East Aurora Advertiser

RALA Heads to National Conference in February

The Roycrofters-At-Large Association (RALA) recently announced that they have been invited to curate the Roycroft historical exhibit at the 36th annual National Arts & Crafts Conference at the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.  The event runs from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19.

The Roycroft Renaissance mark, designed by Rix Jennings in 1976 and used by all RALA artisans.

Roycroft Master Artisan Thomas Pafk and local artist Tami Fuller have been tasked with the responsibility of drawing together examples of modern Roycroft work with artifacts from the Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum, in collaboration with the Aurora Historical Society. The pair toured the Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum and consulted with museum Director Robb Mair in November 2022 to identify initial selections of early work from the Hubbard archives and have been reviewing submissions from present-day Roycroft artisans throughout the month of January to create the exhibit. They toured the museum a final time on Jan. 30 and selected work to be safeguarded, packed and shipped to the conference in February.

“The Evolution of Roycroft” will be one of two educational displays for attendees at the conference, together with “The Women of Weller Pottery,” by the American Art Pottery Association.

The National Arts & Crafts Conference is the longest-running Arts & Crafts conference in the country and has set the bar for collectors and modern artisans working in the movement since 1988. Since its construction, the Grove Park Inn has been called “the finest resort hotel in the world.” Today the Omni Grove Park Inn (GPI) is considered the world’s finest Arts & Crafts resort. Originally built on the slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1913, the Roycroft shops of East Aurora were contracted to outfit the furniture and lighting fixtures of the hotel, and many original elements of Roycroft are still present in the inn today. Each year, Arts & Crafts collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world gather at the GPI.

Grove Park Inn, Home of the National Arts & Crafts Conference, contains fixtures and elements from the original Roycroft Masters here in East Aurora.
Image/Omni Grove Park Inn

In addition to the display, the Roycrofters-at-Large (RALA) will make final ticket sales and draw the winner for the 2022-23 “Goodie Box,” which debuted at the June 2022 Summer Festival, at the close of the show on February 19. The box, valued at over $5,000 and inspired as a nod to Elbert Hubbard’s original “goodie box” concept, contains items created by Roycroft Artisans. This year’s box was created by Master Artisan Howard Lehning and includes a one-of-kind previously unknown silver worked ring box by founding member and Master Artisan Alburn Sleeper, donated from his private collection by his estate in his honor. The “goodie box” is a tradition of the organization for over 20-years, and is the backbone of its non-profit fund-raising initiatives.

Raffle tickets for the box can be purchased locally up until Sat., Feb. 11 at the RALA Schoolhouse Gallery, located at 1054 Olean Road. The winner need not be present at the conference, and multiple entries are allowed.

Information on the Roycrofters-at-Large and membership options can be found online at www.ralaweb.com. Follow the Roycrofters-At Large Association’s social media pages on Facebook and Instagram, @roycroftartisans, for updates and information. Information on the National Arts & Crafts Conference can be found at arts-craftsconference.com.

The Elbert Hubbard Museum is located at 363 Oakwood Avenue and is managed under the direction of the Aurora Historical Society. It is open for visitors by appointment after April 1, 2023. Call the museum at 716-652-5980 or aurorahistoricalsociety.com.

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