By Miriam Patterson
Since January 20th, we have all witnessed the President’s need to assert his newfound power in a rapid-fire barrage of sweeping executive orders. With each passing day, we are confounded, and presented with a new conundrum. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) are under fire. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are threatened, and immigration laws—not to mention the civil rights of many marginalized groups—are being challenged. Nothing is sacred. No one is safe. In response, countless passionate and concerned people nationwide are mobilizing. Many artists and craftspeople, especially, have embraced the cause. Using powerful visual language, they look to create a platform to prompt dialogue and make sense of the madness.
One such group here in the West Village has taken steps to galvanize its membership and use its “creative capital” to address the chaos that this new administration has created. Crafting Resistance is a group of over 100 ceramicists who create art at Greenwich House Pottery (GHP). The studio is housed in a historical three-story West Village building at 16 Jones Street, and is abuzz at all hours with all manner of clay-related creative activity.
In the wake of the Women’s March, GHP’s Education Coordinator, Jenni Lukasiewicz, was inspired to send an email to the many studio members in attendance. It simply stated, “Let’s do something good.” Brainstorming ensued, creativity began to flow, and an idea took shape. The artists of GHP (who already spend hours each week creating functional, sculptural, and beautiful ceramics) would use President’s Day as one of dedicated production. All pieces made that day would be used to stage a fundraiser to benefit an organization that stands in defense of the Constitution. In collective disagreement with the ongoing erosion of equality and justice in our country, these artists are, in essence, using their talents to “clay it forward.”
On April 2nd, the group, under the banner of Crafting Resistance, will stage that fundraiser—a one-day ceramics sale in which 100% of the proceeds will go to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Crafting Resistance will support the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project while continuing Greenwich House’s tradition of helping newly-arrived immigrants establish themselves in this country. Since its founding as a settlement house in 1902, Greenwich House has continuously provided cultural, educational, health, social, medical, and recreational services to NYC’s underserved populations.
This event will feature hundreds of handcrafted pieces made onsite and available at affordable prices. There will be a variety of work: beautiful handmade vessels and sculptures as well as some overtly political items like ceramic wine tumblers inscribed with “Nasty Woman,” “Bad Hombre,” or “Mendacity.” All items will be sold cash and carry, with most priced between $20 and $100.
Join us on Sunday, April 2nd, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm at Greenwich House Pottery. Show support, spread the word, and attend this spectacular sale! Crafting Resistance expects to organize more events in the future, with an ever-growing group of artists joining the movement.