Oral history interview with Harvey K. Littleton

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.little01
Creators:
Littleton, Harvey K.
Byrd, Joan Falconer
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2001 March 15
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
36 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Harvey K. Littleton conducted 2001 March 15, by Joan Falconer Byrd, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Littleton's home, Spruce Pine, N.C.
Scope and Contents
Littleton speaks of his family background including the work of his father [Jesse Talbot Littleton] at Corning Glassworks, and his early experiences with glass at Corning. He discusses his studies at the University of Michigan in physics and his switch to sculpture; his studies at Cranbrook Academy, in 1941, and his teachers Marshall Fredericks and Carl Milles; his studies on industrial design; becoming a potter; and working at Corning Glassworks, in the summers, inspecting hand-blown coffee pots and top-of-the-stove ware. He discusses his service in the 849th Signal Intelligence Unit in North Africa and Italy during WWII; studying with Norah Braden, at the Brighton School of Art, in England; the importance of, "A Potter's Book," by Bernard Leach; teaching pottery at night, in Ann Arbor, Michigan; the beginnings of the Ann Arbor Potters Guild; making his own potters' wheels; serving on the board of Penland School of Crafts; the development of "American" art and the impact of the GI Bill on the creation and expansion of art departments; the "master-slave apprentice system"; "the genius of Shoji Hamada"; the properties of porcelain; artist communities at Penland and Cranbrook; the influence of Bill Brown, director of the Penland School of Crafts; art education and the impact of the MFA; Black Mountain College, Pilchuck Glass School, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; problems with the European educational system; the importance of Erwin Eisch's work on his development; his relationship with galleries and museums, particularly the Museum of Modern Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and American Craft Museum; and consignment laws. He also comments on the founding of the Midwest Designer Craftsmen; his involvement with the American Crafts Council (ACC) and the distinction between "the indigenous craftsman" and the "artist-craftsman"; American Crafts Council fairs; his printmaking; his techniques of sandblasting; teaching vitreography; and his plans for opening a print gallery. He recalls Charles Eames, Peter Voulkos, Shoji Hamada, Robert Turner, Dante Marioni, Fritz Dreisbach, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Harvey K. Littleton (1922- ) is a glass artist, potter, sculptor, and printmaker from Wisconsin and Spruce Pine, N.C. Joan Falconer Byrd (1939-) ia a professor in the art department of Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C.

Administration
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 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 10 min.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Glass artists -- North Carolina -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Potters -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pottery -- Study and teaching -- United States. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- North Carolina -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Prints -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Braden, Norah, 1901- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brown, William J. (William Joseph), 1923-1992 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dreisbach, Fritz Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eames, Charles Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eisch, Erwin, 1927- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hamada, Shōji, 1894-1978 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marioni, Dante, 1964- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Milles, Carl, 1875-1955 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Turner, Robert Chapman, 1913-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Craft Council Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ann Arbor Potters Guild Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Corning Glass Works Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Midwest Designer-Craftsmen Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Penland School of Handicrafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pilchuck School Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Renwick Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of Michigan -- Students 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

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/