The American Craft Council has announced its 2020 ACC Award winners. Among the recipients are renowned glass artists Joyce Scott, who takes home the highly coveted Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship prize, and Katherine Gray, who was accepted into the ACC College of Fellows. The Gold Medal is the most prestigious award given by the council acknowledging a lifetime of achievements. Acceptance into the College of Fellows represents "an outstanding contribution to the crafts in America."
Joyce Scott has had a long career as an artist working with a variety of mediums including sculpting, quilting, performance art, and installation art. She is particularly known for her politically charged work with glass beads. The rawness reflected in the composition of beads both disarms and challenges the viewer, who might understand the glass medium as more traditionally smooth through manipulation of the material itself. Scott uses humor in this way, emphasizing the content matter of her work which addresses stereotypes, oppression and sexual violence. As Paul J Stankard wrote in 2014 for the Fall 2014 edition (Glass #136), "Scott finds that people are more vulnerable when laughing, and are more likely to open up and discuss violence in concrete terms beyond abstract values." The work is presented in a way that forces the viewer to reconsider and reflect upon the subjects Scott is addressing.
Katherine Gray's diverse body of work consists of a variety of blown glass pieces as well as installations of found glass, including the well-known Forest Glass (2009). The sublime dynamics of glass along with the more every day experience of glass is explored in her work. According to her website, Gray understands her work as "vacillating between a state of mundane familiarity and otherworldly perfection." Gray has also appeared as a judge on the Netflix show, Blown Away. She is currently a professor at California State University, San Bernardino.
A formal awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at the Baltimore Museum of Art.