Banjos and guitars on Craft In America

crafts_in_americaCraft In America is both an organization dedicated to promoting handcrafted art and useables in the United States, and a PBS television series celebrating the best of what is currently being produced. They maintain the Craft In America Center in Los Angeles and have produced an illustrated, hard cover book from their work to date.

Each television episode centers on one particular aspect of the crafting world. 13 have been produced since the show’s launch in 2007, covering topics like Service, Industry, Holiday, and Celebration.

The newest episode, due to premiere November 20, covers Music and the many talented instrument crafters working in the industry today. Producers and a film crew visited the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA, banjo maker Jim Hartel in Franklin, NY, and Monette Trumpets in Portland, OR.

Another trip took them to Afton, VA where Stelling Banjos are made in a rustic shop on the side of Afton Mountain. There they interviewed Geoff Stelling and had him show off his collection of highly decorative banjos he has made over the years. A video tease for the Music show includes many of these ornate and extremely detailed instruments.


A similar journey to Pennsylvania allowed them to visit with CF Martin historian Dick Boak, who took the crew for a look at a number of significant guitars in the company’s collection, including a peek at their 1,000,000th guitar, an impossibly sumptuous and elaborate instrument built in 2004.


The Music episode will begin airing November 20, but viewers are advised to check local PBS listings to verify when it will be broadcast in their area. Affiliate stations often schedule syndicated programs at different times.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.