June 2009— Design Village won the highest award as a traditional artisan in this year’s Directory of Traditional American Crafts, and their work is showcased in the latest issue of Early American Life magazine. Design Village ranks top in their field, according to a panel of national experts convened by the magazine. The experts—curators from such prestigious institutions as the American Folk Art Museum, Canterbury Shaker Village, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Heritage Center of Lancaster County, Kent State University, Old Sturbridge Village, Shelburne Museum, Southern Highland Guild, and Strawbery Banke Museum as well as antiques dealers, independent scholars, and professional instructors—selected the top craftspeople working with traditional tools and techniques for the magazine’s 24th annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts. Design Village’s handcrafted painted canvas rugs / floorcloths in historic designs showed mastery of the art form, heritage techniques, and workmanship, according to the judges.
The Directory of Traditional American Crafts is a special listing that appears in the August 2009 issue of Early American Life, a national magazine focusing on architecture, decorative arts, period style, and social history from colonial times through the mid-19th Century. The Directory has been used for the past two decades by curators at living history museums, owners of traditional homes, and motion picture producers for finding artisans to make period-appropriate furnishings and accessories for displays, collections, and use.
“The judges look for authentic design and workmanship, whether the piece is a faithful reproduction or the artisan’s interpretation of period style,” said Tess Rosch, publisher of Early American Life. “Scholarship, as well as use of period tools and techniques, is particularly valued in this competition.”
One goal of the Directory is to help preserve traditional handcrafts, part of our culture that is rapidly being lost in the digital age. Many of these skills were passed down from master to apprentice for hundreds of years, but now few new people choose to learn and master them. “If our traditional arts are lost, we have forgotten a part of who we are as Americans,” Rosch said.
The August issue of Early American Life, on newsstands June 23, lists all artisans selected for the Directory as well as contact information for those wanting to own their work. The Directory layout features lush color photos of many of these artworks, photographed at George Mason’s historic home, Gunston Hall, in Virginia.
2009 Selection - Diamond Pattern with Lunenburg Motif - Historic Collection
Authentic floor design from Lunenburg, Massachusetts