Practice, Craft, Materials, and Making

Format and Themes

"He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." Saint Francis of Assisi

The ACS Forum is a place for makers and teachers of architecture, landscapes, art, and more—to learn from each other about the ways that architecture, culture, and spirituality intersect in our work and lives. ACS 9 was held at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, located on Deer Isle Maine. In this inspiring setting and at this school with its focus on creating collaborative community, we gathered to explore how practice, craft, materials, and making unfold at the intersection between the built world (art, architecture, landscape architecture, planning), culture and spirituality.

The need for an articulation of the relationship between craft, architecture, and spirituality has never been greater. In a world filled with chartjunk, junk bonds, and a flotilla of junk sailing the high seas to fulfill needs that perhaps do not exist, we wished to consider the idea that care in practice, craft, materials, and making suggests a better path. The material world of architecture offers a way to clarify the human relationship to things, to advocate for touch (as well as other senses), and to articulate the spiritual value of the highest human capacities for making and practice.

We were interested in receiving 4 types of proposals:

Keynote Speakers

Poet Ani (Annie Finch) is a poet, performer, editor, critic, teacher, nonfiction writer, and verse playwright, author of more than twenty books of poetry, plays, translation, literary essays, textbooks and anthologies.  The most recent of her six books of poetry is Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in journals including Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, Paris ReviewPartisan Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner,  and Yale Review, and in anthologies such as The Norton Anthology of World PoetryThe Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Her writings on women and spirituality appear in her column in the Huffington Post. The performance will take place at the historic Stonington Opera House.

Bradford C. Grant is the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences at Howard University. He received his Master’s degree in Architecture with a focus on social and cultural factors from the University of California at Berkeley. A registered architect, Mr. Grant has extensive experience in housing and community design. Professor Grant has served as President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA 2001-2004). He is involved in research, practice and teaching of architecture, accessibility and Universal Design, Fair Housing and cultural issues in architecture. He is currently the president of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE).

Daniel Johnston, Potter, grew up in a farming family but found influence in the local pottery community of Seagrove, North Carolina. He has apprenticed widely, devoting his time to understanding the many traditions of his craft, utilizing local materials and firing large wood-burning kilns in North Carolina, England, and Thailand. During his time in the village of Phon Bok, he worked with Thai potters producing utilitarian jars. His work is featured in museum collections including The Mint Museum of Art, The Gregg Museum of Art & Design, and the North Carolina Pottery Center. He has lectured and taught at the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival, Penland School of Crafts, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and St. Ives Ceramics in St Ives, Cornwall, England.

Lindsay Jones, Professor, Department of Comparative Studies, The Ohio State University, is a leading scholar of religious studies and a dynamic and accessible speaker. Among his many publications, he is author of The Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture: Experience, Interpretation, Comparison, and the editor-in-chief for a heavily revised second edition of Mircea Eliade’s sixteen-volume Encyclopedia of Religion, the standard reference work in the field. His current project involves a three-book set that undertakes a 2500-year “ritual-architectural reception history” of the southern Mexican archaeological-tourist site of Monte Albán, Oaxaca.

Membership Meeting

As usual in our symposia, there was an ACSF Membership Meeting on Thursday morning to provide a place for members to discuss the organization’s next steps.