Freehand Gallery - an LA Icon in Contemporary Craft September 08 2014
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Freehand Gallery, a Los Angeles institution in contemporary, american craft. The gallery is located on famous West Third Street and was one of the first memorable stores I visited when I moved to LA over 20 years ago.
porcelain artist leslie rosdal
fiber artist michael rohde
Owner Carol Sauvion started Freehand "to offer the finest craft." She has survived and prospered despite critics' initial warnings against selling "handmade" functional craft. Savion's business philosophy is simple - "Freehand is a haven where there is only one degree of separation between the maker and the client."
Sauvion and her staff find artists from a variety of sources. Many are found from craft shows, the internet, and from direct artist visits to the gallery. They look for refined craft, and are highly selective in the artists they represent working in the areas of porcelain/ceramics, wood, fiber, and jewelry. I am so honored to have my blocks represented at Freehand among so many well-know artists.
In addition to Freehand Gallery, Sauvion started a non-profit organization, Craft In America, based next door to the gallery. The organization's purpose is " to increase awareness of the fine crafts that are being made in America and the community of people who are dedicated to a life in this unique art form." Craft In America has produced a television series through PBS, written a book on the history of crafts, started a website to provide a place for learning, and now has a study center open to the public.
I visited Craft in America's current exhibition, "Body Conscious" representing fiber artists working in and around the framework of the human body.
Freehand Gallery is indeed a haven for everything in functional, contemporary American craft. And a destination stop for a unique, thoughtful handmade gift.