New exhibit explores history, ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement

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Curated by Puget Sound student Chloe Brew, “Craftsmanship at Its Finest: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Modern Day Tacoma” explores the history and ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, which originated in Great Britain with designer and artist William Morris. This exhibit connects current artistic practice in Tacoma with the movement. Featured prominently in the exhibit is the work of the Arts and Crafts Press run by Yoshiko Yamamoto and Bruce Smith. Located in Tacoma, this modern day press embraces the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement. Also featured are a number of local women artists whose work exemplifies the ideals of fine craftsmanship. 

Rainier Alpine Meadows, Arts & Crafts Press.
Credit: University of Puget Sound

Exhibit Inspiration

In the summer of 2019, University of Puget Sound student Chloe Brew received a summer research grant from the university to study the Arts & Crafts movement and to seek historical connections with the Puget Sound region. She also focused on contemporary artists, with a special emphasis on the Arts & Crafts Press in Tacoma. 

Located in Tacoma, the Arts & Crafts Press produces outstanding letterpress, multi-color and linoleum block prints in a modern interpretation of the Arts & Crafts aesthetic. Yoshiko Yamamoto was a featured artist on the PBS Series “Craft in America” and her work is currently on display at the Collins Library as part of the exhibit.She is the co-owner of the press and the coauthor of several books about the Arts & Crafts Movement. Yoshiko will share insights into her process, inspiration, and her latest project, an illustrated edition of one of William Morris’s most iconic works “News from Nowhere.”

This exhibit represents the outcome of her project, which involved research in the Collins Memorial Archives & Special Collections, visits to studios, and examination of publications. Brew has created an interdisciplinary exhibit that offers opportunities for the viewer to make connections between past and present.

The exhibit consists of three sections:

  • Section One: In the first two cases and the flat cases, are materials associated with the founder of the Arts & Crafts movement, William Morris. Also included are publications and artifacts that reflect the influence of Morris on artists of the period, as well as contemporary examples that provide a glimpse into the widespread influence of Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement.
  • Section Two: The middle cases as well as banners and the wall case highlight the work of the Arts & Crafts Press in Tacoma which is run by Yoshiko Yamamoto and Bruce Smith. Both artists are influenced by Morris as evidenced in their collection of historical materials and Yoshiko’s most recent linocut of Kelmscott Manor, the home of Morris.
  • Section Three: The final two cases showcase the work of several Tacoma artists. Chloe conducted interviews with the artists and connects their artistic practices to Arts & Crafts ideals. All the artists demonstrate craftsmanship at its finest. Represented are Chandler O’Leary, Taylor Cox, Gabrielle Cooksey, Jessica Spring and Suzanne Moore.

The Collins Memorial Library is located at the University of Puget Sound, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma. 

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