8413 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, California 90048
TUE – SAT
12PM – 6PM
Carol Sauvion opened Freehand Gallery, a fine craft store, in 1980. The gallery, located in the heart of Los Angeles in the West 3rd Street district, offers expertly crafted, one-of-a-kind objects made by artists nationwide. For 42 years Sauvion has welcomed customers in store and now online, making it an essential destination for the handmade. Sauvion grew up in Philadelphia, PA and is a craftsperson herself. As a potter, she would spend 12-hour days at the wheel, giving her a deep understanding of the skill required to master a craft. She learned under the mentorship of artist Toshi Seeger, who gave Sauvion her start in the crafts.
She sold her work at galleries and craft shows for years but eventually came to realize that her true calling was promoting craft and the work of other artists. Sauvion’s expert eye and passion for craft have contributed to the Freehand’s long-standing success.
Sauvion has built strong relationships with all types of craft artists in the years the store has been in business: ceramists, jewelers, woodworkers, fiber, and glass artists. California master jeweler Michael Bayes has been selling exclusively through Freehand since the store opened and has a devoted following. Massachusetts studio Fritz Glass handblown tumblers are a longtime customer favorite. Artists from coast to coast inquire about selling at Freehand, and many local artists find a supportive, inspiring home for their work.
In 1996, after 16 years of selling the finest contemporary craft to local customers at Freehand, Sauvion noticed that craft was still an underrecognized art form. She felt the best way to remedy this was to put craft on television. She created the Craft in America series, and after years of planning, the first episode aired on PBS in 2007 and received the Peabody Award. As of 2022, the series has produced 27 episodes, taking viewers on intriguing and often emotional journeys through the lives, histories and processes of American craft artists. The series is a celebration of the handmade and its significant impact.
Sauvion continues to oversee Freehand Gallery, the Craft in America series, and the Craft in America Center, next door to Freehand – a space for exhibitions, events, and education. When she opened Freehand four decades ago, Sauvion had no idea that a loyal clientele would still be shopping at Freehand today. You will often find these longtime customers shopping on Saturdays because they know Carol will be there, and they know she will help them find what they are looking for: something unique, something handmade.
Since the pandemic, craft has seen a resurgence, with makers of all levels creating everything from masks to quilts to furniture. Sauvion has spent much of her life promoting and documenting craft, and now it seems that craft is more important than ever. It is a uniting force in a time of division and a meditative activity in a time of increased anxiety. Craft is universal; craft is us.
“Whatever happens, the handmade endures.” – Carol Sauvion
For all inquiries, please contact Madison Metro, Lily Sterling, or Terry de Castro at: [email protected]
Freehand in the News
“Long before Third Street was considered a trendy shopping destination, Freehand was a well-established hub for contemporary craft aficionados. A cross between a gallery and a retail store, it carries jewelry, textiles, glass, wood and ceramics made by an international group of artists.” – Citysearch.com