Carol Sauvion is the Executive Director of Craft in America, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2004 after eight years of research. The organization’s mission is to promote and advance original handcrafted work through educational programs in all media. At the center of the organization’s efforts is the Peabody Award-winning PBS documentary series, Craft in America, produced by Sauvion, which began in 2007 and celebrates American craft and the artists who bring it to life. In addition to the documentary series, the organization developed the groundbreaking exhibition, Craft in America: Expanding Traditions, which toured the country for two years (stopping at HCCC in 2008), and the companion book, Craft in America: Celebrating Two Centuries of Artists and Objects. Recently, Craft in America opened the Craft in America Center in Los Angeles to provide a public space for receptions, artist lectures, workshops, and outreach to schools.
Sauvion, who is a former studio potter and teacher, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History and American Art from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. From 1969 to 1980, she produced functional porcelain and sold at craft galleries and museums across the United States. In 1980, before Craft in America came to fruition, she opened her L.A. crafts shop, Freehand, specializing in contemporary functional craft. Her substantial hands-on experience has informed her work at her gallery, as well as the documentation of artists and craft history for the Craft in America projects.
Ceramic artist Piero Fenci’s work has roots in the underlying craft tradition of functionality, while exploring the sculptural and conceptual realm of contemporary ceramics. His variety of interests and influences, from traditional origami and Japanese armor of the Muromachi period to Shaker hatboxes and tinware, are integral elements to his work. For more than 35 years, Fenci has distinguished himself as both an artist and an educator. Originally from Santa Barbara, California, he holds an MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York, and a BA in Latin American Studies from Yale University. Since 1975, Fenci has been a teacher and the head of the ceramics department at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. He has also spent time as a visiting professor at both the Nantucket Island School of Design and the Arts in Nantucket, MA, and the Escuela de Bellas Artes, Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua, Mexico, where he founded the first university ceramic art program in the state’s history.
In 2012, Fenci was named Texas Master by Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and is the fourth artist to have received this honor, which is awarded to established career artists working in Texas who have made a significant impact in the craft field. Fenci’s vessels have been featured in numerous magazines and books, such as Ceramics Monthly, American Ceramics, The Contemporary Potter, and Clay and Glazes for the Potter. His pieces have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions from coast to coast (including CraftTexas 2010 and a solo show in 2012 at HCCC) and are included in many private and museum collections, including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in Alfred, NY.
Clint Willour has been an arts professional for 40 years. From 1973 – 1989, he served as Director of a commercial gallery in Houston. Since 1990, he has been Curator of the Galveston Arts Center, serving additionally as Executive Director from 1995 – 2005. He has curated over 400 exhibitions for that institution. In addition, he curates exhibitions and serves as a juror for numerous commercial and non-profit organizations throughout the United States and abroad, as well as serving on selection panels for the Houston Arts Alliance, The Texas Commission on the Arts, The San Antonio Arts Commission, and the Louisiana State Commission on the Arts.
He currently serves on five committees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; two committees at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; the advisory board and the exhibition committee at the Houston Center for Photography; the travelling and changing exhibition committees of the Holocaust Museum Houston; the art board of FotoFest Houston; the system-wide art acquisitions committee of the University of Houston; and the Art Advisory Committee of Discovery Green. He was given the Arts Professional Legend Award by the Dallas Contemporary Art Center in 2001 and was named the Texas Art Patron of the Year 2007 by Art League Houston. In 2013, he was named a Texas Master by HCCC, in honor of his great service to the arts in Texas.