Interview with Craft artist and teacher Pat Flynn
By Jesse Bacon, Catalyst Director at Social Impact Studios.
As someone who has never done a Craft art, I regard those who do with great admiration. It's important for me to understand what goes into their work. I do understand communities and education because of my on background on organizing, so I want to talk to artists about what makes the Craft School Experience special and how it is passed on. How does it connect to broader ideas of teaching, learning, and place? What is the specific texture, shape, and sound of Craft?
I want to learn this so I can in turn better spread the message of how important and vital these communities are and help the schools themselves connect to what is authentically special about what they provide. That is what we offer at Social Impact Studios, an enlightened outside perspective of someone deeply invested and learning from our client's work. That way we can help spread the word to people who have never before blown glass or worked a potter's wheel.
First up, I spoke to Pat Flynn. Pat has taught at Arrowmont, Haystack, Penland, and Peters Valley, an amazing 80% super majority of schools in the Craft School Experience. We met him at SOFA Chicago, and he seemed like just the person to talk as a passionate advocate of craft with decades of broad experience as a student and a teacher. He ended up providing the perfect description of the simple, tiny steps that go into making something unique and beautiful. "A lot of little steps done perfectly."
Pat graciously took some time away from his workbench to talk to his about his education in Craft and his educating others.
Per his website bio, "Pat Flynn is a goldsmith who lives and works in High Falls, New York... Pat is known for both his elegant bracelets and necklaces that combine blackened steel with 22k, 18k, platinum, diamonds and pearls; and, for his meticulous hinges and latches. His work has been featured in “metalsmith” magazine and, most recently included in the Penland Book of Jewelry. His work can also be found in the collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Art & Design in New York. His work has most recently been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC."
Part 6 | Artist Lindsay Ketterer Gates Manifests the Personal in the Unexpected
With Ideas on Craft and the Craft School Experience from Kristin Muller, Executive Director, Peters Valley School of Craft
I began this series with a quote from the Greek physician and philosopher Hippocrates: “Ars longa, vita brevis” which translates to “life is short, but art lives forever,” though its original meaning was more akin to “the life so short, the craft so long to learn.” And after six months of contemplating and conversing in-depth into the meanings of craft and creativity within the transformative style of craft school education, I find this to be even more true than when I started. The making of fine crafts is a distinctive kind of exploration, which patently relies on the integration of the heart, head, and hands; but, and perhaps most importantly, also depends on a life-long commitment to learning and practice within one’s chosen discipline. It is apparent that all of the above are true when it comes to the field of Craft and the Craft School Experience: the artists are extraordinary and the experiences immersive and life-changing – all resulting in impeccable, transformative works.
Visit a Craft School!