Design + Archives: Craft Multiples

Iron Mountain Stoneware envelope. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Glassmith - Eva Schonfield letterhead. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Sunflower - Studio of Weaver/Designer Connie La Lena envelope. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Sunflower - Studio of Weaver/Designer Connie La Lena letterhead. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Jugtown Pottery letterhead. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Lyn Elder, instrument maker, letterhead. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

PoT-PouRRi letterhead. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Mother Earth Craft Gallery and Studio letterhead. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Turley Forge Blacksmithing School letterhead. Image courtesy of Mitch Toda. Accession 16-149: Renwick Gallery, Exhibition Records, 1970-1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

While processing a recent acquisition of exhibition records from the Renwick Gallery, I came across a number of entries from artists, studios, schools and manufacturers for a national competition sponsored by the museum. Besides the actual entry itself for the competition, what I found most fascinating were the variety of letterhead designs present among the paper entries. While seemingly simple in the execution, their aesthetic and layout were carefully selected to provide a glimpse to their recipient of the design style and language of the sender.

The entries were for the exhibition, Craft Multiples, which was at the Renwick from July 4, 1975 to February 16, 1976. It was an exhibition of 133 production objects selected by jury that consisted of Lois Moran, Director of the Research and Education Department of the American Crafts CouncilHedy Backlin-Landman, Director of the Danforth Museum in Framingham, Massachusetts; and Lloyd E. Herman, Director, Renwick Gallery. There were a total of 2379 entries that were divided into the following categories: metal, wood, glass, clay, fiber and a miscellaneous other. After its time at the Renwick Craft Multiples went on a three-year tour around the country.

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