Sunday, February 24, 2013

Nice to meet you.... the ACC Fine Craft Show in Baltimore

This past Friday I had the chance to attend the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, MD. If you are not familiar with the ACC they are " national, nonprofit educational organization founded in 1943...  to promote understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft... Their website is a wealth of fantastic articles and resources. Their shows - 4 across the country annually - are premier events. And the ACC publishes the magazine "American Craft" which I find interesting and inspiration across mediums. 

My friend Marsha and I headed up Friday morning, and spent a full day there - managing to walk the whole show of 650 artists. Marsha and I both work in clay, so clay and jewelry were our focus - and we neglected giving a detailed look to many fabulous fiber, wood, and glass artists. There simply wasn't time.... 

It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and chat with the artists. When I do arts festivals - I meet and chat with my customers; we all do... so when the shoe is on the other foot! When I get to talk glaze with Valerie Bunnell, or ivory with Lisa Cylinder... what a treat! Let me introduce you to some of the jewelry artists I had the pleasure of meeting. Some I knew previously through their work, others were brand new to me... 

Kathleen Dustin - If there was a Queen of Polymer I think it would be Kathleen. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to her - and we never even discussed the clay! But I have known her work since the late 80's and to chat - a pleasure!
real wood, polymer faux stones. 
"Seed Bead" - polymer and pearls. 

"Nigella pod" wrist purse. 8"

Lisa and Scott Cylinder/Chickenscratch Jewelry  - Whimsical, intelligent pieces with a focus on reclaimed materials. There was a story in each piece - and it enriched the experience to hear them! The reclaimed piano parts, ivory and the challenges it presents, we even talked music, and hair... 
Vintage enameled watch face as birds head - pierced on the back to reveal numbers. 

Jackie Haines - Lovely seed bead work, at times incorporating PMC components also. 

Brandon Holschuh - Organic designs in metal, reminiscent of pods and geodes. His booth and display was one of the best of the day. I flipped through his book -The Jeweler's Studio Handbook -  while Marsha was chatting with him. Clear, interesting, may have to add it to my wish list. 

Stacey Lee Webber - jeweler/sculptor working with coinage and hardware... 
Mercury Dime pendant
Screw necklace. 
Abe's lucky locket ring

Roberta and David Williamson - Fantastical, stunning mixed media pieces integrating antique images, found objects... 

There was so much to see, and just fantastic work exhibited. If you are in the mood for more, browse the list of artists at the ACC site. And I will be doing a series of posts on my blog with more artists and more work from  the show - please stop by!

Do you ever attend shows like these? Tell me your thoughts.  What artists do you wish you could meet and chat with? 



  1. So much wonderful stuff!! I have to say the polymer at the top really catches my fancy. I have similar designs in the back of my head and I'm trying to do more polymer so this is very inspiring!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a wonderful day to spend with you Jenny! I think the day was meant to be as both of our schedules cleared at the last minute and our regular responsibilities were pushed aside and we giddily spent the day surrounded by art and artists. It takes a lot of time and effort to make art work. To pull it all together and show it off in a venue like this in such a professional manner is just beyond me. You need such great focus not only in your body of work, but in the way you display it, the way you talk to potential customers, the way you handle sales, and all those little details.

    Some things that I personally enjoyed "as a shopper" were:
    1. Artists that we not stuck up and too beyond a nice "hello".
    2. Artists that listed prices on all their work.
    3. Artists that listed the media of their work.
    4. Artists that had their name, their business name, booth number, and where they were from all clearly visible.
    5. Artists that had business cards readily available.
    6. Artists that had QR codes to scan with my smart phone so I did not have to take a card.
    7. Artists that had a range of retail priced items. I could appreciate the beauty in all the work there at the show. Work that was priced to sell at retail for $150, $300 right up through $2500+ was great to see, but right now, they are not in my range. And obviously the higher end ones, I'm not in their target market. However artists that had pieces that related to their body of work, and were priced in the $25 to $80 retail range - those were totally in my range. And I came home with a couple of great finds that I will appreciate and use and remember spending time talking to that artist about their work. And those artists, I'm bound to go back and buy more of their work as my budget for artwork increases.

    What a wonderful day! I love attending such fine art and craft shows!
    PS - Jenny and I were totally chatting about artists we know here through these Art and Jewelry related groups that should have their work in shows like that.

    Overall - keep making work that makes you happy and set goals for yourself. Maybe you too one day could be selling work in a show like this :)

  3. This sound like a wonderful opportunity to see the best of the best in craft. It would be so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Glad you liked the post people. Wish we could all go on an AJE field trip! Marsha - I agree with you whole heartedly! Yes, and Yes, and Yes.

  5. Wow great post - what wonderful show. Wish I could have been there!

  6. WOW such beautiful art. And doing it with a fellow artist and friend had to be amazing!!!

  7. It was definitely a vacation day. Yet it was a business trip. I love this life.

  8. I just love the beautiful work you have shared in the blog, all those accessories has been creatively made. I like the 1st beads necklace a lot.


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