On February 6th The American Craft Council along with The Balvenie declared Douglas Brooks, Vermont Boat Builder, as the winner of the American Craft Council Rare Craft Fellowship Award. The award was presented at an exclusive luncheon at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York City where a select group of influencers including the longest standing Malt Master in history, David Stewart honored the five nominated craftspeople and their respective traditional art forms.
The American Craft Council Rare Craft Fellowship Award in association with The Balvenie recognizes one winner and four finalists who are awarded annually in recognition and support of contributions to the maintenance and revival of traditional or rare crafts in America. To be considered for the Fellowship, individuals must demonstrate a contribution to the preservation of traditional and rare craft techniques, processes, or products and meet a quality criterion. Hundreds were vetted and five were selected as finalists with Douglas Brooks honored as the 2014 Fellow. Brooks will receive an exclusive trip to Scotland and a $10,000 endowment to go towards materials and continuing his craft. The four additional finalists received a $5,000 endowment and a trip to New York City where they showcased their work at the awards luncheon.
The once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scotland awarded to Brooks will provide the Fellow with an opportunity to spend time at the legendary distillery, apprenticing under a local craftsman of his choosing. The two-week Fellowship will feature a week at the historic Balvenie distillery, where Brooks will learn more about the traditional crafts of whisky making while also receiving the rare opportunity to work with legendary malt master David Stewart, who was part of the jury that selected the finalists and awarded Brooks with this unique opportunity.
To illustrate the passion and commitment to craft of the Fellow and the nominees, each of them were showcased in a short film that was premiered at the luncheon. The beautiful films were shot over two months from FYM Productions, a New York City based production company. Click on each of the names below to take a look in to the workshops some of the men and women who are keeping craft alive in America!
Douglass Brooks |Boat Builder Vergennes, Vermont *2014 Fellow
Scott Baxendale | Luthier Athens, Georgia
Stephen Bilenky | Bicycle Builder Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Ubaldo Vitali | Silversmith Newark, New Jersey
Ina Grau | Shoemakers Minneapolis, Minnesota