A History of American Studio Craft

By Janet Koplos, Bruce Metcalf

544 pp., 8 x 11, 409 color and 50 b&w illus., notes, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8078-3413-8
    Published: July 2010
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-9583-2
    Published: July 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8232-5
    Published: July 2010

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Awards & distinctions

A 2011 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Here is the first comprehensive survey of modern craft in the United States. Makers follows the development of studio craft--objects in fiber, clay, glass, wood, and metal--from its roots in nineteenth-century reform movements to the rich diversity of expression at the end of the twentieth century.

More than four hundred illustrations complement this chronological exploration of the American craft tradition. Keeping as their main focus the objects and the makers, Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf offer a detailed analysis of seminal works and discussions of education, institutional support, and the philosophical underpinnings of craft. In a vivid and accessible narrative, they highlight the value of physical skill, examine craft as a force for moral reform, and consider the role of craft as an aesthetic alternative.

Exploring craft's relationship to fine arts and design, Koplos and Metcalf foster a critical understanding of the field and help explain craft's place in contemporary culture. Makers will be an indispensable volume for craftspeople, curators, collectors, critics, historians, students, and anyone who is interested in American craft.

A project of the University of North Carolina Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design

About the Authors

Janet Koplos, a longtime writer and editor for Art in America magazine in New York, recently served as guest editor of American Craft magazine. She is author of Contemporary Japanese Sculpture and other books.
For more information about Janet Koplos, visit the Author Page.

Bruce Metcalf is a studio jeweler and writer based in Philadelphia. He has taught at Kent State University and the University of the Arts and has exhibited his jewelry, sculpture, and drawings internationally.
For more information about Bruce Metcalf, visit the Author Page.


"A comprehensive, absorbing account. . . . In accessible and unpretentious prose, the authors personalize and locate each maker, noting relevant biography, education, training, and connections. . . . Written with grace, erudition, and wit, peopled by a cast of hundreds of women and men . . . and copiously illustrated, Makers is a definitive work. . . . Essential."—Choice

"For a field that has been without a definitive text for over a century and a half, [Makers] represents a high water mark. . . . An inspired reference that grounds craft movements in various contexts of craft education, production, display, sales and collecting. . . . Goes far toward paving the way for the study of studio craft to gain the credibility it has long deserved."—American Craft

"If you can't crisscross the country touring new museum wings and exhibitions, immerse yourself in Makers. . . . Don't miss the last two chapters—that's where the authors really dig in with detailed biographies, and where you'll find the anchors of the craft community we know today."—AmericanStyle

"A reference for artists, educators, and scholars interested in the field. . . . Koplos and Metcalf consolidate, review, and analyze the literature already available on craft, while adding primary research of their own."—Ceramics Monthly

"A wonderful book. . . . Interesting and useful. . . . The inclusion of some biographical detail and the consideration of each artist's career choices and influences . . . make the text highly readable. . . . Anyone with an interest in making art or craft will love this book."—Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot

"A welcome addition to the literature on the Arts and Crafts Movement in America. . . . A definitive text covering two centuries that will also become a standard reference in the field."—Art Libraries Society of North America