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Oral history interview with Harvey K. Littleton

Interviewee:
Littleton, Harvey K.  Search this
Interviewer:
Byrd, Joan Falconer  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
American Craft Council  Search this
Ann Arbor Potters Guild  Search this
Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)  Search this
Corning Glass Works  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  Search this
Midwest Designer-Craftsmen  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Penland School of Handicrafts  Search this
Pilchuck School  Search this
Renwick Gallery  Search this
University of Michigan -- Students  Search this
Braden, Norah, 1901-  Search this
Brown, William J. (William Joseph), 1923-1992  Search this
Dreisbach, Fritz  Search this
Eames, Charles  Search this
Eisch, Erwin, 1927-  Search this
Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998  Search this
Hamada, Shōji, 1894-1978  Search this
Marioni, Dante, 1964-  Search this
Milles, Carl, 1875-1955  Search this
Turner, Robert Chapman, 1913-2005  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
36 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 March 15
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Harvey K. Littleton conducted 2001 March 15, by Joan Falconer Byrd, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Littleton's home, Spruce Pine, N.C.
Littleton speaks of his family background including the work of his father [Jesse Talbot Littleton] at Corning Glassworks, and his early experiences with glass at Corning. He discusses his studies at the University of Michigan in physics and his switch to sculpture; his studies at Cranbrook Academy, in 1941, and his teachers Marshall Fredericks and Carl Milles; his studies on industrial design; becoming a potter; and working at Corning Glassworks, in the summers, inspecting hand-blown coffee pots and top-of-the-stove ware. He discusses his service in the 849th Signal Intelligence Unit in North Africa and Italy during WWII; studying with Norah Braden, at the Brighton School of Art, in England; the importance of, "A Potter's Book," by Bernard Leach; teaching pottery at night, in Ann Arbor, Michigan; the beginnings of the Ann Arbor Potters Guild; making his own potters' wheels; serving on the board of Penland School of Crafts; the development of "American" art and the impact of the GI Bill on the creation and expansion of art departments; the "master-slave apprentice system"; "the genius of Shoji Hamada"; the properties of porcelain; artist communities at Penland and Cranbrook; the influence of Bill Brown, director of the Penland School of Crafts; art education and the impact of the MFA; Black Mountain College, Pilchuck Glass School, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; problems with the European educational system; the importance of Erwin Eisch's work on his development; his relationship with galleries and museums, particularly the Museum of Modern Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and American Craft Museum; and consignment laws. He also comments on the founding of the Midwest Designer Craftsmen; his involvement with the American Crafts Council (ACC) and the distinction between "the indigenous craftsman" and the "artist-craftsman"; American Crafts Council fairs; his printmaking; his techniques of sandblasting; teaching vitreography; and his plans for opening a print gallery. He recalls Charles Eames, Peter Voulkos, Shoji Hamada, Robert Turner, Dante Marioni, Fritz Dreisbach, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Harvey K. Littleton (1922- ) is a glass artist, potter, sculptor, and printmaker from Wisconsin and Spruce Pine, N.C. Joan Falconer Byrd (1939-) ia a professor in the art department of Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 10 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Topic:
Glass artists -- North Carolina -- Interviews  Search this
Potters -- Interviews  Search this
Pottery -- Study and teaching -- United States.  Search this
Printmakers -- North Carolina -- Interviews  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.little01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw961daf4d2-b6dd-486c-8664-b04a9b099d65
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-little01
Online Media:

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