The Guild Council

The Guild Council Program at Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art supports the dynamic relationship between regional artist-based organizations, the Museum and the College. It is dedicated to supporting the Museum’s mission through participation in selected community events, rotating displays of artwork in the Community Showcase and educational initiatives, as well as bringing together and strengthening the local craft community.

The focus of the Guild Council Program is on education, outreach, advocacy, collaboration and skill. By connecting makers in all arenas, the Guild Council Program provides a unique opportunity to shape future generations through knowledge of craft and craft-based practices.

Community Showcase

The Community Showcase, located in The Lab on the Museum’s second floor, exhibits outstanding community artwork as well as featured partnership projects. A different guild or artist collective from the Guild Council Program is featured in the Community Showcase every 4 to 6 weeks. Each display demonstrates an investigation into a specific media or way of working, linked to but different from the main exhibitions on view. Visit the Community Showcase to experience the diversity of artistic practices currently taking place in Portland.

On View

John Henry Tweets
A Project of Cumbersome Multiples
November 25, 2014 – January 31, 2015

John Henry Tweets is a mash-up: Twitter meets antique wooden moveable type. Rather than folk legend John Henry’s race against the steam drill, this contest is between physical and digital typesetting. Every letter matters, whether one is handwriting on a page, setting type on a letterpress, or watching the Twitter character countdown.

Throughout 2014, Cumbersome Multiples documented public gatherings of thinkers, artists, and writers through on-site printmaking. Phrases from talks were set in antique wooden type and printed in grey ink on cardstock as the programs progressed. Wet prints were pulled from a Line-O-Scribe proofing press and taped to the wall to create an immediate record—the real-time Twitter feed, reimagined.

The John Henry project uncovers the connective tissue between various public programs by distilling the emergent themes. Generally, audiences attend a lecture based on vocational interests; for example, architects filled seats to hear Metropolis publisher Susan Szenasy, and writers flocked to hear poet and activist, Joy Harjo. It is the combination of the speaker’s words met by the enthusiasm of an audience that creates an engaging program. Cumbersome Multiples seeks to capture this texture. Across the lectures, the voices from different sectors created a choir of discernible themes interpreted through John Henry Tweets as: The Built Environment; Private Lives in Public Places, and Songs for the Trail, Voices and Blankets.

In the spirit of cross-pollination, Cumbersome Multiples has excerpted and recombined a selection of John Henry Tweets for this Community Showcase exhibit. In January, a new collection of broadsides will be made during Samiya Bashir’s reading of her poem Corongraphy. Fittingly, the poem illuminates the interior voices of John Henry and his wife Polly Ann. The text moves easily off the page into performance. Cumbersome Multiples will engage with the text in two distinct ways: first, through a real-time print response to the poem’s call during a performance held here in the Lab; and second, by continuing to produce limited-edition broadsides throughout the month of January as part of an accompanying Gallery Storefront Residency in MoCC’s Gallery Store.


First Thursday Reception
December 4, 2014, 6pm – 8pm
The Lab

Samiya Bashir reads Corongraphy
January 8, 2015, 6:30pm
The Lab

Cumbersome Multiples Gallery Storefront Residency
January 8 – 31, 2013
The Gallery Store

John Henry Tweets is grateful for a very generous grant from Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Artist Demonstrations

As part of the Guild Council Program and in conjunction with their Community Showcase display of artwork, local guild artists demonstrate their media-specific techniques and skills, in a casual environment where Museum visitors can ask questions and connect with local crafters.

Visit the calendar for more information about upcoming Community Showcases and Guild Artist Demonstrations.