Wednesday, May 30

Once again, I heart PBS!

I'm watching a 3-part PBS documentary called Craft in America. It's great!

It began with a 90- year-old furniture maker who makes the most incredible rocking chairs. I want one but could never afford it. He makes lots of other funriture but those chairs are drool worthy.

Next was a basket maker. She learned the craft from her family, grew up, went to work, had to quit then went back to basket making as a way to supplement her family income. That was the beginning of her career. She learned from her mother who learned from her mother who had learned from her mother who made baskets as a slave. Basket makers were viewed as more valuable slaves because large baskets were needed for harvesting. Basket making was a family affair, the men harvesting the grass and the women and children would weave. Because they worked as a family they were less likely to be separated. The featured basket maker has taught her daughter and granddaughter how to make the family baskets as well as her original designs. Her work is incredible.

Then there was the cranky ex-hippie furniture maker who started out crafting roach clips for the hippies at Haight-Ashbury back in the 60's. He made me laugh when he shook his head and said "God bless the hippies. They loved anything that was ugly." I'd say his is the most irreverent work featured in the first episode. It's fun.

Next up was a blacksmith (I'd recently been wondering if there were any Smithys left... don't ask me why.) He dropped out of high school to take over a blacksmith's shop and went on to make fantastic art. One deco styled gate is a wonder. He explained the African tradition of blacksmiths crafting a hammer for their son and taking a fragment of their own hammer and melting it with that of their son's. Each strike of the son's hammer then carries the weight of past generations with it.

A native American basket maker is also featured. She explained the story telling woven into each basket. I was suprised to realize I actaully knew a lot of the stories. Her cool work is now shown in museums.

All three episodes air tonight but I'm sure it will be repeated. If all else fails there's always Netflix. They're bound to offer it soon.

And while we're talking about PBS documentaries, how cool is this gonna be? I heard Mr. Burns has taken an interesting approach on this one. I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

1 comment:

shandon said...

I have already added it to my NetFlix queue!