While in Los Angeles in January, I took a side trip to visit the Craft and Folk Art Museum in the heart of the museum district. As a kid growing up in the area, I recall taking field trips to the La Brea Tar Pits and even the Los Angeles County Museum across the street, but never the Craft and Folk Art Museum. Maybe if it had been painted like this in 1985 I would have asked to check it out!
This time, I was lucky to have the chance to sit down with the museum director Suzanne Isken to learn more about the museum. You can hear the interview on the VeryPink Knits Podcast episode 34.
I enjoyed learning about the mission of the museum, but also the consideration of fine art vs. craft. This topic comes up in the film Yarn, which was my first field trip for the podcast (episode 22). Where do craft and fine art intersect? When is it a craft and when is it a piece of art? I appreciate Suzanne's distinction that bringing craft in to a fine art space can't be just because an artist decided to use a new medium. They have to show a certain level of skill in the craft as well.
Not only is the museum a place to see unique works by craft and folk artists, it also serves as a place for crafters to meet and connect. Each month they host craft nights where visitors can learn a new craft. Sunday CraftLabs are designed for families to create together. It's also a regular host to other classes, art talks and special events for creators and those who appreciate the art of crafts.
Yarn Bombing Los Angeles is one of the groups that meets regularly at the museum. Before the building was painted in the bright design it features today, the group coordinated a large-scale yarn bombing project and covered the entire exterior of the museum in granny squares. Crafters from around the world contributed and the final design is stunning! After the project was removed, the squares were sewn into blankets for residents of a women's shelter. You can see photos and read more about the project's statement on the project page.
If you're in the Los Angeles area, I recommend checking out the museum. Check the website for exhibit updates before planning your visit. The museum is closed when they change out the exhibits. If you can't make it to the museum, you can also shop on the website for unique, crafty items.