2022 | Ferrin Contemporary | North Adams, MA

Manifest Destiny (Currier & Ives ) Set

Bing & Grondahl limited edition Currier and Ives plates; porcelain, decal, print decal Garth Johnson

This series of altered Currier & Ives collector plates explores themes of westward expansion and American entitlement.



b. in Lincoln, Nebraska, lives and works in Syracuse, NY

As a writer, curator, artist and educator, Garth Johnson is a self-described craft activist who explores craft’s influence and relevance in the 21st century. He is the Paul Phillips and Sharon Sullivan Curator of Ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. He was formerly the curator at the Arizona State University Ceramics Research Center. He also served as the artistic director at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and was an associate professor at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California.

Johnson’s works celebrate the history of ceramic objects and their ability to convey status. He often juxtaposes common vessel forms like plastic containers and soap bottles with gold or silver handles taken from fine silver coffee and teapots.


“My family has a huge problem with craft. My mother and father participated in just about every craft fad that I can remember. Wire art, macrame, and decoupage in the 70’s, and stained glass in the 80’s. My mother is an insane quilter, my Aunt Barbara a glass painter. One great-grandfather was a blacksmith, another collected and carved gemstones. I was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska, attended art school at the University of Nebraska, then got my MFA in ceramics at Alfred University. Craft has dogged me all my life. I love it, I hate it, I write about it because it seems totally alive to me. Craft hard!” – Garth Johnson