American Craft Forum presents Innovation in the Face of Adversity – ONLINE THIS FRIDAY!


We may be in the house, but it’s time we think outside the box. This FREE three-part online series is meant to be an inspiring, refreshing, pragmatic, and safe conversation space. We’ll explore innovations in our craft communities in the face of adversities and challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak. We want to hear from you about ways artists, writers, and organizations are creating unique solutions in a time of crisis.

Produced and presented in collaboration with American Craft Council, CERF+, Springboard for the Arts, and the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).

Part 1: Vulnerabilities, Disruptions, and Opportunities in the Marketplace

April 3, 2020, 2 – 3:15 p.m. CDT

Americans for the Arts is reporting a $3.6 billion impact on the arts sector due to the effect of the outbreak on operations through canceled events, lost wages, and other expenses. The business of craft has been disrupted at every level – from marketplace events to supply chains to retail and gallery outlets to small manufacturing production. What solutions are we seeing? How are artists and businesses adapting? What alternatives might we consider? Can we use craft thinking to design our way out of this?

Program Outline:

What have we learned?

  • Guest: Jackson Schwartz, co-founder of Hennepin Made, a glass lighting fixture company launched in response to the last economic recession @hennepinmade
  • Moderated Q&A: Where have we been and what have we experienced in the past and how did we overcome it?

What’s new about this scenario and what does innovation look like?

  • Guest: Ayumi Horie, founder of Pots In Action lauded for her pioneering use of digital marketing and social media within contemporary ceramics @ayumihorie
  • Moderated Q&A: Who else is innovating, changing, refocusing?

How do we coordinate new ways of working?

How can we take care of one another, ourselves and our community?

Part 2: Understanding the Impact and Pursuing Relief

April 10, 2020, 2 – 3:15 p.m. CDT

The nation’s arts and culture industry is experiencing devastating economic losses with closed venues and cancelled performances, exhibitions, and events as a result of the pandemic. With the passing of the $2 trillion emergency stimulus package that includes important provisions supporting the arts sector and creative workforce, there is still a lot to sort out for independent artists, entrepreneurs, and organization leaders. This series of online forums continues with this session devoted to helping you navigate what all this means for the craft sector and practical advice for pursuing relief.

Program Outline

What are we finding and why is this work important?

  • Guest: Ruby Lopez Harper, Mexican, mother, wife, dancer, photographer, poet, and social justice warrior. Ruby is also the senior director of local arts advancement for Americans for the Arts @americans4arts
  • Moderated Q&A: What other studies should we be staying focused on?

How has the craft field specifically been impacted and what sources of relief are out there – for artists, for businesses, for organizations?

  • Guest: Carrie Cleveland, artists advocate and assistant extraordinaire and education and outreach coordinator at CERF+ The Artists Safety Net @cerfplus
  • Moderated Q&A: What other needs should we be focussed on getting relief for?

How can we take care of one another, ourselves and our community?

  • Guest: Carl Atiya Swanson, manager of Springboard for the Arts’ Creative Exchange program, a national platform sharing stories of artists with impact and toolkits for change @springboardarts
  • Moderated Q&A: How else can we take care of one another, ourselves, our community during this time?

Part 3: Education Disruptions and Opportunities

April 17, 2020, 2 – 3:15 p.m. CDT

Our series continues by turning to the impacts COVID-19 has had on the education field. From residencies to education centers to higher education, the way we learn, teach, and educate has been turned on its head. We close our first round of the American Craft Forum by hearing from the education field – students, educators, and administrators – about new directions the field is turning to and what we’ve learned from this most recent disruption.

Program Outline

What impasses, roadblocks and challenges have our craft education systems faced in the past and how have we responded?

  • Moderated Q&A: Other examples?

How are education systems innovating and changing and moving forward with this?

Garth Johnson live object study class this friday online!

Join Garth Johnson tomorrow (Friday, March 27th) at 1pm EST for a live experiment (link below).

“This semester, I FINALLY got to teach my dream class… an object study class for Syracuse University, taught at the Everson with objects from the collection. Thanks to Covid-19, I no longer have access to the museum, so I’m having to lean on special guest scholars, artists, and collectors. Syracuse University and the Everson Museum of Art are making the session available live via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to anyone who would like to join. This week, we’ll be talking ’70s studio pottery. I’ll keep doing this throughout the quarantine, even if it lasts longer than our class”

To join, just click this link at 1pm on Friday. You don’t need to install any software or sign up for any accounts. See you on the interwebs!…/414564fc1a1040b7a1efebe381d1d4f6


The NCECA Gallery Expo provides the opportunity to engage with the artwork of so many wonderful ceramic artists. We may not be able to gather and enjoy the objects and artists in person, but some participating artists will give live talks via Instagram and Facebook on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

During this challenging and isolating time we can come together as interdependent communities to create continuity of care and mutual aid to support one another. Please join the conversation, ask questions, and listen in. Check the schedule for the artist’s talks and times.

To view talks, log into instagram on your mobile device and go to the scheduled profile. When their profile picture says “LIVE” you can tap to watch!

Work-Stop Workshops from Workshop Studios in YYC


Hand building at home with live video instruction

Beginning Monday, March 30th at 2pm

This newly-imagined series of workshops includes a (heavily) sanitized Work-Stop Workshop kit delivered to your door including clay, tool kits, and pickup of finished work to be fired. Ground yourself in creative practice and expand your community while learning basic hand-building techniques from home.

Join us from home for our new live-stream hand building class, designed to spark creativity and foster community while respecting the public health recommendations of our strange new reality.

Over the course of five two-hour sessions, shared live via Zoom, one of our talented instructors will guide you through the basic skills of hand building. You will pinch, coil, roll, sculpt, and carve objects such as bowls, hanging plant pots, serving dishes, boxes, vases, wall hangings, mugs, cups, or small sculptures, and learn decorative techniques like sgraffito. Registration is now live!

Our hearts are with you as you protect your health, care for your families, and navigate new employment landscapes. We hope that the Work-Stop Workshops series will create new opportunities for connection, growth, mindfulness, and play as we ride this out together. Your support and participation will enable us to continue to offer Calgary-based artists valuable employment and an opportunity to share their skills. As always, we are very grateful.

Registration and additional details on their website.



Our regular programming includes wheel throwing and hand building workshops for participants of all skill levels. Held in our upstairs studio, these workshops last six or eight weeks and group sizes are limited to twelve participants.

We look forward to opening our studio to the public again as soon as we’re able. Stay tuned to this page for updates and registration. If you have any questions, please contact us.