Lissa Hunter is a studio artist, teacher, writer and, most recently, curator fortunate enough to be living and working in Portland, Maine. She is a Life Trustee of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, a fellow of the Maine Arts Commission, an MCA Master Craft Artist and past board member of MCA.

“Do something adequately for long enough and people will notice”, she says.

What Maine Craft Means to Me

by: Lissa Hunter

Craft:  an activity involving skill in making things by hand.

-New Oxford American Dictionary

Craft has traditionally meant certain kinds of things made of certain materials with certain acquired skills.  A spoon is carved from wood.  A blanket is woven of soft fibers.  A cup is wheel-thrown of clay.

But that sense of craft has changed over time to include objects that are not necessarily useful that can be made from many different materials with many different processes.  For me, though, the idea of craft still insists on an object, made by a human, by hand, with intention and some level of mastery.  Function not required.

I was fortunate to grow up in a family of makers, not artists, but people who sewed, mended, built, refinished and valued interaction with the material world.  I went to university for two art degrees, taught art at a small college in Pennsylvania and then quit teaching to be a fulltime studio artist.  I moved to Maine.

In very short order, MCA entered my life.  It was a resource for learning how to consider art as a career through workshops and events.  It provided connections to other members of a craft community.  It was an organizer of exhibitions and teaching opportunities.  It was a way for me to play a role in the craft community by serving on the board.  I was, and I remain, grateful.

What Maine Craft Means to Me Essay Series invites you to explore the many intersections and layers of craft, people and time in Maine through the words of those with deep connections to our state and our field.

The Maine Crafts Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization supporting craft artists by providing educational, marketing and retail opportunities. Our ability to accomplish our mission and help artists thrive is reliant on individual contributions.

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