Handmade in Alabama

Handmade in Alabama explores the way our crafts change over time. Through interviews with three generational artisans, the book set proposes that over time, our crafts have moved from the primarily utilitarian to the primarily aesthetic. What was once work to meet a need is now leisure to meet a desire.

Letterpress and archival ink jet printed on the artist’s handmade 100% cotton paper. Divided into four sections, the book consists of three hardcover pamphlets each highlighting one of the generational artisans and one soft cover pamphlet serving as the introduction, artist’s commentary and extended colophon. Housed in a handmade clamshell box.

Book One: Miller Pottery Since 1865
Book Two: Estella Jackson, Split Oak Basketmaker
Book Three: Maxwell Banjo Company

Besides honoring the tradition of craft in Alabama, one of the intentions of this book project was to offer a glimpse of this culture to a wider audience, in the hope that someone unfamiliar with Alabama could have a real experience with the words of these traditional crafts people and see their process and environment...

I wanted the books to be a portal for these generational crafts people to speak directly to the reader. I chose excerpts from the interviews that I felt illustrated a change in craft over time through the generations of these three families.

In many cases, the decision to stay and carry on a family tradition is a decision made because of an awareness of the importance of doing so and not just a passive set of circumstances.

Front Covers of Handmade in Alabama setBack Covers of Handmade in Alabama set

In my eyes, these three people are beacons of the need to preserve culture and familial identity in an increasingly homogenized manufactured world.

Inside detail of books
letterpress and archival ink jet printing

*Handmade in Alabama was made possible by the goodwill and generosity of family and friends, especially Randy Arnold of Maxwell Banjo Company, Jude of Art By JulesMarie and Geoffrey, Amy Pirkle of Perkolator Press, Jessica Peterson of Paper Souvenir, Glenn House & Kathy Fetters, Eric Miller, Estella Jackson, Rick Olson of Coosa Creek Cinema, Word Way Press, The Alabama Folklife Association and New College.