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That's a wrap! The 32nd Annual American Craft Council Show Finishes with a Flourish

After three days at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore, assistant editor Christine Kaminsky made her way back to New York with a handful of hearty selections-both her favorites and the judges! If you were at the show, we want to know, did Christine miss anything? Take a look and tell us your Best of Show picks...

Romulus Craft’s ceramic work.
The felt wall by Geoff Buddie and Chris Rom.
Jewelry by Biba Schutz

Romulus Craft’s ceramic work.

Photo gallery (8 images)

After a long day Friday, I got some rest at the glamorous sounding but not so glamorous Lord Baltimore Hotel about six blocks from the convention center. I woke up Saturday morning refreshed and ready to take in more from the over 700 exhibiting makers. I made my way through the streets of Baltimore thinking about The Wire until I got to the convention center where the crowds were already packed in to see, shop and enjoy the sights. As I wasn't able to get through the whole show on Friday, I spent Saturday and Sunday picking out some more highlights. If you missed the show, don't worry, you can still contact all the makers and see if you can pick up a treasure of your own.


I was drawn back to the work of Geoff Buddie and Chris Rom of Swanton, Ohio, (I spent a good deal of time at their booth on Friday as well) who create playful, narrative objects in stoneware, porcelain, metal and felt. Their felt board with circular openings, in which they placed felt balls in a variety of colors, reminded me of an amusement park concession where you hit the mark and win a prize.

The team of Ikuzi Teraki and Jeanne Bisson, from Washington, Vermont, known as Romulus Craft, produce graceful, porcelain tableware and vases year after year. Their black-and-white plates are remarkable for their almost paper-thin delicacy.

Gretchen Romey-Tanzer of Orleans, Massachusetts, makes double weave fiber pieces in fabulous geometric patterns that she then stitches to canvas. The layering of colors makes the hangings pop giving them added dimension and a crispy edge.

With a song in his heart, Bob McNally from Rockaway, New Jersey, turned his dream of people learning music into reality with his three-stringed strumsticks. Anyone can learn to play this fun, no wrong note instrument and by the looks of all those strumming a tune at his booth, many did.

From New York City, Biba Schutz's ingenious, spatial jewelry is something of a Rorschach test that becomes whatever you might imagine it to be...beetles, squid, a cocoon or even the queen in a chess set.

Graceann Warn of Ann Arbor, Michigan, reveals through her encaustic assemblages the history of sites seen on her many adventurous travels.

Rob Sutherland from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, turns good dirt into a wide range of exquisite clay objects. His use of colors camouflage some areas while revealing in other areas new shapes and forms.

They seem to be misshapen but Tommie Rush's tumblers in colors that both electrify and calm are actually the most comfortable fit for any hand. Her impish, vivid glass holes make for interesting thoughts and conversation, especially after a drink or two, hopefully in her imaginative tumblers.

Jan Katz, associate director, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and curator for the Center for Southern Craft and Design, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Patrick Gallagher of Gallagher and Associates, a design studio in Bethesda, Maryland, that specializes in museum planning and exhibit design, juried this year's show, selecting eight artists altogether to receive awards.

The six recipients of Awards of Excellence are ceramist LeAnne Ash of Burnsville, North Carolina, David D'Imperio from Stony Run, Pennsylvania, for his lighting, Marc Maiorana's Iron Design Company from Cedar Bluff, Virginia, woodworker George Peterson of Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, jewelry maker Biba Schutz from New York City and Pablo Soto of Penland, North Carolina, for his glasswork.

Juror Jan Katz, who chose the Award of Excellence winners, was impressed with LeAnne Ash's very functional approach to ceramics. Clean, modern lines and excellent use of materials were among the reasons Katz selected David D'Imperio's lighting. George Peterson's work, both functional and aesthetic, is reminiscent of African tribal wood while Mark Maiorana's metal forms, learned at a very young age, exemplify beauty and simplicity. The range of Pablo Soto's glass art, some referencing historical objects while others resemble lighthearted, candy-like pieces, caught Katz's attention. And Biba Schutz's tactile jewelry, mentioned previously, is always unique, rich in positive and negative space.

Booth design awards were presented to Jennifer Violette of Wilmington, Vermont, whose glass display, according to juror Patrick Gallagher, made fantastic use of color and space, with trim on the top, sides, bottom and even along the halogen lights, creating a context for her work that seemed like a home environment.

Teresa Chang of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also won a booth design award. Juror Patrick Gallagher admired Chang's minimal use of space to showcase her ceramic teapots. By letting the objects speak for themselves, their impact was maximized.

Now, bring it on! What did we miss???



range of emotion's one of a kind handbags bridged the "so-called" gap between wearable art and fashion.

How could you miss the many wonderful wearable fiber items at the show? I am surprised to find that the fine craft of knitting, weaving, dyeing, sewing for the human body is not even mentioned in your article or in the highlighted categories at the top of this page. With the number of exhibitors in this category it seems a misrepresentation to not mention their presence. Even more troubling was the fact that no exhibitor in this category was given an award for excellence when clearly there were many innovative and exceptional works on display. Is this true or just an oversight in the reporting? Could it be that "women's work" is once again left out in the cold? For those who did not attend there was indeed a wonderful array of artful wear for both women and men in the show.

The fiber art was OUTSTANDING! It seemed that Fiber, and especially Wearable Fiber, was more exciting and well-represented than ever. Candiss Cole presented some exciting and innovative new felted pieces. In Mixed Media, Ron Cook's hand-carved musical instruments were both awe-inspiring and humorous. People in Baltimore are so lucky to have this show.

As a first time exhibitor, I was very dissapointed that there was no "fiber artist"mentioned in your catagories. Also, no one came by to ask questions about what and how I was creating my art pieces. How does the judging work? It was a wonderful show to be. The workshops where very helpful and the other exhitors and the public where very welcoming Roselle Abramowitz

Thank you all for pointing out my oversight of not mentioning how much wonderful fiber art and wearables were featured at the show. Personally, I was tempted to buy one of Lori Bacigalupi's gorgeous shibori jackets, or John Jameson's scarves. And I agree, Candiss Cole's felted pieces are exceptional. I cannot speak to the juror's selections but if anyone is interested in knowing more about the criteria for judging, please contact my colleague Monica Hampton at [email protected]

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