From personal adornment and ritual regalia to murals and shrines, artists and artisans motivated by devotion and requirements for worship enliven expressions of faith through their craft. Some makers are professionals with years of training in a formal workshop setting. Others volunteer their time and skill as devotional acts, dedicating years, sometimes decades, of training to their craft. Either way, religion sets the stage for these artists to facilitate creative encounters through their art.
At home and in community halls, tables are filled with food made by hand for holidays, rites of passage, and celebrations. Some American food traditions were born out of and are sustained by religious communities. Whether preparing a Christmas dinner or volunteering at the langar (community kitchen) at a Sikh gurdwara, makers of faith contribute to body and soul nourishing meals across the country.
At the 2023 Folklife Festival, we will invite a diverse collective of makers, both on and off the National Mall, who will demonstrate their work and share stories about being called to their craft, how they learned what they do, and the roles they and their creations play in ritual and everyday life. They will discuss the joys, challenges, and resonances of their practices through conversation and demonstration.