by Jen Allen
May 8, 2015 marked 70 years since the end of World War II. The link between contemporary crafts and the US military is a compelling measure of the power that the arts and crafts have to heal and to communicate. As a granddaughter of two WWII veterans, I felt it was an appropriate time to revisit Craft in America’s brilliant focus on Service (see link to video below).
While preparing for a recent artist presentation, I sifted through old photos that my grandfather, Bryan Allen, took during WWII. As an official WWII combat photographer, my grandfather saw things that I can't even begin to wrap my head around. Though he captured a lot of gut-wrenching images of war, he also took a handful of photos of fellow serviceman as they unwrapped care packages/read letters from their loved ones back home. I find these suspended moments of joy particularly powerful.
When my grandfather returned home from the war, he pursued a career as a studio artist where he primarily focused on nature photography. This lovely little image of a chickadee was one that has hung in my bedroom since I was a child. I am so grateful for his service and to the beauty he shared through his camera lens. Most of all, I am honored to call him family.
Follow this link to view Craft in America episode XIII: Service