“In the same way that there’s a good chance that iron
I’m using has parts of my granddad’s old car in it, there’s
an equally good chance that there exists in its molecular
makeup a Scythian sword or a Hittite ax still poised,
waiting for the next battle.”
— Tom Joyce
Craft in the Classroom
Explain that Tom Joyce and other
blacksmiths create new forms from
old iron. Engage students in a discussion about how this practice
enhances the meaning of the newly
formed artwork. Which would they
rather have, something with history,
or a “brand new” object? Why?
Have students list what they
know about blacksmithing and what
questions they have about the process. Then, visit the Craft in America website ( www.craftinamerica.
org/artists_metal/ story_335.php) or
view the companion DVD to watch
Tom Joyce at work. Students might
do further research about the art and
history of blacksmithing.
Direct attention to the Pyramidal
Skull Teapot, Military Intelligence
I by Richard Notkin. Have students
identify all parts of the teapot. What
other features do they notice? What
message does the artwork convey?
Have students compare and contrast Notkin’s teapots with others
on www.craftinamerica.org, or from
personal collections. Note how other
artists approach the teapot’s five
essential components and if they
combine symbols to convey meaning.
View the Craft in America DVD
to learn how Richard Notkin combines tiles to express his political
concerns. Have students create their
own clay tiles about local or global
issues that students find important.
Each student should sketch simplified images or symbols that convey
an issue and can be translated into a
clay tile. After rolling slabs of clay,
have students use additive and subtractive processes to express their
message. Once the tiles are fired,
they can be installed as a mural.
Richard Notkin, 20th Century Solutions
Teapot: With Or Without Reason, Yixing
Series, 2003; Cube Skull Teapot (Variation
#23), Yixing Series, 2000.
Craft in America is a monthly feature in SchoolArts magazine. Article and educator
guides by Marilyn Stewart, professor of art education, Kutztown University, Kutztown,
PA; Kathleen Walck, art educator, Kutztown, PA, for Craft in America, Inc.
Craft in America: The Series
Craft in America’s nationally
broadcast PBS documentary series
seeks to celebrate craft by honoring the artists who create it. In
three episodes entitled “
Memory,” “Landscape,” and “
Community,” Craft in America television
viewers travel throughout the
United States visiting America’s
premier craft artists in their studios to witness the creation of
handmade objects, and into the
homes, businesses, and public
spaces where functional art is
employed and celebrated. The primary objective of the series is to
convey to a national audience the
breadth and beauty of handmade
objects in our culture.
Tom Joyce working in his studio, Kate Joyce photograph. Tom Joyce, Rio Grande Gate,
1997, Albuquerque Museum of Art, New Mexico, Nick Merrick photograph.
Ordering the DVD and Companion Book
To order the Craft in America DVD for long-term viewing
and in-classroom use, or to order the companion book
Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists
and Objects contact PBS Video at 1-800-752-9727, or
Three Educator Guides accom-
pany Craft in America. Each
and Community—relates to and
reflects the core ideas, artists, and
art forms presented in the corre-
sponding series episode. Educator
Guides are available at www.pbs.