Raleigh Rambles

John Dancy-Jones at large!

BMC Conference 2013 Zooms in on Craft

after Anni Albers

after Red Meander by Anni Albers, silkscreen on hand-laid paper by JDJ

I never got around to posting about the wonderful BMC conference in 2012, but I’m getting a head start on this one!  Above is a small souvenir/artwork which I will be distributing at the 2013 event October 11-13, a project inspired by Anni Albers’ fabric art entitled “Red Meander,” and also by the book in which I encountered the image, written by Christopher Benfey.  Benfey is keynote speaker at this year’s conference, which as always includes a rich array of scholarly and creative responses to the legacy and spirit of Black Mountain College,from the dissection of BMC/Bauhaus connections to the performance poetry of Ted Pope.

Benfey’s book is called Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay, and is a unique family memoir that ranges far and near in exploring the connections of art, craft, and history to be found in his family history and connections. Anni Albers was Benfey’s aunt, and figures largely into his take on the relationships among artisan craft, creativity, and authenticity in artistic processes.  I was very impressed with his insight regarding a productive tension Benfey discerns in the threads of influence to be found at Black Mountain College – that between calm, disciplined and reflective approaches and the unfettered spontaneity made famous by the Happenings at BMC.

This year’s conference promises to cover that same range of possibilities, with presentations on archive resources, technical poetics, action painting, transcendent pottery, the BMC print shop, and multiple assessments of the importance of Anni Albers and her husband Josef Albers.  Looking forward to it.


dome at BMC conferenceBucky forms at BMC conference

Bucky Bubbles!

The 2012 BMC conference, held at UNC-A and organized by The Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, centered on Buckminster fuller and the ways his ideas, many generated at BMC, have influenced our world.  I would love to write about the ideas presented eventually, but above are thumbnails of a big highlight of 2012 – the outdoor technology fair that offered hands-on experiences of some of Fuller’s concepts.  Click to enlarge, and be sure to check out this wonderful annual event sometime!

Bibliophile post about the making of the Meander print

Meander screenand inks

Raleigh Rambles Black Mountain College page

follow-up post reviewing BMC conference 2013

October 9, 2013 - Posted by | art, Black Mountain, reflection | , , , ,


  1. john, thank you so much for your beautiful print/work of art. what a wonderful convergence of anni albers’ fabric art and chris benfey’s moving book. your work is currently showing in my hotel room http://bit.ly/1en0qXq but soon it will be in my office. thank you.

    Comment by david silver | October 15, 2013

  2. david silver, thanks for the kind words and I’m so glad everyone enjoyed the prints. A favorite part of this year’s conference, just as last, were your anecdotes, practical understanding and profound insights concerning the farm at BMC. We currently raise food and chickens 2 blocks from the Governor’s mansion in Raleigh, and will be working almost a full intensive acre just north of Asheville by 2016, so you are helping me anticipate some pretty wonderful convergences in my interests! Looking forward to your book on the BMC farm.

    Comment by raleighnaturalist | October 15, 2013

  3. thanks for the kind words. i love sharing my research, especially with this crowd!

    i would love to see your garden and chickens the next time i’m in raleigh. there’s so much urban ag going on in raleigh and next time i’m there i’d like to see your plot. and the soon-to-be acre plot near asheville sounds awesome.

    Comment by david silver | October 16, 2013

  4. […] in the mid twentieth century. Christopher Benfey, the featured speaker whose ideas I discussed in the previous post, gave a keynote speech which emphasized a similar theme: “Starting at Zero!” Get your […]

    Pingback by Book Arts, Farming Fueled Black Mountain College « Raleigh Rambles | November 26, 2013

  5. […] Pingback: BMC Conference 2013 Zooms in on Craft « Raleigh Rambles […]

    Pingback by Screenprinting Again After 30 Years | The Bibliophile- book arts & bibliomania | August 24, 2014

  6. […] the phrases to read about these pieces. Fish by Ted Pope, Harper Lee bookmark(BMC Museum workshop), Red Meander, Cut-up, Jacob Lawrence, John Dewey on […]

    Pingback by Utopian Dreams at Fruitlands Museum « Raleigh Rambles | October 21, 2020

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