American Studio Craft Movement


While the 1920s and '30s in the U.S. were marked by widespread mechanization and the industrial output of design, during the postwar period American designers began creating works that foregrounded historic craft methods and rejected mass-production. A major root of this rejection was the previous generation of European avant-gardes who came to the U.S. before and after WWII, many of whom (like Josef and Anni Albers) were educated at the Bauhaus and took up teaching posts at U.S. institutions like Black Mountain College and Cranbrook Art Academy. The period's financial prosperity allowed for this rejection of mass-production to happen—particularly training in applied arts (supported by the G.I. Bill) and the support of studios set up for one-of-a-kind object production. Notable figures in this movement include George Nakashima, Wharton Esherick, and Sam Maloof.