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Craft Research Fund Talks: The Life and Legacy of Thomas W. Commeraw

Mar 22, 2023

Mar 22


Mar 22, 2023

5:00 pm

6:30 pm










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Join us for a Craft Research Talks program, featuring an intriguing discussion with potter, researcher, and Craft Research Fund recipient, Mark Shapiro, about his research on the complex history of potter Thomas W. Commeraw. Commeraw, who was born enslaved, rose to prominence as a free Black craftsman in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Shapiro recently presented his research in the first-ever exhibition on Commeraw at the New-York Historical Society, on view January 27 - May 28, 2023. He will be in conversation with his co-curators from the New-York Historical Society, Vice President and Museum Director Margi Hofer, and 2020 Craft Research Fund recipient and Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Women's History and Public History, Allison Robinson. The panel will be joined by Center for Craft Grant Program Manager and craft practitioner Mellanee Goodman as the program moderator. Their conversation will be followed by an audience Q&A.

Crafting Freedom: The Life and Legacy of Free Black Potter Thomas W. Commeraw opened at the New-York Historical Society on January 27, 2023, as the first exhibition to bring overdue attention to a skilled craftsman whose racial identity was long overlooked. Crafting Freedom features more than 20 stoneware jars and jugs produced by Commeraw’s pottery between the late 1790s and 1819 alongside examples by his contemporaries, exploring the production, decoration, and markings of these beautiful utilitarian forms. Follow the link to learn more about the exhibition.

Craft Research Talks are supported by the Windgate Foundation.


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