Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery

Media - 2016.11 - SAAM-2016.11_6 - 124929

Debra Baxter, Devil Horns Crystal Brass Knuckles (Lefty), 2015, quartz crystal and sterling silver, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in honor of Joanna and David Baxter, 2016.11, © 2015, Debra Baxter; Photo by Kim Richardson.

Connections is the Renwick Gallery’s dynamic ongoing permanent collection presentation, featuring more than 80 objects celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world. The installation includes iconic favorites alongside new acquisitions. The arrangement breaks from typical display formats based on chronology or material to instead focus on the interconnectivity of objects and the overlapping stories they tell. The installation does away with hierarchical distinctions and the idea of the curator’s voice as absolute authority, instead presenting works that engender ever-evolving associations and interpretations. Objects are loosely thematically organized to mimic an analog version of the Web, using an associative approach derived from the way we navigate today’s hyperlinked” world. Visitors are encouraged to find their own path through a vast network of possibilities that highlight explicit connections as well as subtle, unexpected resonances among the artworks on view.

Craft objects do not exist in a vacuum. Each artwork tells many stories, and each is made even more interesting through relationships to other objects and ideas. As that object continues to develop meanings and spawn questions through contact with other artworks, it remains vital in a changing world.”

Nora Atkinson, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge, Renwick Gallery


In selecting both pioneering and contemporary pieces, Atkinson also explores the underlying current of craft as a balancing, humanistic force in the face of an ever-more efficiency-driven, virtual world. The installation highlights the evolution of the craft field as it transitions into a new phase at the hands of contemporary artists, showcasing the activist values, optimism, and uninhibited approach of today’s young artists, which in some way echoes the communal spirit and ideology of the pioneers of the American Studio Craft Movement in their heyday.

The artworks range from the 1930s through today and span numerous media. New acquisitions such as Mary Jackson’s Vase with Handle, Josh Simpson’s Megaplanet, and Akio Takamori’s Green Mountain and Ochre Landscape make their debut in the gallery while seminal works including Wendell Castle’s Ghost Clock, Karen LaMonte’s Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery, Albert Paley’s Portal Gates, and Kim Schmahmann’s Bureau of Bureaucracy return to view.

Visiting Information

Closing March 62022
Open Daily, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Free Admission



The Henry Luce Foundation and the Windgate Charitable Foundation generously support the reinstallation of the Renwick’s permanent collection.

Online Gallery

Media - 2003.49 - SAAM-2003.49_2 - 119635
Practice Bomber Range in the Mississippi Flyway
cottons, bridal tulle, and denim
Not on view
Media - 2016.11 - SAAM-2016.11_6 - 124929
Devil Horns Crystal Brass Knuckles (Lefty)
quartz crystal and sterling silver
Not on view
Media - 2015.59 - SAAM-2015.59_1 - 123262
Coral Tesserae
enameled copper, fine silver, and black chrome on sterling silver
Not on view
Media - 2013.54.1 - SAAM-2013.54.1_1 - 115862
Dresser Drawer
hair, paper, walnut, gold, crystal, and brass
Not on view
Media - 1989.68 - SAAM-1989.68_2 - 118457
Ghost Clock
bleached Honduras mahogany
Not on view
Media - 2002.8.1 - SAAM-2002.8.1_1 - 70658
Blanket Cylinder Series
Not on view
Media - 2015.40 - SAAM-2015.40_1 - 120554
Washington, D.C. Foreclosure Quilt
linen, cotton, and recycled thread
Not on view
Media - 1999.89.5 - SAAM-1999.89.5_2 - 119390
Parkman Coupe
glass and bronze
Not on view
Media - 2011.54.2 - SAAM-2011.54.2_1 - 80092
Hugging Circles
Zanders Elefantenhaut paper (elephant hide paper)
Not on view
Media - 2013.9 - SAAM-2013.9_4 - 119419
Curtains and Balcony Bracelet
33% glass-filled polyamide
Not on view
Media - 2003.58 - SAAM-2003.58_3 - 129031
Dateca. 1980
glass beads on synthetic thread
Not on view
Media - 2013.55 - SAAM-2013.55_1 - 89019
The March of Democracy
altered books
Not on view
Media - 2001.19 - SAAM-2001.19_1 - 69573
Leg Splint
Not on view
Media - 1996.98.2 - SAAM-1996.98.2_3 - 119322
Black Pot
white ash
Not on view
Media - 1991.61 - SAAM-1991.61_2 - 118883
Game Fish
fiberglass, black auto-body type epoxy resin, polyurethane resin, plywood, plastic found objects including beads, buttons, poker chips, badminton birdies, ping pong balls, rhinestones, coins, dice, plastic figurines, combs, miniature pinball games,
On view
Media - 2017.16.1A-F - SAAM-2017.16.1A-F_1 - 134133
Lemon Set
sterling silver and 24k gold plate
Not on view
Media - 2018.10 - SAAM-2018.10_1 - 135593
nickel silver, chrome-plated steel, and cork
Not on view
Media - 2015.28.2 - SAAM-2015.28.2_1 - 119036
Shoal (Bone Shoal Sonance)
limba and shedua
Not on view
Media - 1997.56A-B - SAAM-1997.56A-B_2 - 118468
Sugar Bowl and Creamer III
Not on view
Media - 2013.1 - SAAM-2013.1_1 - 85561
Fibers and Civilization (1959)
16 mm film and polyamide thread
Not on view
Media - 2002.11 - SAAM-2002.11_1 - 62219
Nine Tantric Amulets for Jasper Johns
gold cloisonné enamel on fine silver with 24k, 22k, 18k, and 14k gold, pearls, garnet, tourmaline, and peridot
Not on view
Media - 1993.54.6A-J - SAAM-1993.54.6A-J_1 - 83609
Temple’s Gate Pass
earthenware and glaze
Not on view
Media - 2003.30A-B - SAAM-2003.30A-B_1 - 72338
Slashed Millstone
ebonized redwood burl and ebony
Not on view
Media - 1985.22 - SAAM-1985.22_2 - 118456
Choker (#38)
fine and sterling silver, 18k and 24k gold, and lacquered copper
Not on view
Media - 2012.27 - SAAM-2012.27_1 - 85212
Shield #3 Brooch
found watch hands, oxidized sterling silver, and steel
Not on view
Media - 2013.63A-B - SAAM-2013.63A-B_1 - 137325
Blooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological…
gold-plated silver acupuncture needles embellished with semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls, imitation leather, stainless steel tweezers and inkjet print
Not on view
Media - 1992.117 - SAAM-1992.117_1 - 62673
Dateca. 1950
linen, cotton, and wool
Not on view
Media - 2008.20 - SAAM-2008.20_3 - 118483
Bad Hare Day
macassar ebony, walnut, maple, various woods and brass
Not on view
Media - 2010.50 - SAAM-2010.50_1 - 78602
The Running
bleached maple, paint, dye, stain, and resin
Not on view
Media - 2015.17 - 2015.17_13a.jpg - 122633
Vase with Landscape and Dinosaurs
porcelain with pigment and glaze
On view
Media - 2002.31 - SAAM-2002.31_3 - 118103
glass and sterling silver
Not on view
Media - 2013.11A-D - SAAM-2013.11A-D_1 - 117682
Renwick Gate
iron, enamel, and lacquer
Not on view
Media - 1995.29 - SAAM-1995.29_2 - 134114
Low-Back Side Chair
ziricote and ebony
Not on view
Media - 1995.24.2 - SAAM-1995.24.2_2-000001 - 120123
Teapot Goblet (#94 – 14)
Not on view
Media - 1966.27.15 - SAAM-1966.27.15_1 - 66592
Dateca. 1930s
Not on view
Media - 2012.20 - SAAM-2012.20_1 - 80109
Not on view
Media - 1983.52 - SAAM-1983.52_1 - 52179
Feast Bracelet
sterling silver, jade, and pearls
Not on view
Media - 2011.47.46A-B - SAAM-2011.47.46A-B_3 - 88809
Quatrefoil Lidded Shaker Cat Head Basket with Handle
black ash and white oak
Not on view
Media - 1993.27 - SAAM-1993.27_1 - 52198
Untitled #192
burdock burrs and applewood
Not on view
Media - 2000.28 - SAAM-2000.28_2 - 118891
Static Fuel
earthenware and oil paint
Not on view
Media - 1999.78 - SAAM-1999.78_4 - 119385
glass with steel stand
Not on view
Media - 1997.63 - SAAM-1997.63_1 - 48830
Hackberry Spheroid
Not on view
Media - 1991.125 - SAAM-1991.125_1 - 62754
Conoid Chair
black walnut and hickory
Not on view
Media - 1991.124 - SAAM-1991.124_2 - 118464
Oval Bowl
earthenware and chartreuse glaze
Not on view
Media - 2012.7A-GG - SAAM-2012.7_5 - 116892
Spinning Wheel
glass, cocobolo, steel, brass, and leather
Not on view
Media - 1975.117.1A-B - SAAM-1975.117.1A-B_2 - 116882
Portal Gates
steel, brass, copper, and bronze
Not on view
Media - 1995.12 - SAAM-1995.12_2 - 118203
Graphite Pendulum-Pendant
graphite, sterling silver, and stainless steel
Not on view
Media - 2006.33 - SAAM-2006.33_2 - 118020
Turbine Bracelet
stainless steels and titanium
Not on view
Media - 2011.32 - SAAM-2011.32_4 - 119410
white oak and bamboo
Not on view
Media - 2017.38.2 - SAAM-2017.38.2_1 - 132422
Dateca. 1987
cartons, block print, and staples
Not on view
woman falling from the sky into a bed of flowers
The Birth of Eve
flash glass, vitreous paint, silver stain, and copper foil
On view
Media - 2000.48A-H - SAAM-2000.48A-H_2 - 116940
Bureau of Bureaucracy
various hardwoods, veneers, marquetry, mother of pearl, gold leaf, and brass
Not on view
Media - 1985.92.1 - SAAM-1985.92.1_2 - 133884
Apocalypse 42
terracotta and glaze with engobe
Not on view
Media - 2014.30A-B - SAAM-2014.30A-B_1 - 119368
Charred Split Birch Log Teapot
stoneware, stains, and oxides
Not on view
Media - 1992.100 - SAAM-1992.100_1 - 60529
Cactus Botanical with Spirits
Not on view
Media - 1996.28 - SAAM-1996.28_1 - 62678
Fibonacci 5
reed splints
Not on view
Media - 2011.6 - SAAM-2011.6_1 - 74049
Not on view
Media - 2007.38.1 - SAAM-2007.38.1_1 - 68642
Closed Form
Dateca. 1980s or 1990s
porcelain and glaze
Not on view
Media - 2007.38.2 - SAAM-2007.38.2_1 - 68643
Closed Form
Dateca. 1980s or 1990s
porcelain and glaze
Not on view
Media - 2016.12.1 - SAAM-2016.12.1_1 - 122645
Green Mountain
stoneware with underglazes
Not on view
Media - 2016.12.2 - SAAM-2016.12.2_1 - 122648
Ochre Landscape
stoneware with underglazes
Not on view
Media - 2015.35 - SAAM-2015.35_1 - 119298
204 of Thousands
stoneware with glaze and decals
Not on view
Media - 2017.28 - SAAM-2017.28_1 - 134287
Mining Industries: Downtown Boston
glass and steel
Not on view
Media - 2005.5.73 - SAAM-2005.5.73_2 - 115901
Hole in One
Not on view
Media - 2015.28.7 - SAAM-2015.28.7_1 - 119634
Edson’s Flag
American flag (from U.S. military burial) with wool blankets, satin, and thread
On view
Media - 2015.10 - SAAM-2015.10_1 - 117691
Cut, Flamed, Spalted
Not on view
Media - 2013.77A-C - SAAM-2013.77A-C_1 - 118522
The Craftsman Series: Shovels
pennies, brass, silver, and copper
Not on view
Media - 2017.29 - SAAM-2017.29_1 - 133406
Democracy Speaks
wood, brass, paper, nickel, and bullet shells
Not on view
Media - 2000.62.17 - SAAM-2000.62.17_2 - 119432
Bracelet ALS 16L #2 CL
anodized aluminum
Not on view
Media - 2011.47.76 - SAAM-2011.47.76_2 - 88849
Gullah Fanner Basket
sweetgrass, bulrush, pine needles, and palmetto fronds
Not on view


Terese Agnew
born Milwaukee, WI 1959
Debra Baxter
born Omaha, NE 1972
Media - portrait_image_113328.jpg - 89921
Jamie Bennett
born Philadelphia, PA 1948

Jamie Bennett studied metalsmithing at the University of Georgia and later at the State University of New York, New Paltz.

Melanie Bilenker
born New York, NY 1978
Media - portrait_image_113283.jpg - 90201
Wendell Castle
born Emporia, KS 1932-died Scottsville, NY 2018

Born in Emporia, Kansas, Wendell Castle earned a B.F.A. degree in sculpture in 1958 and an M.F.A. in industrial design in 1961 at the University of Kansas.

Media - portrait_image_113705.jpg - 90398
Dale Chihuly
born Tacoma, WA 1941

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly studied with Harvey Littleton, founder of the studio glass movement, at the University of Wisconsin and received an M.F.A. degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1968.

Kathryn Clark
born Knoxville, TN 1971
Media - portrait_image_113289.jpg - 90205
Dan Dailey
born Philadelphia, PA 1947

Dan Dailey became fascinated with what he considers the “magic” of glassblowing while at Philadelphia College of Art. He often incorporates other materials and will bend or penetrate the surface of the glass to play on its brittleness and solidity.

Erik Demaine
born Halifax, Nova Scotia 1981
Joshua DeMonte
born Red Bank, NJ 1984
Brian Dettmer
born Chicago, IL 1974
Charles Eames
born St. Louis, MO 1907-died St. Louis, MO 1978
Media - portrait_image_113293.jpg - 90208
David Ellsworth
born Iowa City, IA 1944

David Ellsworth received his MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1973. Eight years earlier, he had studied architecture for a year at Washington University, St. Louis.

Larry Fuente
born Chicago, IL 1947

Born in Chicago, Larry Fuente studied at the Kansas City Art Institute from 1967 to 1968, after which he followed friends to California.

Michael Izrael Galmer
born Soviet Union 1947
Robly A. Glover
born Carmi, IL 1956
John Grade
born Minneapolis, MN 1970
Media - mimlitsch-gray_myra.jpg - 90086
Myra Mimlitsch Gray
born Camden, NJ 1962

Myra Mimlitsch Gray received her masters degree in metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1986.

Sabrina Gschwandtner
born Washington, DC 1977
Media - portrait_image_113704.jpg - 90397
William Harper
born Bucyrus, OH 1944

Born in Bucyrus, Ohio, Harper received a B.S. degree in 1966 and the following year an M.S. in education from Case Western Reserve University. He also studied advanced enameling at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Media - higby_wayne.jpg - 90023
Wayne Higby
born Colorado Springs, CO 1943

Born in Colorado Springs, Wayne Higby received a B.F.A. degree in 1966 from the University of Colorado in Boulder and an M.F.A. degree in 1968 from the University of Michigan.

Media - portrait_image_113330.jpg - 90218
Robyn Horn
born Fort Smith, AR 1951

Robyn Horn was born in Fort Smith Arkansas, and went to Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

Mary Lee Hu
born Lakewood, OH 1943

Born in Lakewood, Ohio, Mary Lee Hu earned a B.F.A. degree in 1965 at Cranbrook Academy of Art and an M.F.A. in 1967 at Southern Illinois University, where she first explored weaving wire—a characteristic of her jewelry.

Media - portrait_image_113208.jpg - 90141
Mary Jackson
born Mount Pleasant, SC 1945

Mary Jackson was four when her mother taught her to weave baskets from dried sweet grass. Eventually, Jackson grew bored with the traditional pieces she had been making and began to create contemporary forms from traditional materials.

Sergey Jivetin
born Tashkent, Uzbekistan 1977
Mariska Karasz
born Budapest, Hungary 1898-died Danbury, CT 1960

Self-taught embroiderer Mariska Karasz arrived in the United States from her native Hungary at the age of sixteen. The influence of Hungary's rich folk-art tradition is reflected in her early work.

Silas Kopf
born Warren, PA 1949
Karen LaMonte
born New York City 1967
Ron Layport
born Elyria, OH 1942
Steven Young Lee
born Chicago, IL 1975
Media - portrait_image_113225.jpg - 90155
Kristina Logan
born Worcester, MA 1964

Kristina Logan always intended to have a career as an artist, but it wasn’t until after college when she spent four years working for glass artist Dan Dailey that she found direction for her work.

Marc Maiorana
born Greenfield, MA 1978
Sam Maloof
born Chino, CA 1916-died Rancho Cucamonga, CA 2009

Born in Chino, California, Sam Maloof is a 1934 graduate of Chino High School. He worked as a graphic artist before being encouraged by his wife to pursue woodworking.

Media - portrait_image_113592.jpg - 90320
Richard Marquis
born Bumble Bee, AZ 1945

Richard Marquis earned a B.A. degree in 1969 and an M.A. in 1971 at the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied glass and ceramics.

Julian Martinez
born San Ildefonso Pueblo, NM 1879-died San Ildefonso Pueblo, NM 1943

Although Julian Martinez (San Ildefonso Pueblo) created many paintings on paper, he is best known for his collaborations with his wife, the potter Maria Martinez (San Ildefonso Pueblo).

Sebastian Martorana
born Manassas, VA 1981
Richard Mawdsley
born Winfield, KS 1945

Richard Mawdsley earned a B.S. degree in education in 1967 at Kansas State Teachers College and an M.F.A. in 1969 at the University of Kansas.

John E. McGuire
born Rochester, NY 1942
John McQueen
born Oakland, IL 1943

John McQueen earned a B.A. degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa in 1971 and an M.F.A. degree at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1975.

Steven Montgomery
born Detroit, MI 1954
William Morris
born Carmel, CA 1957
Media - moulthrop_ed.jpg - 90094
Edward Moulthrop
born Rochester, NY 1916-died Atlanta, GA 2003

Born in Cleveland, Edward Moulthrop earned a B.A. degree in architecture in 1939 at Case Institute of Technology and an M.F.A. at Princeton University in 1941.

George Nakashima
born Spokane, WA 1905-died New Hope, PA 1990

"To build a small palace around here with a Japanese carpenter in the finest traditions …" is a dream George Nakashima would like to realize someday.

Otto Natzler
born Vienna, Austria 1908-died Los Angeles, CA 2007

Born in Vienna, Austria, Gertrud Natzler graduated from the Vienna Handelsakademie in 1926 and later took classes in drawing, painting, and ceramics.

Andy Paiko
born Woodland, CA 1977
Media - paley_albert.jpg - 90107
Albert Paley
born Philadelphia, PA 1944

Albert Paley earned B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, in 1966 and 1969 respectively.

Joan Parcher
born Pittsburgh, PA 1956

Joan Parcher spends hours digging through garbage dumps to gather materials for her jewelry. After collecting fragments of rubber, graphite and mica, the artist sets them aside until she decides how best to showcase their natural characteristics.

Zack Peabody
born New London, CT 1968

Zack Peabody uses industrial materials in his work to call attention to the beauty of everyday objects. His stainless steel and niobium brooches and bracelets look like the skeletons of buildings and bridges.

Matthias Pliessnig
born New Orleans, LA 1978
Ed Rossbach
born Chicago, IL 1914-died Berkeley, CA 2002

Born in Chicago, Ed Rossbach earned a B.A degree in 1940 at the University of Washington, an M.A. in 1941 at Columbia University, and an M.F.A. in 1947 at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Judith Schaechter
born Gainesville, FL 1961
Kim Schmahmann
South African, born Johannesburg, South Africa 1955
Viktor Schreckengost
born Sebring, OH 1906-died Tallahassee, FL 2008

A prolific industrial designer, artist, and teacher, Viktor Schreckengost's creations have touched on nearly every aspect of American life.

Media - portrait_image_113750.jpg - 90419
Joyce Scott
born Baltimore, MD 1948

Joyce Scott relates her work as an artist to her family's craft traditions and to her African American heritage. In her jewelry and sculpture, she employs humor and irony to address cultural stereotypes and issues of racism and sexism.

Eric Serritella
born Ellenville, NY 1963
Josh Simpson
born New Haven, CT 1949

Josh Simpson first experimented with glass when he was a student at Hamilton College in 1970.

Media - stankard_paul.jpg - 90545
Paul Stankard
born Attleboro, MA 1943

Following his father's advice, Paul Stankard studied glassblowing at a technical college and worked for ten years producing glass instruments for laboratories.

Media - portrait_image_113270.jpg - 90191
Billie Ruth Sudduth
born Sewanee, TN 1945-died 2021

Billie Ruth Sudduth began making baskets as a diversion from her job as a school psychologist, and decided in 1989 to dedicate all of her time to weaving.

Lino Tagliapietra
Italian, born Murano, Italy 1934
Toshiko Takaezu
born Pepeekeo, HI 1922-died Honolulu, HI 2011

Toshiko Takaezu studied at the University of Hawaii and at Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, where she also taught. She has been on the faculty of other institutions, including the Cleveland Institute of Art and Princeton University.

Akio Takamori
Japanese born Nobeoka, Japan 1950-died Seattle, WA 2017
Ehren Tool
born Charleston, SC 1970
Norwood Viviano
born Royal Oak, MI 1972
Anna Von Mertens
born Boston, MA 1973
Media - portrait_image_113690.jpg - 90387
Peter Voulkos
born Bozeman, MT 1924-died Bowling Green, OH 2002

After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946, he entered Montana State College, earning a B.S. degree in 1951 and, the following year, an M.F.A. degree at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

Marie Watt
born Seattle, WA 1967
Dan Webb
born East Lansing, MI 1965
Stacey Lee Webber
born Indianapolis, IN 1982
Media - woell_j_fred.jpg - 90569
J. Fred Woell
born Evergreen Park, IL 1934-died Deer Isle, ME 2015


Shiang-shin Yeh
born Taipei, Taiwan 1969

Shiang-shin Yeh studied mechanical engineering at the National Taiwan University because “it seemed to be the most practical and useful subject in the world.” He grew dissatisfied with engineering, however, and turned to applied design, studying metal

Lynette Youson
born Charleston, SC 1964