History of the American Craft Movement

By Wendy Rosen

The post Civil War roots of the contemporary American Craft movement began with the Settlement House and Womens Industrial Exchange organizations.  Crafting as a recognized profession began as veterans returned from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  Many vets found artistic pursuits to be the best medicine for post traumatic stress syndrome.  By the 1960’s there were a few hundred American craft galleries in the US, and the only way retailers could buy crafts was at retail fairs like the American Craft Council’s historic Rhinebeck Craft Show.  Today there are more than 10,000 retailers selling contemporary American craft art.

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