highlighting artists, curators and arts advocates who continue to uplift traditions while advancing the boundaries

Local artist among winners of 2024 American Craft Council awards

Fri, 01/26/2024 - 5:00pm

    MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — A Camden artist is an award winner of the 2024 American Craft Council (ACC) awards. The ACC, a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing American craft, announced January 23, 2024 the winners of its four major awards. This year marks the 54th year of the awards honoring individuals and organizations for exceptional artistic, scholarly and philanthropic contributions to the craft field.

    Yuri Kobayashi is recognized as a College of Fellows honoree.

    “Kobayashi, a sculptor and furniture maker based in Rockport, Maine, brings a wealth of expertise honed through diverse educational and professional experiences,” said the ACC, in a news release.

    Originating from Japan, she holds a B.A. in architectural design from Musashino Art University and a woodworking certificate from Shinrin Takumi Juku. Also, she earned an M.F.A. in furniture design at San Diego State University, where she studied under Wendy Murayama.

    With over a decade of teaching experience at the Rhode Island School of Design, Kobayashi’s work has been featured in national exhibitions and publications, earning her prestigious residencies at SUNY Purchase, the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and the Arizona State University Art Museum.

    “Currently an instructor and lead studio fellow at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, Yuri seamlessly blends traditional woodworking techniques with her innate sense of wonder and emotion, creating captivating pieces ranging from abstract sculptures to functional furniture,” said ACC.

    First presented in 1970, and biennially since 2010, the ACC Awards include the College of Fellows, the Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship, the Award of Distinction, and the Aileen Osborn Webb Award for Philanthropy. This year’s awards highlight 17 artists, curators and arts advocates and who continue to uplift traditions while advancing the boundaries and impact of contemporary craft.

    ACC will celebrate this year’s honorees during a virtual ceremony in September of this year. Specific date, time, and details forthcoming.

    Biennially, ACC accepts nominations for its awards, which typically come from the current fellow and a guest list of nominators. Honorees are selected by an Awards Committee, comprised of past Fellows or Honorary Fellows, and are chosen based on professional accomplishments, achievements and support of the craft field.

    “This cohort of honorees is an exceptional group of artists, educators and arts advocates who have dedicated themselves and their careers to not only their craft but the craft field as a whole,” said Andrea Specht, executive director, ACC. “Their impact on the arts community has and continues to shape the field and will continue to influence generations to come. We’re honored to recognize them for their contributions.”

    “One of the most valuable aspects of the ACC Awards program is that it has a long history that deepens with every new award cycle,” shared Tom Loeser, ACC Fellow 2012, Awards Committee Chair and ACC Trustee. “This year the awardees are amazing, envelope-expanding, inspirational, and risk-taking creative forces. The American Craft Council is honored to celebrate this stellar group of awardees as they continue to create the evolving history of the craft field.”

    ACC Awards programming is possible thanks to generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.




    About the Gold Media for Consummate Craftmanship Honorees 

    Nick Cave, of Chicago, IL, is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body, initially created in direct response to the police beating of Rodney King in 1991. Soundsuits camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment. They serve as a visual embodiment of social justice that represents both brutality and empowerment.

    Wendy Maruyama is an artist and educator from San Diego, California and has been making furniture since 1972. Trained initially as a furniture maker/traditional woodworker, Maruyama's work is known for its deviation from the norm in the field of studio furniture. Her various bodies of work were often inspired by extended residencies and visits to various countries such as France, England, Japan, Korea and China. Maruyama had been creating works inspired by the memory of her childhood growing up as a Japanese-American, her interpretation of her ethnic heritage, and her observations of the Japanese culture, looking in from the outside.

    Maruyama’s most important work, "Executive Order 9066" is hitting closer to home - the work is influenced by personal and family history and addresses the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in 1942. Most recently, Maruyama’s work has been delving into grief, loss, and memory, coinciding with the passing of many family members and friends in recent years.

    Anne Wilson is a Chicago-based visual artist who creates sculptures, material drawings, and performances that explore themes of time, loss, and private and social rituals. Her artwork resides in permanent collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Des Moines Art Center; Detroit Institute of Arts; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Foundation Toms Pauli, Lausanne, Switzerland; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan. Wilson was named a 2015 United States Artists Distinguished Fellow and is the recipient of awards from the Renwick Alliance, Textile Society of America, Artadia, Tiffany Foundation, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is represented by the Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago and Paul Kotula Projects, Detroit. Wilson is a Professor Emeritus in Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


    About the College of Fellows Honorees

    Syd Carpenter, of Philadelphia, PA, is a sculptor working in clay and mixed media. She focuses on African American farms and gardens as a source of form and content attributing this interest to her mother, Ernestine and grandmother, Indiana Hutson, both of whom were master gardeners. After leaving graduate school she and her husband Steve Donegan founded the 915 Spring Garden Studio Building, a facility for over 100 artists. There she began producing ceramic sculptures now included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, Montreal Museum of Art, Swedish National Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Tang Museum of Skidmore College, RISD Museum of Art, Fuller Craft Museum, James Michener Museum and the Woodmere Art Museum. Her awards include the United States Artists Fellowship, Anonymous Was a Woman, Pew Fellowship in the Arts, National Endowment in the Arts.

    Michael Cummings, of New York City, is one of America's premier quiltmakers. In the tradition of the African griot (storyteller), Cummings' quilts tell the stories of African American life.

    He has exhibited in various countries including Japan and in 2022 was invited to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. He was honored by the National Endowment of the Arts with the Heritage Fellowship in 2023. 

    Cummings' work as a quiltmaker has brought him national and international attention and his work appears in some notable collections including Bill and Camille Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Alonzo Mourning, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, Museum of Art and Design, Studio Museum in Harlem, the American Embassy collection in Mali, Brooklyn Museum, International Quilt Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Throughout his career he has been commissioned by a variety of organizations and businesses to create quilts including the Helias Foundation to commemorate the children who died in the Oklahoma City bombing; the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; HBO; and House of Seagram to produce a quilt for the Absolut Vodka ad series. He has received the Tiffany Foundation award and the Excellence in Design award from the New York City Art Commission. Cummings was commissioned by Hillary Clinton to participate in an exhibition for the Year of the Woman, he created a quilt honoring Shirley Chisholm.

    Einar and Jamex De La Torre, brothers out of San Diego, CA, have been collaborating in earnest since the 1990s. Over the years they have developed their signature style featuring mixed media work with blown glass sculpture and installation art. Their pieces represent a multifaceted view of life that reflects a complex and humorous aesthetic that could be seen as multi-layered baroque. Their approach is additive, constantly combining material and meaning. Influences range from religious iconography to German expressionism while also paying homage to Mexican vernacular arts and pre-Columbian art. In the last 15 years, they have been creating photomural installations and using lenticular printing as a major part of their repertoire.

    They have won The USA Artists Fellowship Award, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, and The San Diego Art Prize. They have had 18 solo museum exhibitions, completed eight major public art projects and have participated in four biennales. Collidoscope: A de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective // Colidoscopio: Una Retro-Perspectiva de los hermanos de la Torre, curated by Selene Preciado and organized by the Smithsonian Latino Center and Riverside Art Museum for The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry (aka “The Cheech”) was the inaugural exhibition at The Cheech, the new national center of Riverside Art Museum that houses the contemporary Chicana/o art collection of Cheech Marin in California. The exhibition is currently on view at the Art Museum of South Texas - Corpus Christi, TX through Sept 17, 2023, and then will tour in additional cities in the US through 2025.

    Yuri Kobayashi, a sculptor and furniture maker based in Rockport, Maine, brings a wealth of expertise honed through diverse educational and professional experiences. Originating from Japan, she holds a B.A. in architectural design from Musashino Art University and a woodworking certificate from Shinrin Takumi Juku. Also, she earned an M.F.A. in furniture design at San Diego State University, where she studied under Wendy Murayama. With over a decade of teaching experience at the Rhode Island School of Design, Yuri's work has been featured in national exhibitions and publications, earning her prestigious residencies at SUNY Purchase, the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and the Arizona State University Art Museum. Currently an instructor and lead studio fellow at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, Yuri seamlessly blends traditional woodworking techniques with her innate sense of wonder and emotion, creating captivating pieces ranging from abstract sculptures to functional furniture.

    Mark Newport, of Hamtramck, MI, uses textiles, performance, print, and photography to reveal the vulnerability inherent in traditional Western ideals of masculinity. 

    His work was included in the prestigious Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art 2019, China; the 2019 Rijswijk Textile Biennial, The Netherlands; as well as in group exhibitions at the Textile Museum of Canada, The Mint Museum, and The Museum of Arts and Design. He has had solo exhibitions at The Arizona State University Art Museum, The Cranbrook Art Museum, and The Chicago Cultural Center. 

    Newport’s work has been recognized with a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship, a 2011 Artist Fellowship from the Kresge Foundation, and a Creative Capital Foundation grant. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Renwick Gallery, The St. Louis Art Museum, The Racine Art Museum, and private collections.

    Michael Puryear, of Shokan, NY, is an internationally recognized designer/furniture maker who has been practicing his craft for more than 45 years. His work has been exhibited in Museums and galleries around the country such as the Museum of Art & Design in NYC; Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem MA and is in the collections of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Rockefeller University, the Newark Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. He is a former trustee of the Furniture Society and in 2023 he received the Furniture Society’s Award of Distinction.

    Diego Romero, of Santa Fe, NM, is well known for his ceramic vessels, which elevate Pueblo life to Olympian stature. He draws on historical oral traditions as source material. He distinguishes his work from more traditional Pueblo pottery by the use of a narrative style influenced by comic books and popular culture. Romero has developed an extensive exhibition record with works housed in significant public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cartier Foundation, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the British Museum, and the Scottish National Museum.

    Lynda Watson, of Santa Cruz, CA, is an artist specializing in jewelry who was awarded two individual National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and was named Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year. In 2022, she was selected Master Metalsmith by the Metal Museum in Memphis, TN. 

    Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and is in the permanent collections of museums here and abroad. It has appeared in numerous books and periodicals and a catalog of her work was recently published by the Metal Museum. 


    About the Honorary Fellows Honorees 

    Diana Baird N’Diaye, Ph. D., of Cheverly, MD, is an interdisciplinary visual artist/maker, and folklore scholar. Her artwork, research and writing, reference sacred expressions of identity across Africa and the Diaspora.  As Senior Curator and Cultural Specialist at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, she developed and currently leads the African American Craft Initiative a project for which she was recognized in 2022 as a crafts visionary by the American Craft Council. Other recent awards include the Americo Paredes Award for community-centered folklore work from the American Folklore Society where she is a Fellow. Her participatory craft research projects include the Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity, the subject of an upcoming book, and The Crafts of African Fashion, featured at the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. 

    An avid advocate for equity of representation in the crafts sector, N’Diaye sits on the Board of Directors of the Center for Craft and maintains an active studio practice working primarily in textiles. Her artwork resides in both public and private collections.  

    Cindi Strauss, of Houston, TX, is the Sara and Bill Morgan Curator of Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design and Assistant Director, Programming at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. At the museum, she is responsible for the acquisition, research, publication, and exhibition of post-1900 decorative arts, design, and craft. 

    Over the course of her career, she has curated numerous major craft-based exhibitions including Ornament as Art: Contemporary Jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection (2007); Shifting Paradigms in Contemporary Ceramics: The Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio Collection (2012); and Beyond Craft: Decorative Arts from the Leatrice S. and Melvin B. Eagle Collection (2014). In addition to her MFAH publications, she has contributed writing to craft catalogs and journals nationwide and has been a frequent lecturer. Most recently, she co-authored the book In Flux: American Jewelry and the Counterculture (2020). 


    About the Awards of Distinction Honorees

    JoAnn Edwards, of San Francisco, CA, is the co-founder and executive director of the Museum of Craft and Design (MCD). Edwards has overseen MCD’s vision and growth since its 2003 founding, spearheading its innovative pop-up exhibitions, relocation, and acclaimed reopening in the vibrant Dogpatch district.

    Edwards is a staunch advocate for artists and an expert in contemporary craft and design. Highlights include jurying for Dutch Design Awards; representing the U.S. at the Het Nieuwe Instituut IVP; serving as keynote speaker at the Wolfsonian for MUSCON, Design Miami; former board member, Furniture Society; frequent panelist and juror/critic at national and international conferences on contemporary craft and design. Edwards received the 2023 Shine award from Design Bay Area.

    Additionally, Edwards has held roles as the Board Chair for the Support Network for Battered Women and received the Unsung Hero Award. Prior to founding MCD, Edwards co-owned contemporary art galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area for 26 years.

    Carol Sauvion, of Beverly Hills, CA, is the Creator of Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning documentary series celebrating American craft and the artists who bring it to life. The Craft in America series airs nationwide on PBS. 

    Sauvion is the Executive Director of the non-profit organization Craft in America, which has a mission to promote and advance original handcrafted work through educational programs in all media. Projects include the PBS documentary series; the book, Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects; two inclusive websites: www.pbs.org/craftinamericawww.craftinamerica.org and the Craft in America Center, located in Los Angeles and open free to the public. The Center originates exhibitions with catalogs, hosts artists’ talks and workshops and provides access to a large craft library.  

    To help advance knowledge of the handmade, Sauvion participates in conferences and screenings, juries exhibitions and lectures on the crafts. She has served on the board of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund and the American Craft Council. She is currently on the planning committee for Handwork: Celebrating American Craft 2026, an organization with the mission to reflect on the importance of original handcrafted work and to embrace the diversity of makers and making, past and present. They are organizing a Semiquincentennial celebration for the crafts.

    Craft in America has won the Distinguished Educator Award from the James Renwick Alliance for Craft. Sauvion has received the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award from Manhattanville College.

    Craft is Sauvion’s lifelong passion. For the past 43 years, she has been the director of Freehand, her Los Angeles gallery specializing in functional craft. Prior to her involvement in the gallery, she was a potter for ten years. She continues to make pots as an avocation. 


    About the Aileen Osborn Webb Award for Philanthropy Honoree 

    Charles “Chuck” Duddingston, of Minneapolis, MN, grew up in the Midwest and Southwest. He went to college at the University of Minnesota and went on to marry and have five children. He’s called Minnesota home since 1977. After college Chuck started a career as a financial advisor. Over the last 40 years that effort has developed into a team of thirteen members of which he is the senior partner. He has always been a collector of craft, mostly pottery and jewelry. Chuck was on the board of DIVA MN, Marnita’s Table, and an ACC trustee from October 2011 – September 2020 where he served as chair from October 2017 – September 2020. He integrated his board work at the ACC with his business by gifting Craft Council memberships to the families his team works with. He and his team are proud to be sponsors of virtually all of the local ACC events going back to 2011, most recently he and the Duddingston Sylvester Group were significant sponsors of the ACC's 2023 Decked Out fundraiser celebrating functional craft.

    American Craft Council (ACC) is a national nonprofit working to keep the craft community connected, inspired, and thriving. Founder Aileen Osborn Webb recognized the significant impact craft has on individuals and communities and established the nonprofit to preserve, cultivate, and celebrate this communal heritage. Eighty years later, the organization’s efforts span the nation. ACC shares stories and amplifies voices through American Craft magazine and other online content, creates marketplace events that support artists and connect people to craft, and celebrates craft’s legacy through longstanding awards and a unique research library. A range of other programs creates space for dialogue and action—because ACC believes craft can bring us together as people. Learn more at craftcouncil.org.