In The News

This Time ‘Round: Jennifer Ling Datchuk At Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Arts and Culture TexasPosted October 20, 2021 in In The News

By Nancy Zastudil

Creative expression is often responsive to, or even dictated by, circumstance. German playwright Berthold Brecht recognized as much with his 1939 poem “Motto.” In dark times, he wrote, there will be singing. But, the singing will be about the dark times.

San Antonio-based artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk reminded me of Brecht’s riddle-like assurance while discussing her current exhibition Later, Longer, Fewer: The Work of Jennifer Ling Datchuk, on view at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft until Jan. 8, 2022. The works in the show include the artist’s signature blue and white porcelain sculptures, multimedia installations, and video, all of which “directly address viewers by critiquing the realities and contemporary perceptions of women’s access and liberation.”

“Later, Longer, Fewer: The Work of Jennifer Ling Datchuk” at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Installation photo by Katy Anderson.

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Once an Outlet for Rebels and Outsiders, Zines Are Making a Comeback for Everyone

Texas HighwaysPosted October 1, 2021 in In The News

The exhibit ‘Copy Culture’ at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and Zine Fest Houston are two upcoming events for zine fans

By John Nova Lomax

Sarah Welch’s Holdouts and Holdouts: Giveth and Taketh are featured in the exhibit Copy Culture. Courtesy of the artist.

Remember zines, those self-published, photocopied mini-magazines that proliferated among Generation X youth? During their heyday, these periodically produced journals informed readers what was and wasn’t punk in the ’80s and where you could skate and see underground concerts.

The movement seemed to crest in the ’90s, riding along a premium coffee-fueled tsunami that included grunge music, flannel shirts, and Third Wave feminism as exemplified by the Riot Grrrl movement. Looking back, I am a bit astonished there was never a movie starring Winona Ryder as a feisty and soulful zinester.

For the casual observer (namely, me), it had long seemed that zines, alongside record stores and bookshops, were yet another casualty of the internet. This notion was confirmed to me back around 2002, when I was music editor for the Houston Press, the Bayou City’s alternative weekly. I had the bright idea to write a story on Houston’s music zine scene, and found out it no longer existed. The entire movement had migrated to the internet, where anyone could write fired-up, raging blogs or cringeworthy self-confessional LiveJournal entries. It seemed, for a time, zines all but disappeared.

But zines have come roaring back. Cities around Texas, including San AntonioAustin, and Fort Worth, are not just home to a few scattered zines, but fertile enough to spawn yearly festivals and other events. Beginning Saturday, Houston kicks off its own zine season, with two complementary and intertwined events: the opening of Copy Culture: Zines Made and Shared at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and the release party of HomecomingZine Fest Houston’s 2021 anthology of Bayou City zines, occurring later that same day at Axelrad Beer Garden. Then, on Nov. 13, there’s a festivals devoted to zines at Zine Fest Houston.

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Get “Suited Up” and Learn about Past and Future Body Armor

Houstonia MagazinePosted July 7, 2021 in In The News

The new Houston Center for Contemporary Craft exhibition, sure to please every Bayou City geek, runs through September 11.

By Rebekah Kibodeaux


A typical weekend in Houston doesn’t generally involve riding horseback into a Medieval battle or charging alien enemies alongside The Avengers, thus largely reducing the average occurrence of spotting someone dressed in an iron chest plate or an intricate leather gorget on the corner of Rusk and Main. With the 2021 Comicpalooza convention right around the corner, however, don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly inspired to learn a little more about the art of the cosplay.

In Midtown, there’s an exhibit already in play that hopes to demonstrate just that. The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and its resident artists continually produce and present eye-catchingly unique pieces that promote an array of art styles: metal-smithing, woodworking, fabric and wool manipulations, and paperwork, to list just a few. Until September 11, visitors will have access to their latest exhibition, Suited Up: Contemporary Armor Making in Texas, which highlights suits of armor inspired by historical re-enactments and iconic pop-culture warriors and explores the extraordinary craftsmanship behind armor making in the Lone Star State.

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Sculpting Ground into Gold: James C. Watkins at HCCC

Rice Design AlliancePosted April 28, 2021 in In The News

By Michael McFadden

Studio portrait of James C. Watkins. Photo by Bonni Oakes. Courtesy Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

In working with clay, an artist communes with a material tradition that spans thousands of years and stretches around the planet. With each passing decade, the medium becomes more accessible, more demystified, easier for the untrained to manipulate. Yet, ceramics remain an amphitheater from which stories and traditions are shared.

While other mediums carry certain historical baggage that weighs them down, the versatility found in clay connects cultures across imagined and fabricated boundaries. Over the course of his storied career, ceramicist James C. Watkins, who lives and works in Lubbock, has spent decades learning and mastering skills of the craft and implementing them in his practice.

On view at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) through May 8, 2021, Texas Master Series: James C. Watkins honors the artist for his dedication to his craft. While the exhibition focuses on more recent works, it showcases the breadth of Watkinss career and the diversity of his skill and inspiration.

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The History of Craft and How Artisans Created America — Glenn Adamson’s New Book Gets a Texas Moment

Paper City MagazinePosted April 21, 2021 in In The News

Crafting a Legacy Lets You Get Involved

By Crystal Correa

Glenn Adamson’s groundbreaking new book, “Craft: An American History,” rewrites the history of our country’s craft movement with its focus on diversity and inclusion. The charismatic author is the featured speaker at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft’s spring benefit, Crafting a Legacy, set for Thursday, April 22, 6 pm.

There’s nothing like wrapping yourself in a crocheted or handwoven textile, seeing the ridge marks of evenly spaced fingers on clay that has been delicately turned into a useful ceramic piece, or basking in the mystical properties of Native American jewelry. But have you ever stopped to think about the artisans behind these masterpieces?

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Anna Mayer Reconstitutes Loss in Houston

MomusPosted April 20, 2021 in In The News

By Laura August

Anna Mayer, “Fireful of Fear,” 2008 – present. Process image from the retrieval of a wildfired ceramic sculpture from the charred landscape in Malibu, CA, 2018. Photo by Poppy Coles. Courtesy of Anna Mayer.

Anna Mayer’s first solo exhibition in Houston, Forms of Inheritance, opens with a photographic mural printed on cotton canvas and splayed across a wall facing the entrance. Flames pour from chemical storage facilities, black smoke billowing thickly across the sky. A small patch of trees at the front of the image is blithely green, doomed. The label identifies the blaze as a 2009 petroleum fire near San Juan, Puerto Rico, and yet the scene is so eerily familiar that I want to insist it must be Houston.

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“Forms of Inheritance”: Anna Mayer Goes Meta at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Arts and Culture TexasPosted February 12, 2021 in In The News

By Sherry Cheng

Anna Mayer, “Fireful of Fear,” 2008 – present. Process image from the retrieval of a wildfired ceramic sculpture from the charred landscape in Malibu, CA, 2018. Photo by Poppy Coles.

On a global scale, our environment is our inheritance. Mayer takes her interest in the impact of environmental disasters, such as this one of the 2009 Cataño oil refinery fire in Puerto Rico, and through a material process, draws it down to a human, and intimate scale. Mayer has been crushing porcelain dinnerware she inherited from her parents inside this and other rolled-up canvases. The process of breaking down the porcelain changes the surface of the canvas. The shards fleck the fabric. The canvas itself becomes degraded, adding to the toxic atmosphere of the image. The crushed porcelain is then repurposed by the artist in another body of work, one that reflects her long-standing interest in the history of mourning ware.

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How artist Casey Curran envisions a post-human world

The Houston ChroniclePosted February 26, 2020 in In The News

By Molly Glentzer

A view of Escaping Earth: The Kinetic Art of Casey Curran, including the hanging figure We spoke like this to remember and the asteroid-inspired Anchor of Janus. Photo: Molly Glentzer

Escape looks out of the question for the ghostly, droopy-headed figure hanging from the ceiling. It seems to carry the weight of the world, with fluttering, plantlike wings on its back that appear too small to keep it aloft. White bristles sprout from every pore of the haunting body, looking both delicate and dangerous.

To artist Casey Curran, the piece “We spoke like this to remember” represents an alternative scenario of life on Earth, after humans are gone. Nature has taken over.

But what kind of nature is it? Science fiction, environmental science and philosophy collide affectingly throughout “Escaping Earth,” Curran’s first show at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Most of the works are mechanized, with gears set in motion by viewers. Their flowers are essentially analog robots.

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Top Five: January 30, 2020, with Kathryn Hall and María-Elisa Heg

GlasstirePosted January 30, 2020 in In The News

By Glasstire

Christina Rees and William Sarradet are joined by Houston Center for Contemporary Craft’s Kathryn Hall and María-Elisa Heg to run down the top five art events in Texas this week, including two at HCCC.

“One really exciting aspect of the show is that we’re inviting our viewers to come in and turn on some of Casey’s kinetic sculptures — to experience it for yourself.”

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This artist weaves extreme weather data into art

Houston Public MediaPosted January 11, 2020 in In The News

By Matthew Brawley

Nathalie Miebach’s sculptures are as chaotic as the weather events they depict.

The Boston-based artist has created a colorful series of sculptures that turn data collected from extreme weather events into art. Using basket weaving techniques, each of Miebach’s sculptures is densely layered, weaving in all types of data — barometric pressure readings, rainfall totals, actual tweets by hurricane victims — into her work. In her piece “Harvey’s Twitter SOS,” there are small squares with messages like, “Running Out of Food and Water” and “Adult Male is Diabetic, Trouble Walking.”

In “The Burden of Every Drop,” Miebach creates a chronological representation of Puerto Rico’s struggles to survive the intense wind and rainfall from Hurricane Maria. The piece takes on the tone of a tragic opera by dividing the hurricane into four distinct stages, featuring downed power lines to represent the island’s efforts to keep its electrical grid intact throughout the storm.

The Burden of Every Drop by Nathalie Miebach. Photo by John-Michael Seminaro. Photo courtesy of Houston Center For Contemporary Craft

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