2020 Conference Closeup: Small Group Discussions

by Kate Nixon



The 33rd National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Omni Grove Park Inn has become an annual destination and Arts and Crafts getaway for collectors all over the country to enjoy the legacy of the movement and be inspired by its revival — and have an in-depth conversation with other collectors about interests running the range from the basics of art pottery and furniture to making an arts and crafts garden and collecting metalware to listening to the music of the era, all led by Arts and Crafts specialists.

As one of the most popular elements of the three-day conference, the hour-long Small Discussion groups are meant to connect collectors from all over the country and give them time to discuss their interest with each other and with a specialist discussion leader in a given field. In the space of an hour during all three days of the conference, attendees will have their choice to attend one discussion each day all focused on a relevant Arts & Crafts topic – we purposely schedule several of these topics simultaneously to keep the numbers small so that the discussions are personal and lively. These discussions will take place in various rooms in the Vanderbilt and Sammons wing of the hotel during the times posted below. Check the National Arts and Crafts Conference website closer to the conference date for room locations.

Lead by wonderful volunteers who take time out of the day to lead small groups of 20 to 25 participants, these small groups are one of the many events available for Conference Events Pass holders to attend. Our Small Group Discussion leaders bring their years of experience to moderating the discussion groups. Some group leaders are exhibitors, some are researchers, some are even seminar speakers for the conference!

The list of topics cover a wide range of specialties and relevant issues within the movement and its current revival, covering everything from pottery, metalwork, furniture, home design and restoration, and even going into more depth into our seminar presentations with a few of the presenters themselves!  Listed below is our tentative list of discussion group topics, listed by day and time:


Friday, February 21st 11:00am – noon

“Art Pottery: How Do I Get Started?” led by Christine Boone and Patti Bourgeois

“What is the Artwork in Arts & Crafts?” led by Steve Thomas

“Spotting Furniture Fakes, Forgeries & Repairs” led by N. Gordon Gray

“Remuddling, Remodeling, or Restoration?” led by Norman Blankenship

“Art x Craft: The Manifesto of the Arts and Crafts Movement” led by Andre Chaves and Dianne Ayres

“English Arts & Crafts Furniture: Why Bother Studying It?” led by Nancy Hiller



Saturday, February 22nd 4:30pm – 5:30pm

“Native Plants and the Arts and Crafts Landscape” led by Rick Taylor

“Exploring Fulper Glazes” led by Jon Kornacki

“Arts & Crafts Philsophy: How Did It Start and Has It Changed?” led by Pat Bartinique

“Furniture 101 – A Walking Tour of the Grove Park Inn’s Collection” led by Jill Thomas-Clark

“Jane Addams: Behind the Scenes of a historical portrayal” led by Annette Baldwin

“Collecting Arts & Crafts Period Metalware” led by David Kornacki

“More Ohr” led by Ellen Lippert



Sunday, February 23rd 12:30pm-1:30pm

“Arts & Crafts Era Music: What Were People Listening To?” led by Pat Bartinique

“Sharing Tips for Building Arts & Crafts Furniture” led by Stewart Crick

“Anything Roycroft: History & More” led by Robert Rust


These small group discussions do not require any pre-registration. If you have a conference events pass badge, you can attend – it’s as easy as that!

There is still room for one or two more topics to be added for the small group discussion schedule. If you have any suggestions or if you’re interested in becoming a small group discussion leader, email us your ideas at [email protected] or [email protected]