Small Group Discussion Sessions at the GPI Announced for 2023
One annual tradition that Arts & Crafts enthusiasts and collectors from around the country can look forward to is the ability to get together with longtime friends and talk about what they collect. At the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn, the Small Group Discussion sessions are offered as a chance for a focused discussion on a given topic. From ceramics to furniture identification to textiles to lighting, there are a number of topics to choose from during the annual weekend event in Asheville. For the 2023 conference, the topics have now been posted in their current order at Arts-CraftsConference.com – favorite sessions for a wide variety of collectors have returned in addition to new subjects by longtime conference attendees and experts in their field.
These beloved discussion sessions were created out of a need for conference attendees to ask questions of a speaker and discuss a topic given as a seminar; these hour long group chats turned into an annual tradition that have continued for 35 years — soon to be 36. As these sessions do not require any registration and allow the freedom for attendees to come and go as you please, the sessions take place all over the hotel in meeting rooms, next to the Presidential Lounge, in the heritage ballroom and even in the coziest of spots within the hotel. Our discussion group leaders are all volunteers, most of whom continue to come back year after year in the hopes of spurring a great discussion with returning attendees and those new to the conference.
While a number of discussion sessions are held by speakers relating to their seminar topic, by expert collectors passing on their advice to others, or those who have put together an educational display as part of the shows, others will concentrate on design & architecture, philosophy, and home renovation. Two special sessions have been scheduled this year – The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms will return in February to talk at a special time on Saturday about sharing your passion with those new to the Arts and Crafts movement. Additionally, a brand new session has been scheduled on Sunday of the conference weekend: a 35-year retrospective on the history of the Arts & Crafts conference, led by David Rudd of Dalton’s American Decorative Arts and the GPI Conference Director Emeritus himself, Bruce Johnson. Longtime conference attendee Jill Thomas-Clark will conduct a small group discussion on collecting Arts & Crafts-era wooden lamps — a continuation of a discussion one may hear at David Van Epps in-show demonstration on the rare lamps of Charles Limbert!
During the discussion sessions, leaders may choose to pass around handouts, images, or they may come with a variety of examples to pass around. While these sessions are a chance to see examples of collections up close and personal, some attendees may be inspired to bring an object of their own. Please note the following for discussion groups that take place in a Vanderbilt room during the show: if you are bringing an item from home, staff may ask to see a receipt for the item as it could be confused for a recent show purchase. The security measures during the shows to ensure that no item is stolen from the show are taken quite seriously. Attendees will either need to check their items at the Vanderbilt 8th floor admission booth (where tickets for the show are purchased) before or after the discussion session or bring a high quality image of the item instead to pass around during the session.
Want to sign up for the 36th National Arts and Crafts conference? Great news: there’s still time to reserve either an Arts & Crafts package at the Grove Park Inn (includes registration for the conference and room and board for Friday and Saturday night, additional nights are extra) or if you want to stay elsewhere, call the office to purchase your conference registration and get access to all the fantastic discussion topics and seminars, tours, demonstrations and more.
Here’s the full – and updating list – of Small Group Discussion topics listed by category below.
Topics by category
Pottery and Ceramics
An Evolution of Ceramic Beauty:
Which Era of American Art Pottery is Your Favorite?
with Christine Boone and Patti Bourgeois of the AAPA.
The Women of Weller Pottery
with Linda Carrigan & Jean Oberkirsch
Arts & Crafts Furniture
Spotting Furniture Fakes, Forgeries & Repairs
with N. Gordon Gray.
*New* Building My Own Arts & Crafts Furniture: Where Do I Start?
with Stewart Crick (Sunday)
Collecting the Wooden Lamps of the Arts & Crafts Movement
with Jill-Thomas Clark
Art & Prints
Prints & More: Finding the “Art” in Arts & Crafts
with Steve Thomas.
Collecting the Artists and Designers of the Roycroft:
Hunter, Denslow, Fournier, McClandish and others
with Robert Rust
Book Club Discussions
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (Click here to buy the book on Amazon or better yet, buy at your local bookstore or library!)
with Pat Bartinique
The Octopus: A Story of California by Frank Norris (Click here to buy the book on Amazon or better yet, buy at your local bookstore or library!)
with Pat Bartinique
Home Renovation & Architecture
Remuddling, Remodeling or Restoration?
with Norman Blankenship.
Live and Learn: Sharing Mistakes and Missteps in Renovation
with Patricia Poore and Brian Coleman of Arts & Crafts Homes
A Restoration Update for the Gustav Stickley House
with Amy Shook-Perez.
Design, Style & Philosophy
Creating Harmony: How Do I Use the Arts & Crafts Philosophy in Organizing My Landscape?
with Rick Taylor
What’s Your Line? Exploring Favorite Forms in the Arts and Crafts Movement
with Andre Chaves and Dianne Ayres
The Arts and Crafts Philosophy: Vision or Fantasy?
with Pat Bartinique
Collecting the Prairie School Today
with Allen Hazard
Introducing Beginners to Arts & Crafts: How Do I Share My Passion?
with Vonda Givens, The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms
A 35-Year Retrospective on the National Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows at the Grove Park Inn
with David Rudd and Director Emeritus Bruce Johnson
Around this time of year, a couple of spaces in the Grove Park Inn are always available for a few last minute sessions to be scheduled in our growing schedule. In case you have an idea for a topic that has not been scheduled yet, email Kate at email@example.com and pitch the topic and who you would like to see lead the discussion!
Interested in attending the discussion sessions, seminars, Grove Park Inn tours and more?
Check out Arts-CraftsConference.com for the full schedule and register for the Conference.