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Craft Spoken Here

May 5–August 12, 2012

Crafts were prominent among the first works of art to enter the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when it was founded in 1876, and the Museum has continued to collect and exhibit crafts. Today, thanks in large part to the Women's Committee and gifts from individuals, the Museum is particularly well-known for its holdings of twentieth-and twenty-first-century American, European, and Asian craft. With Craft Spoken Here, the Museum seizes the opportunity to experiment with its collection and to understand craft in an international context. Some forty contemporary works from 1960 to the present in ceramic, glass, metal, wood, lacquer, paper, and fiber—some by living, acclaimed artists and others by lesser-known creators—are on view. Representing the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe, the works highlight formal qualities that cross cultures, time, and media. Craft Spoken Here features an array of engaging education programs and interpretive materials, including on-site artist demonstrations and hands-on craftmaking activities for the public.

Behind the Scenes

Craft Spoken Here: "Static" Installation Time-lapse


“ The value of skill, command of materials and process, and the engagement of human hands are important tenets of contemporary craft. The CraftLAB provides a perfect opportunity for visitors to engage in the spirit of making alongside the Museum's collection, using it as a source of inspiration.” –Elisabeth Agro

Do It Yourself at the CraftLAB!

The language of craft is not exclusive to artists. Craft is a universal and an extremely accessible art form, which most people have engaged with at some time in their lives. The CraftLAB, a programmatic space located in Craft Spoken Here, offers visitors an opportunity to gain inspiration from the works on view, to become more conversant with the language of craft through direct interaction with materials, and to advance their skills. This exhibition celebrates an ever-evolving art form, one whose language is the native tongue of the populace. CraftLab is located in the corner of the gallery and will include an arrangement of ottomans and tables with a carpet in the center. This section of the gallery will have natural light to accentuate objects made of glass, ceramics and metal in a setting that simulates a great room of a home. This cozy space—complete with a supply of basic craft tools and materials—welcomes knitting circles and other crafting groups, community forums, and artist demonstrations. Groups should make arrangements in advance by calling .

Yarn Bombing

Yarn Bombing

“ In honor of Craft Spoken Here, the Museum's first exhibition dedicated to contemporary craft, I commissioned Jessie Hemmons, of Ishknits (aka The Philly Yarn Bomber) to yarn bomb the front entrance of the Perelman building. This was my way of extending the exhibition's reach to this extremely popular form of street art that is craft based.” –Elisabeth Agro


Main Building


The exhibition is made possible by The Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation Fund for Modern and Contemporary Craft. Additional support is provided by the Windgate Charitable Foundation and the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Elisabeth Agro, The Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts

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