Every February my craft-loving self attends the huge American Craft Council Show at the Baltimore Convention Center. This year, in addition to over 600 craftspeople, there was also a series of interior design vignettes. My friends Martha and Noelle and I explored for six hours, emerging visually thrilled and laden with new purchases. Fair warning: I saw so many wonderful craftspeople at this show, that it will take me yet another blog post to share them with you.
The vignette by DC interior designer Mary Douglas Drysdale drew me like a magnet. Mary always delights my eye in unexpected ways, this time by not using her trademarked intense palette. Her room unexpectedly presented calming blacks and whites, which she jazzed with lines going vertically, horizontally, and helter-skelter. At www.marydouglasdrysdale.com you can see her portfolio illustrating her magic way with color and light.
Moving on into the craft area itself, we enjoyed new talent from students of the Virginia Commonwealth University (www.vcu.edu) in Richmond. Just the posture of these two young women prepared me for a breath of fresh air.
The Peruvian artist Ms. Nebiur Arellano is a more established presence with her fantastically worked silken panels. She embellishes transparent silk with acrylic paints and metallic threads so they just shimmer. You owe it to yourself to look at her website www.nebiurart.com, but here’s an entire framed composition.
This detail shot is almost life-sized. The amount of her handwork is just staggering as is its visual impact.
Jim Rosenau from Berkeley, CA creates whimsical compositions from vintage books. As he explains on his website, www.thisintothat.com, he was raised to revere books. I got the same indoctrination: don’t ever write in one, or tip its pages, or spill water on it – even if it’s a used textbook. Somehow, he rose above that early childhood training to use books themselves a works of art. I love Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? and wish my photo were glare-free.
My friend Martha purchased a hummingbird feeder from the glass artist Jack Pine, of whom more can be seen at www.jackpinestudio.com.
Jack studied the art of blowing glass under the maestro Dale Chihuly and is now a maestro in his own right. If my home were larger, it would now show off one of his gorgeous sets of pumpkins. Choosing which one to show you was difficult, but this is it. I can’t imagine the skill required to blow all this color and texture into one object, let alone into four variations on the theme. Seeing work of this impact makes me wonder about the difference between art and craft. Craftspeople are often dismissed as merely skilled technicians producing useful objects. Snottily, the criticism of crafters is that even a machine can be programmed to replicate their specific skill. However, Jack Pine’s glass objects spoke to me so emotionally that I want to call them art. I think he’s caught the essence of pumpkin-ness.
It’s been years since the National Gallery of Art (www.nga.gov) introduced me to Alexander Calder’s mobiles and stabiles, but that experience left me a sucker for these forms. My friend and Pilates instructor Noelle Richmond (www.bodylibra.com) shares our mutual enthusiasm with Bud Schieffel in his booth. His website www.earthsaverwindsculpture.com shows even more of his kinetic, mult-textured, multi-media artworks.
More traditional mobiles took the airspace in Jay Jones’ booth. Jay works primarily in copper. You can get his purer shapes in a protected copper version which will never tarnish, or in raw copper which will patinate to blue green. Personally I prefer the used, patinated look. You can enjoy more of his work at www.etsy.com/people/jfjones
Switching now to the clothing designers, Andrea Geer knit this fabulous collar, which drew me across a crowded room like a puppet on a string. She explains her hand-looming process of making one-of-kind showstoppers like this collar on her website www.andreageer.com. Her clothing can transform any woman into a movie star.
The nimble hands of sisters Lynn and Meta Reintsema have made me several black suits, one in linen and one in wool, so this year I went for the pale blue silk jacket you see in the right background. If you and I should meet at a design event this spring, you’ll see me flaunting it.
Any day now Joyce Stewart of www.jesclothing.com will send me my vest of crushed silk. She’ll use the same fabric you see in the copper-colored jacket on the top left of this picture. With my red hair, the vest will make me feel special.
So that’s it for now, and thanks for reading my blog! Come back next week to experience the rest of my fun at the craft show.
But wait, there’s more….If you want to visit an American Craft Council Show for yourself, just click on this link: www.craftcouncil.org/event-calendar