History of Alabama Designer Craftsmen
In 1972, some leading craftsmen in the Birmingham area who were friends because of their common interests in art and fine crafts decided to organize as a formal group. They chose the name, ALABAMA DESIGNER CRAFTSMEN. Lowell Vann, Head of the Art Department at Samford University, was instrumental in bringing the group together. The group set out their goals and with a few alterations they are still in use today. One of their primary interests was to have the opportunity to show their work in a gallery like setting with an educational and festival atmosphere. Lowell Vann, working with Gary Gerlach then the Executive Director of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, led the group in producing the annual art show at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In the following years, with a few exceptions, the show has been held at that location. Over the years the format of the show has changed somewhat as has much of the membership, but it continues to be the outstanding event of the ALABAMA DESIGNER CRAFTSMEN year. With a steadily growing membership and additions of various craft media, the exhibiting artists are always searching for ways to help the people of Alabama appreciate the fine crafts, both traditional and contemporary. The art show always includes an educational component with artists demonstrating their crafts “in the making” and a Children’s Area in which professional craftsmen assist the young attendees in making a craft project. The organization’s profit from the show is used to finance craft orientated outreach to schools and craftsmen.
All members of ALABAMA DESIGNER CRAFTSMEN, whether exhibiting or supporting, look to each other for inspiration and exchange of information to maintain high standards of design and craftsmanship. It is the goal of each member to promote an appreciation of the aesthetic value of crafts as well as the utilitarian function they might serve.