The Good Making of Good Things

Currently on exhibit at the Minnesota Museum of American Art (, ‘The Good Making of Good Things’ is a fascinating look at the world of craft, using the magazine CraftHorizons and the makers who appeared in the magazine from 1941 – 1979 as the focus. The magazine’s long time editor, Ruth Slivka, worked to make craft more accessible and encouraged readers to engage in deeper conversations about craft. The ‘good making of good things’ was described by Slivka as a ‘palpable chain through which each human being touches the other and is known through hand and craft.”

It may be you are learning a skill for the first time. Or you may be someone who has been practicing your skill for many years. In either case, it is often the connection to history and the artisans who developed the skill that resonates. Knitting may connect you to your grandmother but also to women who were knitting to keep their children warm and alive through long Scandinavian winters. Working with birch bark increases your appreciation of the skills of North American indigenous people and also creates a connection with Russian and Japanese makers of long ago.

Learning a new skill and experiencing a sense of accomplishment by creating something with your own hands enriches your life, no matter what your age. The creation of cultural connections can be seen by examining the art, articles, and letters featured in the pages of CraftHorizons. Those cultural connections continue today, and we believe folk schools help create, foster, and enrich these connections.

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