In this new series on the blog, we ask PMA Craft Show artists to reflect on their favorite memories from shows past. Elena Rosenberg, pictured here with Sue Serio of FOX29, is a wearable fiber artist whose work appeared in the 2014 Craft Show and will appear again in 2015.
In November 2014, I was one of several Emerging Artists at the PMA Craft Show. I had an exhilarating, unforgettable, brilliant time. The entire PMA Craft Show experience amounts to red-carpet-style treatment for the artists, starting with pre-show communication from the PMA Women's Committee and the show office, to the support and services artists receive at the show, to post-show bonuses, like exposure on this website for many months after the show ends.
Exhibiting my hand-knit clothing and fashion accessories on the same show floor as some of today's most renown artists (and my personal heroes) was, at times, a surreal experience. I got an opportunity to talk with celebrated basketry artist Mary Jackson (of PBS' "Craft in America" fame), whose booth was just a couple of aisles down from mine. I also got to spend time with, and received a very warm welcome from exhibiting artists Amy Nguyen, K. Riley, and Juanita Girardin—all of whom are superstars in the world of wearable fiber and artwear.
Each day at the show brought many encounters with new fans and collectors, and visits from repeat clients. One of the highlights was getting to style Fox 29's Sue Serio in one of my Rococo shawls for the morning TV broadcast.
Among the most memorable visitors to my 2014 PMA Craft Show booth were Carole S. and her granddaughter. Their visit to the show was an all-day family affair, and their enthusiasm for each other, and for the joy of soaking up the atmosphere of the show was infectious. They were inquisitive about styles, materials, and drape of my designs, appreciative of the work involved in creating 'slow fashion', and just such a treat to entertain. They looked gorgeous in the new merino wool, alpaca, and silk hand-knit hats they had fun choosing. I've been fortunate to dress a number of multi-generational groups of women, and it's women like Carol and her granddaughter that inspire me and my knit and textile designs all the time.
On a different note, I realize now that the dedicated people who are part of the PMA Women's Committee, many of whom I met last November, have directly inspired me to contribute more and more to the arts and fine craft community. They are among the reasons I joined the Boards of Directors at two organizations in early 2015—Surface Design Association and Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. I am grateful to the PMA Craft Show and the PMA WC for the opportunity to showcase the designs I handcraft in my studio, and for inspiring my work in craft advocacy.