Sharing Our Passions

Please see the bottom of the page for a link to the event schedule for the National Arts and Crafts Conference


Regardless whether it was after the fifth, the fifteenth, or the twenty-fifth annual National Arts and Crafts Conference, one question remained the same:  how has it lasted this long?

The same could be asked of the Arts and Crafts movement. It traces its heritage as far back as the middle of the 1800s, when English architects, professors, and designers, including John Ruskin and William Morris, began asking questions and sharing their opinions on the decline of craftsmanship, the reliance on machinery to speed production, the dehumanization of the factory worker, and what constituted a safe and inspirational workplace.



American reformers of the early twentieth century were just as opinionated and passionate, as a young Frank Lloyd Wright argued at a 1901 Chicago Hull House seminar for the careful and controlled use of the machine to free craftsmen for more creative work; as Gustav Stickley offered his readers house plans intended to bring family members closer together; and William Gates provided his workers at Teco Pottery with a park-like rural setting outside their windows, several miles away from the sullied factory district of Chicago.


A Small Group Discussion at the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, February 20, 2015. Photo by Ray Stubblebine


Today’s Arts and Crafts collectors are no different from those early reformers, which is what distinguishes us from other types of collectors. We ask questions, we seek information, we form opinions, and we share our knowledge and experience with those who share our passion. For the past 33 years we have congregated at the 1913 Grove Park Inn, itself a living memorial to the Arts and Crafts style, where for three days we have relished in the opportunity to intermingle with other collectors in the Great Hall, the meeting rooms, the open terraces, and the shows.



But 2021 will be the year of the virtual Arts and Crafts Conference, where we will be secure in the safety of our own homes. We will watch our seminars from our Morris chairs, we will take virtual tours through historic sites and homes, and we will use Zoom technology to continue for the 34th year to ask our questions and share our opinions with each other.

We are fortunate to have more than twenty individuals who at 1:00pm (EST) on Monday through Friday during the entire month of February will serve as Small Group Discussion leaders. Our topics will be just as relevant and provocative as if we were sitting at the Grove Park Inn, as we will discuss art pottery, furniture, metalware, music, woodblock prints, and more with our fellow enthusiasts from across the country.

And if you miss one, you can watch a recording of it at your leisure.

Your discussion leaders have already been utilizing Zoom to meet with us and each other as we continue with our preparations for February’s virtual Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows. I hope you will not miss this opportunity to continue to learn first-hand from the experiences of others who share your interests, for, as we have learned these past 33 years, “Together we grow stronger.”


Until next week,


“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey




Note: To see February’s tentative conference schedule, as well as the Small Group Discussion topics, please click on this link.