Crafting Opportunity, an exhibition of ceramics, furniture, fashion, fiber art, jewelry, and metalwork, explores the robust artistic output that followed World War II. Many of the works, selected from Mingei International Museum’s permanent collection, are on view for the first time.

Mid-century craft and design in America is a study in creative pluralism, a blurring of the lines between fine and applied arts, craft and production, rustic and modern, functional and conceptual. The designer-craftsman movement of the era was known for both camaraderie and individualism; for some craftspeople, universities served as incubators; other artists prospered independently. A distinct sense of place—from the city of San Diego to the pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico—existed alongside domestic and international influences, and counterculture was not incompatible with commercial success. Women who had been displaced from wartime work by returning veterans could pursue a range of opportunities, whether working for themselves, for a company, or in collaboration with their spouses. The result was a pervasive spirit of experimentation uniting this diverse collection, which continues to inspire and delight makers and collectors today.

This exhibition will be on view at the San Diego Central Library Art Gallery, located at 330 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101.


On View: May 11, 2019 - Jul 28, 2019

Curator: Barbara Hanson Forsyth


Untitled, Ellamarie Woolley thumbnail

Untitled, Ellamarie Woolley

c. 1965
San Diego CA, U.S.A

Ellamarie Woolley alongside her husband Jackson greatly advanced the field of enamel work and were masters at integrating the medium into daily life.

Chair, Doug Deeds thumbnail

Chair, Doug Deeds


Wonderfully weird and fresh, this chair made of brazed beer cans reflects a sense of humor combined with good design.

Footed Yellow Bowl, Laura Andreson thumbnail

Footed Yellow Bowl, Laura Andreson

Los Angeles CA, U.S.A

"Happiness" Yardage, Jack Lenor Larsen


Untitled, Kay Whitcomb thumbnail

Untitled, Kay Whitcomb

Gustavsberg, Sweden

Weed Pots, Wayne Chapman thumbnail

Weed Pots, Wayne Chapman

c. 1965
San Diego CA, U.S.A