American Craft Council Open Studios: Terry Holzgreen


The pandemic has pushed pause on many wonderful industry events that we depend on for discovering talented artists. However, the American Craft Council did not let the physical limitations on gathering deter their annual efforts to share the work of a diverse set of California makers. This week, they launched Craft Week, a virtual presentation of the Bay Area’s thriving handmade community through an e-commerce platform that allows you to shop and learn about the participating artists. Today, we launch a series of interviews with select Council members that are creating rare, handmade pieces for the design community, including Terry Holzgreen who makes art furniture and accessories out of wood.

-Tell us who you are, what you make, and how you make it. My name is Terry Holzgreen.  I am a full time artist working in wood.  I make art works and art furniture using all the sensibilities and skills developed over three decades as a cabinetmaker producing residential and commercial work for private clients, contractors and architects throughout L.A.

-Why are you participating in San Francisco Bay Area Craft Week? Last summer I showed my work for the first time as part of the ACC Hip Pop program for emerging artists.  I packed my truck and hit the road before daybreak with a strong cup of Peet’s coffee propelling me northward.  I came away from the week-end having had great attendee response, the top award for the emerging artist group and ample sales.  During the show, Balvenie Scotch, sponsored an evening that was held at a store called Batch.  As a result, Lindsay Meyer, Batch’s founder took 20 of my pieces on consignment which were then used in the staging of a model condominium for a newly completed building in Dogpatch.  A few months later I was contacted by the editor of American Craft, the bi-monthly publication of ACC, informing me that I was going to be profiled in an upcoming issue.  All and all a good ride, that S.F. show.

With the Covid situation shutting down everything I had going, and coming, including an art residency at the Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia, it was a welcome surprise to see that ACC was taking the SF show online and I was thrilled to be invited.  I will be using this show to showcase the wide range of pieces I make from the larger furniture works to my tiny lidded boxes.  What will be on display for the first time for this show is a new series I have just started exploring of small asymmetrical bowl shapes, inspired by a ceramicist I met this winter at the ACC Baltimore show named Andrew Sartorius.  Another way in which the ACC experience continues to support and feed my artistic life.

As a California-based artist, how do your surroundings/environment impact your work/practice or process?  I am a California native and lived most of life in Los Angeles.  I have been collecting wood from local urban trees for many years taken by the huge variety on our streets.  That collection is now making up a large part of what ends up in my final pieces.  There is something special about the experience of knowing the entire story of where the materials originated and how they came into my possession.  It adds to the story and character of the pieces, an added layer of meaning that I find particularly satisfying.  

Why is it important to center or bring craft into our social or daily lives? It is the same kind of connection that I think is felt when seeing and living with a one of a kind, hand crafted piece.  There is something entirely enriching about living with those kinds of objects that evoke and impart something deeper and distinct.  That can be about beauty or nature or creativity or wonder.   They are things that touch places inside us in unique ways that we don’t entirely understand and that is, in part, why we love them both as makers and collectors.

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