Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts

“True Blue” my reproduction Izannah Walker doll pictured in the August 2012 issue of Early American Life magazine. She is shown here with her antique trunk, one of her three extra dresses, her miniature antique tintype photograph, signed copy of the magazine and her Early American Life tag.

I’m extremely honored to have been juried into Early American Life’s 2012 Directory of Traditional American Craftsmen.   This is the 25th and 26th time I have been chosen for the Directory.  This year in the categories of Toys and Dolls and Clothing or Accessories.

I know not everyone is familiar with Early American  Life and their Directory, so here is a copy of the official press release.  The magazine editors wrote  such an elegant  and informative description of the Directory, there is no way I could explain it better.

National Magazine Honors Area Craftsperson

June 2012 – Paula Walton of New Milford, CT won the highest award as a traditional artisan in this year’s Directory of Traditional American Crafts, and her work is showcased in the 2012 August issue of Early American Life magazine.  She ranks top in her field, according to a panel of national experts convened by the magazine.  The experts – curators from such prestigious institutions as the American Folk Art Museum, Frontier Culture Museum, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Hancock Shaker Village and Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, the National Trust, Old Sturbridge Village, Southern Highland Craft Guild, Strawberry Banke Museum, and Winterthur Museum as well as antique dealers, independent scholars, and professional instructors – selected the top craftspeople working with traditional tools and techniques for the magazine’s 27th annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts.  Walton’s handcraft showed mastery of the art form, heritage techniques, and workmanship, according to the judges.

The Directory of Traditional American Crafts is a special listing that appears in the August 2012 issue of Early American Life, a national magazine focusing on architecture, decorative arts, period style, and social history from colonial times through the mid-19th century.  The Directory has been used for nearly three decades by curators at living history museums, owners of traditional homes, and motion picture producers to find artisans to make period-appropriate furnishings and accessories for displays, collections, and use.

“The judges look for authentic design and workmanship, whether the piece is a faithful reproduction or the artisan’s interpretation of period style,” said Tess Rosch, publisher of Early American Life.  “Scholarship, as well as use of period tools and techniques, is particularly valued in this competition.”

One goal of the Directory is to help preserve traditional handcrafts, part of our culture that is rapidly being lost in the digital age.  Many of these skills were passed down from master to apprentice for hundreds of years, but now few new people choose to learn and master them.  “If our traditional arts are lost, we have forgotten a part of who we are as Americans,” Rosch said.

The August 2012 issue of Early American Life, on newsstands June 19th, lists all artisans selected for the Directory as well as contact information for those wanting to own their work.  The Directory layout features lush color photos of many of these artworks photographed at Renfrew Museum and Park in Waynesboro, Pennslvania.

“The Directory is a source for collectors and historic museums eager to own fine handcrafted, period-accurate objects and also a means of supporting those who perpetuate the art forms that are such and important part of our nation’s heritage.” Rocsh said.  To learn more about Early American Life, for subscription information, or to purchase a copy, visit www.EarlyAmericanLife.com.

Early American Life is a bimonthly magazine with a circulation of 90,000.  The magazine was founded in 1970 and is owned by Firelands Media Group LLC, Shaker Heights, Ohio. 

A Mad Scramble

I was thrilled when EAL asked if I could send one of my dolls to Pennsylvania to be photographed.  Unfortunately,  I did not have any unsold dolls available when they asked.  The good news was that I did have several dolls that I was working on at the time, so a wild and intense two weeks of painting and sewing ensued!  I finished True Blue, just in time to send her Express Mail to the photo shoot.  I love this doll!!!  I was sorely tempted to clutch her to my breast and  declare her “not for sale”…  but I have decided that I could have fun spending extra time with her by creating a trunk full of possessions for her to keep in the antique doll’s trunk I found for her in Brimfield, on my May shopping trip.   So True Blue is going to be for sale just as soon as I put the finishing touches on her third and fourth dresses and make her chatelaine.   If you are interested in learning more about her before I get her final photos and write up posted on my website, you may email me paula@asweetremembrance.com or call  860-355-5709.

In reading through Early American Life editor Jeanmarie Andrews’ August column, I learned something that I hadn’t known before.  Jeanmarie states ” It might seem like we pick our favorites to photograph year after year, but we don’t.  Instead we rely on antique dealers and collectors, museum curators and directors who know which colors, designs, dimensions, joinery techniques, and finishes harmonize to produce a masterpiece.”  The Early American Life Directory has been in existence for 27 years and gone through many changes to reflect the mission of the various publishing companies who have owned the magazine during that time.  I’m not quite sure when they changed the method of selecting items for photography, but I will say that it made me even more humbled and thankful that they chose to photograph one of my dolls.

True Blue and a copy of the August 2012 issue of Early American Life that I am putting in her trunk as a remembrance of her journey to Pennsylvania and the time she spent at Renfrew Museum during the EAL photo shoot.

True Blue and her Possessions

I think that I have given True Blue a good start on her hope chest.  She is dressed in a chemise, pantalettes, two petticoats and an indigo print dress.  In her trunk she has three more dresses, a tiny antique tintype photograph, a chatelaine to keep all of her sewing essentials close by and a flag to wave at the 4th of July parade.  She also owns several necklaces to wear on Sundays and to parties, as well as two aprons to keep her clean while doing everyday chores.  All of her clothing and keepsakes fit into her antique trunk.  Her adoption fee is going to be $2900.

If you’d like to add more items, such as additional underwear, dresses, bonnets, etc.  I would be happy to make them for her.  Just inquire at paula@asweetremembrance.com for prices.

May You Live in Interesting Times…

I’ll try to get her dresses finished and get her posted for sale sometime next week, but I can’t promise…  I’m working around a wedding.  One of my sons is getting married on June 30th, so there are only 15 days left on our wedding count down!!!  Not a problem unless you happen to be the mother of the groom who is also the head seamstress for the bridal alterations department, the chief baker of the wedding cake, groom’s cake and an entire tower of tiny heart shaped tarts, and art director in charge of wedding decorations 🙂  I also have to figure out how to get the house cleaned before out of town relatives arrive for the wedding and get my drivers license renewed!!!  Never a dull moment at our house… but at least there is no time to get bored 🙂

~ by paulawalton on June 14, 2012.

9 Responses to “Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts”

  1. Congratulations, Paula!! 🙂 What a well deserved honor!

    much love,

    Paula

    • Paula,

      Thank you very much! And thank you once again for telling me there was no hurry, to enjoy the wedding and finish your doll afterwards!!! You are a wonderful, understanding and supportive person! Obviously Paulas all stick together 🙂

      Paula

  2. Hi Paula,

    A big comgratulafions on the EA artisans inclusion. I love admiring those pages each year. True Blue is just fabulous! Love to follow your work. Warm Regards,
    Penni

  3. Thanks Penni!
    I always love seeing what everyone else has been creating too 🙂 I hope you and yours are all well.
    Paula

  4. Hi Paula, congrats on the EAL Directory again this year. True Blue is awe-inspiring. She is a proper young lady pure and “True” to her name. I will be looking into getting a August copy just to see your article. Fondly, Mary Goddard.

  5. Mary,
    Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like her. I’ve been having a wonderful time sewing for True Blue. I’ve found some great blue fabrics. 🙂 There is a fantastic article on women’s clothing in the August issue of EAL too with some really lovely photos which I think you would enjoy.
    Paula

  6. Congrats Paula on the EAL Directory. Love blue she is great always love to see what you are doing. Good luck with the wedding my daughter was married last weekend. Oh! The baking and cleaning and family and fun, tis the stuff life is made of.
    Fran

  7. Fran,
    Thank you! Blue is blue through and through, as she has a blue second skin. I’ve been enamored with the blue from the moment I saw it on your real Izannah! Congratulations on your new son-in-law and on making it through the wedding 🙂 Just a week and a half to go here and still so much to do….
    Paula

  8. […] True Blue, who is pictured in the August issue of Early American Life magazine, is now available for sale.  You can read all about how she came into being and her journey to and from the Early American Life p… […]

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