION,

BUT THERE'’S ALWAYS SOMEBODY IN THE CROWD

THAT'’S A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT, SO I HAD TO PUT ONE

THAT WAS FACING IN THE DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

AND I PUT ONE IN THAT'’S WHISTLING,

AND HERE IS A FACE GOING-- [KISS]--THROWING YOU A KISS.

AND THEN FINALLY, I HAD TO HAVE ONE THAT WAS SMILING,

SO THIS IS THE SMILING FACE.

SO I THINK BASKETS DO NOT ONLY TELL THEIR OWN STORIES,

BUT THEY HAVE THEIR OWN UNIQUE LIFE.

BENNETT: ALUMINUM...

COLORCORE.

I LOVE THIS STUFF.

I STARTED MAKING FURNITURE A LONG TIME AGO,

BUT IT--IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME THAT--REALLY, IN A WAY--

THAT PEOPLE MAKE FURNITURE.

YOU KNOW, I DIDN'’T THINK ANYBODY DID THIS.

I'’VE CHOSEN TO WORK WITH COLOR BECAUSE I WANT TO TRY

TO DO SOMETHING THAT REALLY PUSHES--

YOU KNOW, REALLY PUSHES ME.

I WANT TO USE THE FOIL OF THAT LATE-19th-CENTURY CAFE CHAIR

AGAINST SOMETHING ACTUALLY VERY MODERN--

MODERN COLOR, MODERN MATERIALS-- SO I DIDN'’T WANT A WOOD TOP,

AND ALUMINUM IS SO STABLE AND SO STRONG,

AND I CAN MOUNT THESE BOLTS UNDER HERE.

HEY, ALISON, YOU WANT TO GIVE ME A HAND?

MAKE SURE THOSE POP IN THE HOLE BACK THERE.

LOOK AT THAT. IT FITS.

SO THAT'’S IT. THAT'’S GONNA BE--

THIS IS A HALL TABLE AND CHAIR.

HA HA! HA!

I LIKE TO USE GREEN BECAUSE IT'’S SO HARD TO WORK WITH.

I LIKE THAT CHALLENGE, SO MAKING A GREEN CHAIR

IS TOUGH, BUT IF YOU INCORPORATE A LOT OF GOLD, YOU'’RE SAFE.

WHEN I MADE THIS, I WASN'’T A CHAIR MAKER,

AND I PUT KIND OF MY HALLMARK-- YOU KNOW, THIS LINE.

I SEE PEOPLE MAKE SOMETHING ALL RECTILINEAR--

THEY CAN BE VERY NICE-- AND I SEE PEOPLE MAKE THINGS

WITH CURVES, AND THEY ARE ALL CURVES,

AND THEY GET KIND OF BORING, SO YOU NEED TO--YOU NEED A FOIL,

YOU KNOW, SO I TRY TO DO THAT.

I WENT TO ART SCHOOL, AND I START OUT AS A PAINTER,

BUT I IMMEDIATELY FOUND A SCULPTURE STUDIO.

I MEAN, THAT'’S-- I SPENT ALL MY TIME THERE,

AND I REALLY--UH, I LIKE 3-DIMENSIONAL WORK.

ARTS AND CRAFTS WAS ABSOLUTE FREEDOM FOR ME.

I FOUND MYSELF IN A CLASS.

I HAD A CAMEL CIGARETTE IN ONE HAND,

PIECE OF CHARCOAL IN THE OTHER,

AND A BEER ON THE TABLE NEXT TO ME,

AND A NAKED WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME.

WHAT THE HELL?

I'’M GONNA BE AN ARTIST.

YOU NOTICE I'’M MEASURING THIS VERY CAREFULLY.

SYLVIA BENNETT, VOICE-OVER: I KNEW HIM IN HIGH SCHOOL.

WE DIDN'’T DATE IN HIGH SCHOOL OR ANYTHING.

WE GOT TOGETHER AFTER HIGH SCHOOL,

AND THEN, UH, WE LOST CONTACT,

AND THEN I JUST LOOKED HIM UP ONE DAY.

HE WAS JUST INTERESTING,

REALLY VERY COMFORTABLE TO BE AROUND.

GARRY, VOICE-OVER: WHEN SHE KNOCKED AT MY DOOR,

I WAS SITTING THERE LISTENING TO MUSIC,

AND WE HAD A DUTCH DOOR WITH A GLASS WINDOW.

THERE WAS SYLVIA...

ALL RIGHT, SWEETIE.

LET'’S GO OUT AND HAVE A LITTLE LUNCH.

GARRY, VOICE-OVER: AND NOT TOO LONG AFTER, WE WERE MARRIED.

HERE? REALLY?

SIT IN THESE DUMB CHAIRS?

NA ZDOROVIE.

THEN I HAD TO MAKE A LIVING--

I HAD A WIFE AND 3 KIDS--

AND SO I STARTED THAT LITTLE BUSINESS,

SOME AMAZING, FORTUITOUS THINGS--

MEETING MY WIFE

AND MAKING ROACH CLIPS JUST AT THE RIGHT MOMENT.

YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE JUST GET TO BE IN THE RIGHT MOMENT

OF LIFE, YOU KNOW, AND SYLVIA KNOCKED AT MY DOOR ONE DAY,

AND THE FLOWER PEOPLE CAME TO FRISCO.

YOU CAN'’T BELIEVE WHAT THE HAIGHT-ASHBURY WAS.

IT WAS--DAMN, IT WAS REALLY GOOD.

SO I WOULD SPEND A COUPLE WEEKS HAMMERING OUT ROACH CLIPS,

AND THEY'’D BUY THEM FROM ME, MADE MILLIONS OF ROACH CLIPS.

I WAS BIG MAN ON CAMPUS OVER THERE.

I WAS THE ROACH CLIP MOGUL.

GOD, THOSE ARE-- GOD BLESS THE HIPPIES.

OH, THEY LOVED THAT. THEY LOVED ANYTHING UGLY.

MY MOVEMENT INTO CRAFT, I GUESS,

FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD, STARTED WITH THE CLOCKS,

AND THEY WERE SMALL,

AND I DIDN'’T HAVE VERY MANY TOOLS HERE...

WHEN THE HELL DID I MAKE THIS?

HA HA! IT SAYS, "1974. I STILL LOVE HER."

GARRY, VOICE-OVER: AND THEN I THINK I--I SAID,

"WELL, I NEED SOME WOODEN CASES IN THESE CLOCKS,"

SO I GOT A FEW TOOLS, AND IT JUST HAPPENED VERY SLOWLY.

I WAS STARTING TO MAKE FURNITURE,

BUT, JESUS, MAN, I DIDN'’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

I MEAN, I REALLY DIDN'’T.

I MEAN, I JUST SAID, "I THINK I'’LL MAKE FURNITURE."

I MEAN, IT'’S LIKE, "I THINK I'’LL MAKE A ROCKET SHIP," YOU KNOW?

I MEAN, IT'’S-- GOD, YOU HAVE NO SKILLS.

YOU HAVE NO TRAINING. YOU--

YOU KNOW, YOU DON'’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT,

BUT IT WAS LIKE, "THAT'’S A GOOD IDEA.

WATCH THIS," YOU KNOW, WORKED OUT,

SO THAT'’S HOW I GOT INTO FURNITURE.

I LIKE FURNITURE. I CAN THINK FURNITURE.

I CAN SEE FURNITURE, AND I CAN SEE IT UP HERE.

WHAT'’LL MOTIVATE A SERIES

IS, LIKE, SOMETHING I WANT TO DO,

UH, LIKE MAKE BENCHES OR LAMPS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT,

AND THEN EACH ONE FEEDS ON THE NEXT.

I'’M KIND OF A LONER IN A WAY.

I DON'’T SEE MYSELF AS A TRADITIONALIST.

I HOPE I'’M AT--AT TIMES

CARVING A LITTLE BIT OF NEW GROUND.

MEL RAMOS: YOU KNOW, GARRY MADE THIS CABINET SOME YEARS BACK,

REALLY A BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED THING,

REALLY INCREDIBLE SURFACES, AND THEN INSIDE OF IT

WAS THIS BIG NAIL, CROOKED AND BENT NAIL

THAT HE DROVE INTO IT.

GARRY: IT WAS ALMOST--

IT WAS BEYOND MY SKILLS AT THE TIME TO MAKE THAT,

AND THEN AS I GOT FURTHER AND FURTHER INTO THIS THING,

I JUST STARTED GETTING SO PISSED OFF AT IT

BECAUSE IT WAS GETTING SO PRECIOUS,

AND THAT'’S PROBABLY WHEN I DECIDED, UH,

AS ARTHUR DANTO SAID,

HE PUT BEAUTY ON HIS KNEE, AND HE SPANKED HER,

SO THE NAIL HAD TO BE.

IT JUST HAD TO BE.

RAMOS: AND I ASKED HIM, "DID YOU DO THAT

JUST TO PISS PEOPLE OFF? BECAUSE IT SURE WORKS."

THAT'’S HOW I FELT ABOUT IT,

BUT NOW THAT I'’M THINKING ABOUT IT AFTER, YOU KNOW,

YEARS OF HINDSIGHT, I THINK IT WAS A TOUCH OF GENIUS.

UH, HE'’S AN ICONOCLAST.

YOU KNOW, HE LIKES TO PUT PEOPLE TO THE TEST.

IT'’S ALL IN GOOD FUN, OF COURSE, BUT HE LIKES TO DO IT.

GARRY: DRIVING THAT NAIL WAS REALLY BIG DEAL IN MY LIFE.

I MEAN, THAT NAIL CABINET JUST PUT ME ON THE WOODWORKERS MAP.

ABSOLUTELY SICK AND TIRED OF TALKING

ABOUT THE NAIL CABINET, SO, OK?

IS THAT GOOD?

JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: THERE'’S SOMETHING INEXPLICABLE

ABOUT WHY I CHOSE TO BE A BLACKSMITH,

HAVING DECIDED AT 14 TO BEGIN THIS WORK

AND REALIZE THAT THERE IS A LINEAGE THAT GOES BACK,

YOU KNOW, CENTURIES AND MILLENNIA, IN FACT.

IF ONE WERE TO LOOK AT THE MOLECULAR STRUCTURE

OF IRON, ANY BAR ON THE RACK,

YOU WOULD MOST LIKELY FIND FRAGMENTS OF FARM TOOLS

AND WEAPONS IN 1000 A.D.,

IN THE VERY BEGINNINGS OF IRON FORGINGS.

IT'’S ALSO POSSIBLE THAT PART OF MY GRANDFATHER'’S CAR,

YOU KNOW, IS ALSO INSIDE, YOU KNOW, THIS BAR,

THIS SALVAGED MATERIAL THAT'’S CONTINUALLY BEING REFINED,

SO THERE'’S THIS INHERITED HISTORY THAT'’S TIED UP

IN EACH ONE OF THE PIECES.

WHEN I WAS 16, I RAN ACROSS A HOE,

A FARMING TOOL THAT HAD BEEN PATCHED BY A BLACKSMITH 7 TIMES,

AND THIS PIECE HAS REALLY INFORMED THE WORK

PROBABLY MORE THAN ANY OTHER PIECE THAT I'’VE ENCOUNTERED,

AND IT'’S PARTLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT, UM,

MY MOTHER BEING A QUILT MAKER

AND MY FATHER BEING AN AMATEUR ARCHAEOLOGIST

AND THINKING ABOUT THE FRAGMENTS OF THINGS

AND THEIR USE WITHIN THE CULTURE...

IT HAS TAUGHT ME, OF COURSE, THE VALUE

IN THE SMALLEST OF PIECES THAT ARE GENERATED IN THE SHOP.

I SAVE ALL OF THE FRAGMENTS FROM MY LARGER COMMISSIONS

AND THEN FORGE VESSELS, BOWLS, WALL PIECES

FROM THOSE FRAGMENTS.

PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PROJECTS

THAT USED AND INCORPORATED THESE FOUND FRAGMENTS

WOULD BE THE BAPTISMAL FONT THAT I FORGED

FOR THE SANTA MARIA DE LA PAZ CATHOLIC COMMUNITY.

I ASKED THE PARISHIONERS TO DONATE, UH,

PIECES OF IRON THAT REMINDED THEM OF THEIR PAST

AND THEN FORGED EACH ONE INTO AN INDIVIDUAL PLATE

THAT THEN WAS RE-ASSEMBLED LIKE A QUILT

THAT SURROUNDED THE WATER...

THE WHOLE IDEA, OF COURSE, BEING THAT THE BABIES

ARE BAPTIZED IN THE ANCESTRY OF THIS ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

IN THE CASE OF THE RIO GRANDE GATES

FOR THE ALBUQUERQUE MUSEUM OF ART,

I ASKED THAT COMMUNITY MEMBERS HELP CLEAN

ABOUT A QUARTER-MILE STRETCH OF THE RIO GRANDE,

AND IT WAS GREAT.

WE, UM, OVER SEVERAL DAYS CLEANED OUT, UH, CAR SPRINGS

AND 55-GALLON DRUMS AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS

MADE OF IRON THAT WE THEN FORGED AND FOLDED

INTO INDIVIDUAL PANELS.

SO WHAT WE'’RE GONNA DO, UM, TODAY

IS MAKE, UM, A PAIR OF TONGS,

SO THE FIRST STEP IS MAKING THE, UH--THE SHOULDER.

SO IT'’S TURNED TO THE LEFT, DIAGONAL BLOWS.

JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: TEACHING BLACKSMITHING IS IMPORTANT TO ME

BECAUSE IT IS AN ORAL TRADITION.

TRY TO TILT YOUR HAMMER.

YOU SEE HOW IT'’S GOING THINNER HERE,

SO TRY TO BE REALLY SQUARE TO THE ANVIL FACE.

JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: IN MANY DIFFERENT PARTS OF AFRICA,

THE FATHER WOULD FORGE A HAMMER FOR HIS SON

AND TAKE A SMALL PIECE OF HIS OWN HAMMER

AND FIRE-WELD THAT INTO THE HAMMER

THAT HE'’S MAKING FOR THIS NEXT GENERATION...

GET THE TIPS FIRST ON BOTH SIDES.

JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: SO THERE'’S A REMEMBRANCE OF THE TEACHINGS,

THE PHYSICAL REMAINDER OF YOUR TEACHER

AND THAT THIS IS THE OBJECT THAT IS FACILITATING

ALL THE WORK THAT YOU'’LL DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

ALMOST.

ALL RIGHT. YOU GUYS READY TO GIVE IT A WHIRL?

THERE YOU GO. HA HA HA!

JOYCE: WHEN I WAS 11, MY MOTHER MOVED TO NEW MEXICO

TO THE SMALL FARMING COMMUNITY OF EL RITO.

FOR 3 SUMMERS, I WORKED AS AN ASSISTANT

WITH PETER WELLS, WHO HAD A PRINTING SHOP,

BUT HE ALSO HAD A BLACKSMITH SHOP SET UP

TO DO REPAIR WORK FOR VILLAGE FARMERS,

AND IT WAS DURING THOSE SESSIONS WORKING IN THE FORGE

THAT I REALIZED THIS IS REALLY WHAT I WANTED TO DO.

THEN PETER MOVED HIS PRINT SHOP TO A TOWN OUTSIDE OF ALBUQUERQUE

AND WANTED TO LEAVE THE BLACKSMITH'’S SHOP INTACT

IN EL RITO AND OFFERED IT TO ME FOR $27-A-MONTH RENT,

AND I QUIT HIGH SCHOOL AND STARTED WORKING AS A SMITH.

I REMEMBER TELLING MY PARENTS

AND SPECIFICALLY THE GREAT-AUNT MARY,

WHO I HAD BEEN LIVING WITH AS A TEENAGER,

THAT I WANTED TO BECOME A BLACKSMITH,

AND, UM, MY AUNT'’S REACTION WAS TO IMMEDIATELY CRY.

SO AT 16, I RECEIVED A BASIS IN TOOLSMITHING,

ASSISTING FARMERS IN MAKING TOOLS,

REPAIRING TOOLS, TAKING, REALLY,

ANYTHING THAT CAME THROUGH THE DOOR,

AND IT WAS A GREAT LEARNING EXPERIENCE,

BEING THROWN INTO THE PRACTICAL ASPECT,

UH, YOU KNOW, AT FIRST...

AND IT WASN'’T FOR SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE COMMISSIONS

CAME IN REGULARLY AND MY FAMILY CAME TO VISIT THE SHOP

AND REALIZED, YOU KNOW, THAT IT WAS A VIABLE--

HA HA!--MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD.

FOR MANY YEARS, I PRODUCED HARDWARE FOR FURNITURE COMPANIES

AND CUSTOM FURNITURE DESIGNERS AND BEGAN WORKING

WITH DIFFERENT CONTRACTORS WHO WERE BUILDING

DETAIL-ORIENTED HOMES WHERE I COULD SUPPLY

THE HARDWARE AND KITCHEN TOOLS AND FIREPLACE IMPLEMENTS.

MANY OF US LEARNING BLACKSMITHING

IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES LOOKED TOWARDS THE MASTER SMITHS

THAT HAD PRODUCED THIS WORK DURING THE EARLY PART

OF THE CENTURY AND TRYING TO DESIGN

WITHIN MY OWN VOCABULARY BASED ON THESE HISTORIC STYLES

BUT RATHER DESIGNING SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE

FOR THE ARCHITECTURE IN WHICH IT WAS BEING PLACED.

FORTUNATELY, THE ARCHITECTS AND OTHER CLIENTS

THAT I WAS WORKING WITH WERE ALSO INTERESTED

IN SEEING A DIFFERENT KIND OF EXPRESSION.

THE ENTRANCE GATES MADE FOR THE SOL Y SOMBRA PROPERTY

WAS BASED ON A 1930s DECO APPROACH TO DESIGN

WHICH RESULTED IN A STYLIZED FORM OF CLOUD

WITH VERTICAL RAIN FALLING BENEATH IT.

BEING A BLACKSMITH HAS EXPOSED ME

TO A LONG HISTORY OF MAKING, AND THAT PROVIDES

A KIND OF FUEL TO BRING TOWARDS ANY OF THE WORK THAT I MAKE.

MALOOF, VOICE-OVER: I AM VERY FORTUNATE THAT I'’M STILL ABLE

TO WORK, DO WHAT I REALLY LOVE,

AND STILL TO THIS MOMENT, IF IT HADN'’T BEEN

FOR MY LATE WIFE FREDA, I WOULD NEVER HAVE DONE IT.

SHE KEPT ME ON THE TRACK.

THERE YOU GO.

MALOOF, VOICE-OVER: THIS IS THE FIRST OF THIS DESIGN

THAT I'’VE MADE, AND THERE'’S AN AWFUL LOT OF WORK

IN ONE OF THESE.

IT'’S JUST AN AWFUL LOT OF WORK,

AND THEY ALL HAVE THEIR OWN PERSONALITIES.

UH, THE WALNUT HAS ITS OWN PERSONALITIES.

THIS HAPPENS TO HAVE A VERY COLORFUL SEAT.

I LIKE THE SEAT AN AWFUL LOT.

THE BOYS KNOW HOW TO DO IT

WITHOUT ME TELLING THEM HOW TO DO IT.

THEY USUALLY IMPROVE WHAT I'’VE DONE,

BUT I DO IT IN THE ROUGH,

AND THEY CAN CARRY IT ON FROM THERE.

WE GET A LOT OF REPEAT CLIENTS,

AND I THINK I'’M WORKING FOR THE THIRD GENERATION NOW.

I THINK A LITTLE BIT OF ME GOES WITH EVERY PIECE THAT I MAKE.

I REALLY DO. I THINK IT--

THERE'’S A RENEWAL THAT TAKES PLACE

WHEN SOMETHING GOES, AND IT'’S LIKE LETTING A CHILD GO.

YOU KNOW, THE FELLAS HAVE BEEN WITH ME FOR A LONG TIME, AND--

AND, UM, WE'’RE PARTNERS RATHER THAN, YOU KNOW, I'’M THEIR BOSS

AND ALL, BUT I HAVE FIRST SAY OF WHAT I--WHAT I DO AND ALL,

BUT--BUT, UM, IT, UM--

THEY'’LL CARRY ON AFTER I'’M GONE.

GARRY: ALL RIGHT. TURN IT OVER.

SYLVIA, VOICE-OVER: GARRY'’S VERY VISUAL,

AND HE WORKS THINGS OUT IN HIS HEAD

LONG BEFORE HE SITS DOWN TO DO IT...

GARRY: SEE ANYTHING WE MISSED?

-NO. -OK.

SYLVIA: BUT I'’VE ALSO SEEN HIM SIT DOWN

AND START SOMETHING ONE WAY,

AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, IT'’S TAKING ANOTHER WHOLE DIRECTION,

SO OFTEN, HE'’S RESPONDING TO THE MATERIAL,

AND IT MIGHT BECOME A TABLE.

IT MIGHT BECOME A DESK.

GARRY: UH!

THIS IS A SERIES OF THINGS I'’VE BEEN DOING.

I, YOU KNOW, GOT TIRED OF MAKING CHAIRS,

SO I'’M--I'’M PROPPING THESE UP, AND THEN I'’M HITTING THEM

WITH A REAL HARD LIGHT, AND I'’M PULLING THESE SHADOWS OUT,

AND WEIRD THINGS HAPPEN WITH THESE SHADOWS.

ACTUALLY, THE FIRST ONE WAS, A FRIEND OF MINE GAVE ME

AN EAMES CHAIR, AND IT USED TO BE A STUDIO CHAIR,

AND I KEPT LOOKING AT THAT THING, AND I SAID,

"WOW, I CAN DO SOMETHING WITH THAT,"

SO WHAT I DID IS, I SAWED IT DIRECTLY IN HALF

WITH THE BAND SAW.

THEN I MOUNTED IT BETWEEN A SHEET OF ALUMINUM.

AND A TERRIFIC PIECE, YOU KNOW,

AND THAT WAS PROBABLY THE FIRST CHAIR I CUT IN HALF,

AND IT TOOK ME, I GUESS, ANOTHER 15 OR 20 YEARS

TO START SAWING THEM IN HALF AGAIN.

I'’LL FIND OUT WHERE I WANT THAT SHADOW,

AND THEN I'’LL TRACE THAT ON THERE

AND SPEND A LOT OF TIME PAINTING.

NOW, 100 YEARS FROM NOW ON THE "ANTIQUE ROADSHOW,"

ONE OF THOSE GUYS IS GONNA SAY, "WHOA!

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE?"

YOU KNOW, "JESUS! YOU--" YOU KNOW,

SO THAT'’D BE REALLY COOL, BE A--

THAT'’S--THAT'’S THE ONLY REASON I WANT AFTERLIFE,

FLY ON THE WALL, WHATEVER, MAN,

JUST BE ABLE TO SEE HOW GOOD YOU WERE.

I LIKE THE IDEA OF NOW I CAN KIND OF, UH, PLAY ART GUY.

MAYBE SOMEDAY I'’LL BE A FULL-FLEDGED ART GUY.

JOYCE: I'’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED

IN A CONCEPTUAL APPROACH TO DESIGN.

I STARTED OUT AS AN ARCHITECTURAL SMITH.

HOWEVER, THAT IS ONLY ONE ASPECT OF BEING A BLACKSMITH.

I FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE MATERIALS

AND THE PROCESSES WELL ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO EXPLOIT THEM

TO ADVANTAGE WITH MAKING SCULPTURE

AND OTHER EXPERIMENTAL WORKS.

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, A FRIEND OF MINE, UH, TOOK ME

TO AN INDUSTRIAL FORGE OUTSIDE CHICAGO,

AND THERE, I REALIZED THAT 250 MILLION POUNDS

OF IRON WERE BEING FORGED EACH YEAR

AND GENERATING A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF SCRAP.

I DECIDED TO NEGOTIATE THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING ABLE

TO COME AND USE THIS SCRAP MATERIAL TO FORGE SCULPTURE.

SO WE'’RE GONNA HAVE TWO STACKS OF CUBES OUT

AND WE'’RE GONNA SQUEEZE THEM DOWN

ABOUT 60% OF THEIR HEIGHT.

JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: THE PROCESSES THAT THIS FORGE USES

TO PRODUCE THEIR WORK IS VERY SIMILAR

TO WHAT I WOULD DO IN THE SHOP ONLY ON A LARGER SCALE...

SO DRAWING MATERIAL OUT, FOLDING, FORGING,

YOU KNOW, IS ALL THE SAME...

SO WE SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE...

SO THIS FIRST ONE HE'’LL PULL OUT

DOWN TO 16 5/8.

JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: SO MAKING SCULPTURE IN FORGED IRON

WHILE I'’M IN THE FACTORY AND WATCHING THE PROCESS

IN IT'’S ENTIRETY, THERE IS AN EVOLUTION,

AND THE CONCEPTUAL BASIS FOR THE SCULPTURE

THAT I SEE VERY CLEARLY IN THE BEGINNING

ENDS UP BEING DEVELOPED OVER THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE PIECE.

THE SCULPTURE ISN'’T FORMED BY THE FACT

THAT EVERY MATERIAL HAS AN EQUALLY COMPLEX HISTORY.

THERE YOU GO. THAT'’S IT.

JOYCE, VOICE-OVER: BLACKSMITHING OR MAKING ART,

THERE IS NO SEPARATION, YOU KNOW,

BETWEEN THOSE TWO ENDEAVORS.

IT'’S AS INSEPARABLE AS, UH, THE LIFE I LIVE HERE

WITH MY WIFE JULIE AND OUR TWO CHILDREN.

IT'’S AS INSEPARABLE AS, UH, GROWING A GARDEN.

IT IS A LIFE, AND IT IS A FULL LIFE.

THERE IS NO DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN ART AND LIFE.

GOLD: THIS MUSEUM IS VERY SPECIAL FOR ME

BECAUSE MY MOTHER WOULD BRING US HERE

WHEN WE WERE VERY LITTLE, SO I REMEMBER

AS A LITTLE GIRL WALKING AROUND HERE

AND LOOKING AT THESE BASKETS,

AND SHE REALLY HAD PRIDE IN HER VOICE

WHEN SHE'’D SAY, "THIS IS A WASCO BASKET."

GOLD, VOICE-OVER: PEOPLE DON'’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO KNOW

EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT BASKET, BUT IF THEY CAN SEE THE BEAUTY,

IF THEY CAN SEE THE GEOMETRICS IN IT,

THEN THAT PLEASES ME, AND I ENJOY HAVING MY BASKETS

IN MUSEUMS BECAUSE I THINK MUSEUMS ARE THE PLACES

WHERE THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF PEOPLE CAN SEE

AND APPRECIATE MY WORK.

WHAT I'’M REALLY DOING IS CREATING A NEW ENTITY.

THIS IS PART OF MY CULTURE.

IT IS PART OF MY OBLIGATIONS TO MY ANCESTORS

TO KEEP THIS PART OF OUR CULTURE ALIVE.

JACKSON: IT COMES FLAT

JUST LIKE THEY UNTIED IT AGAIN.

SEE RIGHT BACK THERE, THAT ONE?

MAN: MM-HMM.

JACKSON, VOICE-OVER: IN WORKING AS AN ARTIST IN BASKETRY,

I WANTED TO DO SCULPTURAL FORMS.

THIS TRADITION ALWAYS MAINTAINED A BEAUTIFUL BASKET

FOR EVERYDAY LIVING.

IT SHOULD BE BEAUTIFUL,

SO IT IS CONSTRUCTED AS A WORK OF ART

BUT THEN A USEFUL ART.

[WOMAN VOCALIZING]

JACKSON: AFTER THE PLANTATION SYSTEM WAS OVER,

MY ANCESTORS KEPT THIS TRADITION WITH THEM.

THEY NEVER ALLOWED THE TRADITION TO DIE

BECAUSE THEY WANTED THE FUTURE GENERATION

TO HAVE THESE BASKETS AS EVIDENCE

OF WHERE THEY CAME FROM

AND THAT OUR HISTORY SHOULD NEVER BE REPEATED...

SO FROM MOTHER TO DAUGHTER TO GRANDDAUGHTER,

IT WAS PASSED DOWN, AND MY MOTHER

TAUGHT ME HOW TO MAKE THEM.

HER MOTHER TAUGHT HER.

MY CHILDREN, I'’VE TAUGHT THEM, AS WELL.

PUT SOME SWEETGRASS IN.

YOU REMEMBER TO OPEN THE ROW UP.

THERE.

DAUGHTER: HOW ARE WE DOING? JACKSON: VERY GOOD.

GRANDDAUGHTER: THANK YOU. JACKSON: YOU'’RE WELCOME.

DAUGHTER, VOICE-OVER: WEAVING IS ALMOST LIKE PENMANSHIP,

ALMOST LIKE A HANDWRITING, AND I'’VE SEEN THE SIMILARITIES--

MY MOTHER'’S WORK, MY WORK, MY GRANDMOTHER'’S WORK,

AND MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER'’S WORK...

JACKSON: THERE.

DAUGHTER, VOICE-OVER: AND THAT'’S KIND OF NEAT.

IT'’S LITTLE THINGS LIKE THAT THAT STILL ENCOURAGES ME

TO CARRY ON THE TRADITION.

GRANDDAUGHTER, VOICE-OVER: I WOULD LIKE TO SOMEDAY

IF I HAVE MY OWN CHILDREN TO PASS THIS DOWN.

I THINK IT'’S IMPORTANT BECAUSE IF I DON'’T DO IT,

THEN I'’D--I'’D FEEL PROBABLY LIKE I'’M ALMOST,

LIKE, BREAKING THE TRADITION OR SOMETHING

OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, SO I THINK THAT'’S IMPORTANT TO DO.

JACKSON: MM-HMM.

JACKSON, VOICE-OVER: I HAVE A COMMITMENT

TO CARRY ON THIS TRADITION.

IT'’S TOUGH WORK,

BUT I HAVE A REAL STRONG FEELING ABOUT DOING THIS.

JOYCE: WHEN I HOLD A PIECE OF ANOTHER PERSON'’S WORK

IN MY HAND, I FEEL AN AFFINITY TOWARDS THAT ARTIST

WHO HAS THOUGHT CAREFULLY ABOUT WHAT IT IS

THAT THEY'’RE PRODUCING.

THERE'’S NO QUESTION THAT THE INFORMATION HAS BEEN PASSED

AS ALMOST A FORM OF GRACE.

CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY CRAFT IN AMERICA, INC.

WOMEN SINGERS: ♪ '’TIS A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE ♪

♪ '’TIS A GIFT TO BE FREE ♪

♪ '’TIS A GIFT TO COME DOWN WHERE YOU OUGHT TO BE ♪

♪ AND WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELVES IN THE PLACE JUST RIGHT ♪

♪ '’TWILL BE IN THE VALLEY OF LOVE AND DELIGHT ♪

♪ WHEN TRUE SIMPLICITY IS GAIN'’D ♪

♪ TO BOW AND TO BEND WE SHAN'’T BE ASHAM'’D ♪

♪ TO TURN, TURN WILL BE OUR DELIGHT ♪

♪ TILL BY TURNING, TURNING WE COME '’ROUND RIGHT ♪

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