Friday, February 26, 2016

Art field trip: the ACC Show in Baltimore ( Part 1)

Each year, the ACC (American Crafts Council) show in Baltimore is a treat; a chance to meet and talk with leading artists working in clay, metal, wood, fabric... any and all mediums.  The ACC hosts shows across the nation (Atlanta, St Paul, San Francisco) and its an opportunity I try to take advantage of annually as I am so close geographically. 

My post this year does focus on jewelry artists. I was struck - and hugely inspired - by the artists combining materials in fresh innovative ways. I gravitate to the fusion of traditional jewelry techniques and non-traditional materials. (No gold and diamond bling for me!)  I like pieces that are made with content, intention, narrative. So let the work speak to you as it did to me... 

"Nature is my inspiration, every detail of it leads me to create unique pieces, where color and texture become the protagonists of my creations.

A feature of my work us a touch of color that is provived by glass beads of varying of sizes, which are used in combination with metal to create a unique design. The concept is focused on silver pieces with a contemporary look, 100% handmade artistry with a variety of goldsmith techniques that distinguish industrial processes.

I loved the integration of sead beads and metal. To add color in a piece via the seed beads AND to combine bead weaving and metal smithing. The pieces were stunning - with such attention to detail the back of many pieces were imprinted with leaf textures. 

all images: (c) Claudia Fajardo
Kirsten Denbow:
"I have studied, practiced, played and dreamed. My work is unique, wearable, sophisticated but approachable, and I always try to add an element of fun.
My current body of work, focusing on traditional metalwork and enameling techniques, is a reflection of my passion for metalworking and my love of nature."

You KNOW I am going to rave about a sugar skull... but Kirsten's enable work was so fine! The delicate swan silhouettes, riveted to backings... I was drawn to the detail and the layering in these pieces.
All images (c) Kirsten Denbow

Luana Coonen:
"..Realizing her strong affiliation with nature and organic growth patterns, she now finds even the smallest flower or blade of grass more precious than ever. She expresses her deep and abiding love of nature’s tiniest wonders through her artwork, finding ways within her work as a jeweler to amplify the beauty of simple natural objects and to bring attention to our emotions. This is reinforced by her passion to use found objects and renewable materials..."

Luana's work may have been my favorite of the day. The intricacy of the sawing, interaction with the piece as it concealed and revealed treasures to the viewer and the wearer. I was drawn to her use of natural - and sustainable - organic material. 
All images (c) Luana Coonen

"I am inspired by humanity’s age-old relationship with traditional craft materials and how these materials have been transformed over time and in different cultures. In particular, the renewable resources of plant and animal fiber, the community and time involved fiber processes of antiquity, the utilization of fabrics for sheltering and comforting the body and the historical predominance of women working these materials motivated my decision to obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Fiber Arts. Over the past two decades pursuing these subjects, I have developed a keen interest in the use of natural dyes from minerals, plants and insects, the versatility of the felting process employed to create non-woven fabrics from animal fibers, the use of free-motion machine embroidery to “draw” on and manipulate the structure of the fabric and international travel in order to explore the diversity of textiles and the human experience. This primary use of natural fibers and dyes represents a fight for the threatened values of community responsibility, patience, physical activity, and an intimate relationship with our natural world."

These pictures do not do justice. hand dyed natural fibers. felted onto forms, enveloping objects. And then sewn, sculpted with stitches. Lightweight, layers, mysterious... Some neckpieces had sea glass stitched in, and were translucent when held to light. Exquisite!
All images (C) Strongfelt/Lisa Klakulak

And there is more! Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow. It was a great show this year - it made me think, and plan, and dream. I also like to share the work of other artists - done respectfully - I hope it informs and inspires!


  1. Thanks for the post! You introduced me to artists and venues I had never seen before.

  2. Wow wow wow. I want to go one of these years! I am thrilled to see so many wo derful jewelry artists breaking thar mold of traditional art jewelry. Thank you for sharing! I love them all, but the felting and seed beads may be my favorites!

  3. Great inspiration, I may try to get there next year!!

  4. wow, such awe inspiring pieces, Thanks for the post


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