Oral history interview with Harlan Butt

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.butt09
Creators:
Butt, Harlan W., 1950-
Riedel, Mija, 1958-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2009 July 27-28
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7 Items
Sound recording: 7 sound files (5 hr., 19 min.)
digital, wav
90 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Harlan W. Butt conducted 2009 July 27-28, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Butt's studio, in Ptarmigan Meadows, Colorado.
Scope and Contents
Harlan Butt speaks of the influence of Asian art on his work; the use of text and imagery in his work; the use of pattern in his work; his undergraduate minor in weaving; the influence of Asian religion and mythology; series The Earth Beneath Our Feet , Garden Anagogies, and Snakes in Heaven; his childhood growing up in Hopewell, New Jersey, near Princeton; undergraduate work at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; discovery of Buddhism and Eastern religions; his mother's death when he was 20; studying with Stanley Lechtzin and Elliot Pujol at Tyler; graduate school at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; interest in Japanese tea ceremony; more exploration of Zen Buddhism; use of color in his work; studying with L. Brent Kington; reliquary series; move to Connecticut in 1974; second trip to Japan in 1984 to co-curate Kyoto Metal: An Exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Art Metalwork; introduction to Japanese system of artisan apprenticeship; early efforts as a writer and poet; the influence of poet Gary Snyder; summer teaching position at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; teaching job at San Diego [California] State University in the mid-1970s; rattles and pipes series; exploring the Western landscape; the power of the snake image; taking a teaching position at University of North Texas, Denton (1976- ); first trip to Japan in 1980; differences in artisanal/metalworking practices in Japan and the United States; teaching workshops at various craft schools, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina; Haystack School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine; and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, compared with teaching in a university; the pros and cons of the gallery system; work with the Nancy Yaw Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan; the challenge of commission work; National Parks Project, Denton Center for the Visual Arts, Denton, Texas; the role of haiku and text in his pieces; series 1,001 Views of Mt. Mu; series Snakes in Heaven; the influence of his wife and children; trip to India and organizing Colour & Light: The Art and Craft of Enamel on Metal, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, 2001; trip to Australia; involvement with the Society of North American Goldsmiths, Enamelist Society, and American Craft Council; subtle issues of environmentalism in his work; his affinity for metalsmithing and enameling. He also recalls [Rudolf] Staffel, Robert Winokur, Italo Scanga, Jan Brooks, Mike Riegel, Rachelle Thiewes, Eleanor Moty, Albert Paley, Shumei Tanaka, Ken Glantz (Ken Chowder), Randy Thelma Coles, Sandy Green, Mickey McCarter, Gene Pijanowski, Hiroko Pijanowski, Toshihiro Yamanaka, Helen Shirk, Ana Lopez, and Sarah Perkins.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Harlan W. Butt (1950- ) is an artist, metalsmith, and educator in Denton, Texas. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is a writer and independent scholar in San Francisco, California.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript available online.
Author
Sponsor
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

General
General
Originally recorded on 4 sound mini discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 19 min.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art, Asian Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art teachers -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Buddhism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metal-workers -- Texas -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weaving -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Australia -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
India -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Japan -- Description and Travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brooks, Jan Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glantz, Ken Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Japanese tea ceremony Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lechtzin, Stanley, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moty, Eleanor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paley, Albert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pijanowski, Eugene, 1938- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pijanowski, Hiroko Sato, 1942- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pujol, Elliot Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scanga, Italo, 1932-2001 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shirk, Helen Z., 1942- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Snyder, Gary, 1930- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Staffel, Rudolf, 1911-2002 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Winokur, Robert, 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Craft Council Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Enamelist Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Penland School of Crafts -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rhode Island School of Design -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
San Diego State University -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Society of North American Goldsmiths Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tyler School of Art -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of North Texas -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/