Silent Auction Supports Arts and Crafts Research Fund

by Bruce Johnson


Since 2010 the non-profit Arts and Crafts Research Fund has been providing grants to individuals who are exploring topics of interest to Arts and Crafts collectors. The primary source of funds for the ACRF is the annual silent auction held in conjunction with the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the historic Grove Park Inn. For the silent auction, the Research Fund relies on donated items from Arts and Crafts collectors, regardless whether or not they plan on attending the conference.



Most recently, the ACRF provided travel expenses for author Robert Rust to continue his research into Victor Toothaker, the Roycroft coppersmith who in 1913 designed the lighting fixtures for the Grove Park Inn. Toothaker is also credited with designing the eight-foot tall clock which has greeted guests entering the inn since 1913. Rust will be sharing the results of his research with conference attendees next month during his seminar “The Elusive Victor Toothaker:  Designer, Craftsman, Coppersmith.”



The ACRF also enabled researcher Ron Ciarmello to further explore the metalwork produced by Stickley Brothers, which in 1904 sold a wide variety of hammered copper wares from lamps and candlesticks to bowls, urns, and boxes. As Ron has determined, production at their plant ceased by 1907, but as late as 1912, however, the firm continued to sell these same items, presumably purchased from independent coppersmiths who formerly worked in the Stickley Brothers workshops.

Ron is now in the final stages of writing his book on Stickley Brothers copper, and will be bringing examples from his personal collection for an educational display at next month’s National Arts and Crafts Conference.



The number of Arts and Crafts authors and seminar presenters who have received research grants is too long to list here, but include Rosalie Berberian, Kitty Turgeon, Susan Futterman, the Rose Valley Museum, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Michael McCracken, the Roycroft Campus, Heather Stivison, Nan Chase, Jon Kornacki, and documentary film producer Herb Stratford.



The silent auction which provides the Arts and Crafts Research Fund with the money to distribute to qualified researchers depends entirely on individuals such as yourself. After years of collecting, we all have items tucked away in our closets, bookcases, and sideboards which we have not displayed for years. If donated to the ACRF, we can not only enable another collector to proudly display it in their homes, but can enable another researcher to provide us with insight into the items we have in our homes.

To donate an item for the silent auction, simply send us an email at [email protected] to let us know what it is and that it’s on the way. We would need to receive your donation in our office before February 14.


The shipping address is:  Bruce Johnson, 25 Upper Brush Creek Road, Fletcher, NC 28732.


Many thanks for your support!


Additions to the National Arts and Crafts Conference schedule:

Also a reminder that we’ve added a new Small Group Discussion to our schedule; join Old House Journal’s West Coast Editor Brian Coleman for a discussion called “How to Get Published.”  The steps to take from pitching to a publication to follow up protocol will be reviewed.  The importance of photography and art and identifying the target market will be covered.  Feel free to bring materials you would like to share or discuss with the group.

Additionally as mentioned above, Robert Rust will be presenting on “The Elusive Victor Toothaker” as the 10:00 am Sunday morning seminar and the last seminar of the conference.

Speaking of seminars, to celebrate the 35th National Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows, we will be giving away one $100.00 gift certificate to spend at the exhibitor shows before each seminar! Only registered conference attendees can be considered for the gift certificates and you must be present at each seminar to win.

Please note that the Asheville Art Museum Tour will take place from 4:00pm to 5:00pm and not from 5:00pm to 7:00pm like in previous years. Please click here to find out more information on the exhibit on Western North Carolina artists Walter B. Stephen and William Waldo Dodge Jr.

AND just a reminder, if you’d like to sign up for the 36th National Arts & Crafts Conference and would like your room at the Grove Park Inn, you can call the Omni center at (800) 438-5800 on February 9th at 9:00 AM Eastern.


Please visit for updates to the conference schedule.