July 01 2020

(Above: Full dinnerware set by Teresa Chang. More images below...)

In a wedding season like no other, creativity abounds in every direction. When it comes to gifts, how about thinking outside the (gift) box? The world of fine contemporary craft is a welcome complement to the traditional wedding gift registry. If you want something truly unique that will last a lifetime and support artists working in their craft, look no further than the artists of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Longtime Craft Show attendee Emily Rothrock is planning her wedding and has a gift registry in place with one of our 2020 Craft Show artists, Teresa Chang.

A fan of her work, it was a natural progression for Emily to reach out to Teresa who already had a registry available to customers. “I’ve been attending the PMA Craft Show for many years, and the idea came to me to create a wedding gift registry where guests can purchase one-of-a-kind handmade pieces by contemporary craft artists”, says Emily. “I wanted to do something unique, to start a collection, and I like that there’s a story behind each piece. I feel strongly about supporting the artists and also wanted to share it with my peers to let them see another option for their registries.” Teresa’s work is modern and practical for everyday use and for entertaining. With individual pieces ranging from approximately $50 to $150 each, a registry is a great way to work with couples just getting started. Their guests can purchase gifts that are singular or part of a collection and it’s another way for artists to gain exposure to a new audience. Teresa recommends that other artists consider offering it when possible. Categories like dinnerware, stemware, and flatware work well, especially when guests can buy pieces toward a set. Artists creating unique one-of-a kind pieces may find their work is appealing on a gift registry as well, whether it’s jewelry or sculpture, or a signature piece of furniture.

Teresa designs and creates high-end, hand thrown, porcelain dinnerware in her Philadelphia studio. Her work stands out in its sophisticated simplicity, showcasing the essence of the form and structure itself. Teresa’s dinnerware has been in stores such as Barney’s, Takashimaya, and Dean and Deluca. People usually learn about Teresa’s gift registry in conversation at shows or on her website, and she loves working with engaged couples. “Just like when I make dinnerware sets for anyone, the personal interaction is very pleasant”, she says. “I love helping people design a set for themselves. And I love thinking about who I am making my work for when I am working on each piece. Plus, every customer (friend or relative of the engaged couple) is so happy to purchase something handmade and unique for such a momentous occasion. It’s pretty much a win/win/win.”

At a time when creativity in marketing and promotion is more important than ever, a gift registry is a great option for contemporary craft artists. They can potentially reach new clients, while offering a new option for existing clients. Whether or not shoppers know of the artist, a gift registry is another way to highlight individual artists and smaller brands so they can get more recognition. It’s the best of both worlds when a gift registry purchase helps the happy couple start or add to a collection of unique objects while simultaneously supporting artists.

Getting married or know someone that is?

Visit pmacraftshow.org/artists and stay tuned for our upcoming list of 2020 exhibitors to see the many artists to reach out to for wedding gift ideas!

 

Photo credits: Dominic Episcopo

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June 17 2020

(Above: Domine - 2020 - Featured as a livestream demo at the Corning Museum of Glass)

“There is a curiosity, which informs my work and what may be seen in my toy-like animals, and, most importantly, what they see when they look back at us.”

The whimsy on first glance of Claire Kelly’s glass art is unmistakable. Taken a step further, the sheer quality of her work and the How did she do that? factor begs a closer look. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University, multiple artist residencies, teaching at some of the finest craft programs in the world, and studying with acclaimed glass artist Toots Zynsky, Claire has pursued the highest technical skills and creative levels of her craft.

(Above: Parallax: Busy Forest - 2019 - approximately 15 ¼" x 16" x 36")

2019 was Claire’s first time exhibiting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft show and to the delight of PMA Craft Show patrons, she is excited to be returning in 2020. “It’s always a pleasure to have the opportunity to spend time with the show attendees”, says Claire. “I came away from the experience full of energy and potential after meeting so many people who love my work. I love the amazing range of exhibitors and selection of different media. I also appreciate the scale of the show. It’s not overwhelming, but it’s large enough to offer a great range of wonderful exhibitors.”

(Above: Civil Twilight - 2019 - 22 ½" x 8 ½" x 4 ½")

Receiving the award for Excellence in Glass at the 2019 Show, Claire shared with us how honored she is to be recognized among such a high caliber of artists and added, “Being selected is just such a great validation; it helps me feel that I’m on the right path creatively.” She has been creating her current body of work since 2014, but has been working professionally in glass since graduating from college in 1996. Claire began her glass art journey at Alfred University and her work with various artists and institutions over the years has helped shaped her trajectory as an artist. She loves continually learning and finding new inspiration every day.

We couldn’t write this blog without asking Claire about the whimsical nature of her work and we found her thoughts to be not only descriptive, but also heartwarming. She describes her work as a form of therapy that helps process conflicting emotions in her mind, adding that her work purposefully looks like toys or children’s book illustrations as a way to talk about difficult subjects. She loves the effect her pieces have on others and sharing community that it creates. “The main reaction I get from people is that they feel joyful when they look at my work and that it makes them smile”, she says. “One of my favorite reactions was a woman who has one of my elephant sculptures and she talks to it. To me that’s just perfect because I do feel like they’re so engaging and have their own little personalities.”

(Above: Milieu - 2020 - 14" x 11 ½" x 8 ½")

2017 marked one of Claire’s proudest achievements with her work as she was selected to be an artist in residence at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, working with a specialty Italian glass which led to an invitation to demonstrate at the 2018 Glass Art Society Conference in Murano, Italy.

A selection of the programs she has taught at in the U.S. and abroad include Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Centro Fundacion del Vidrio in Spain.

We are so pleased to share the joy of Claire’s glass art and invite you to explore her many creations HERE as well as at the 2020 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.

(Above: Recursive - 2020 - 10 ½" x 10" x 10")

 

 

 

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May 28 2020

“The PMA Craft Show is truly unique in how it offers direct connectivity with clients and consumers while also being a show with a highly curated approach.” ~ Ben Gillespie

Connectivity is the perfect word to introduce Ben Gillespie, the person behind the light source of the company OVUUD. A Philadelphia-based lighting designer and woodworker, Ben has mastered the art of visually and actually bending light and wood, to create his unique and utilitarian lighting fixtures. Working out of his Port Richmond studio, Ben utilizes locally sourced wood and the latest lighting technologies in how each piece looks as well as functions. The results are Scandinavian-inspired pieces that are individually distinctive yet cohesive as a collection.

Though Ben has been working with light and wood for many years, it’s only in the last three years that he has developed his OVUUD concepts and fabrications. Luckily he found the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show as a place to exhibit and sell his fine craft, to the delight of not only the attendees but the sponsors as well. At last year’s Show, Ben was the recipient of the acclaimed Wharton Esherick Prize for Excellence in Wood, an honor he does not take lightly. “As both a Philadelphian (born and raised) and a woodworker, it was an incredible honor”, says Ben. “The PMA Craft Show has so many extremely talented craftspeople exhibiting. I was genuinely surprised when they called my name. It is a great honor to win in general, but especially among such talented company. Over the years, my work has become more sculptural in nature, and Esherick’s work is a huge inspiration to me. I am very humbled to be the recipient of such a prize.”

Wharton Esherick was an internationally known artist and sculptor whose place among noted 20th century artists is set in stone, with work in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. The Wharton Esherick Museum has been a longtime sponsor of the Award for Excellence in Wood at the PMA Craft Show.

Ben has always been interested in woodworking, even as a kid. When his woodworking and lighting merged, it evolved into the passionate work he does today. Primarily in private home collections, Ben’s work can also be seen at Condesa restaurant in Philadelphia and he is excited to soon be starting a lighting piece for a public lobby space in center city. Ben’s love of architecture informs his designs. “I am always looking up when walking through center city”, he says. “I love to see how spaces are developed and how they’re filled. Visually, I find it really satisfying - and I think it ultimately gives me inspiration as to how to fill space with my pieces.” This philosophy segues nicely into Ben’s growing clientele. Getting positive feedback from clients means a lot and he says that delivering a piece and seeing and hearing his client’s enjoyment is his biggest achievement. “Being able to conceive an idea and then translate it into a physical embodiment by directly using my hands is incredibly gratifying to me. I am very thankful for each piece that I am able to hand-build and deliver.”

In addition to the Wharton Esherick prize, one of Ben’s favorite aspects of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show was to connect with other craftspeople and potential customers. He also appreciates the impact of social media, especially Instagram where he can curate how pieces are presented and share some of the building process with his audience.

Ben’s work has been featured in national magazines including World of Interiors, House & Garden, and Architectural Digest online blog.

We look forward to seeing where Ben’s light shines next. Take a look around his world here.

 

 

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May 13 2020

“I knew I was dealing with an educated crowd with a sophisticated eye for fine craft. And they were there to buy.” ~ Jenifer Thoem

It’s rare that a first time exhibitor at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show takes home Best of Show. 2019 was one of those times. Meet Jenifer Thoem. With contemporary ceramic craft encompassing a fresh style and singular approach, Jenifer’s work pairs graceful design with creative installations. We enjoyed talking with Jenifer about her experience at the show as well as creating her unique contemporary craft.

“Honestly, I was just happy to be there!” Jenifer says about being an exhibitor at the PMA Craft Show. “I couldn’t believe I was actually a part of so much amazingness. It was a beautifully curated show. To say I was totally shocked to win Best of Show is an understatement. I’m still humbled by it.” One of Jenifer’s favorite aspects of shows is being surrounded by other artists after spending so much time working solo in the studio. Beyond being WOW’ed by the quality and variety of her fellow artists at the Show, Jenifer credits the attendees as being especially impressive. “My work isn’t always understood at first glance”, she says. “Because of the repetition and shadows, there’s a lot going on. The idea of a large-scale installation going directly into the wall, with no definite design or place can cause some confusion. The patrons asked smart questions and seemed to get my work.”

Jenifer’s ceramics are hand built with stoneware clay, kiln fired multiple times using slips, stains, and glazes on highly textured surfaces. Transitioning from large sculptural pieces to creating work for the wall, Jenifer discovered she still likes working in large-scale, but by assembling many (at times hundreds) smaller components in a seemingly choreographed pattern affixed to a wall.

Jenifer was raised on a farm in North Georgia, with parents who encouraged simplicity and creativity in all areas of life. Earning a BFA in Ceramics from Georgia Southern, she began doing shows right after graduating, over 25 years ago. Taking a break to raise three small children resulted in rethinking her process. That, along with a move from the country to the city and other major life changing events led her to ask, “Why am I making the same work that I’ve made for a decade when I feel like I have a different story to tell now?” She went back to square one, developing a fresh new body of work over three years. “Knowing this about my work, winning best of show at the caliber of a show such as the PMA Craft Show, is validation that I never expected, but gives me hope that I may be headed in the right direction!”

Jenifer’s work is influenced by her childhood and the encouragement to just be, and appreciate the simple things in life. She makes objects that are so common, they’re often overlooked, yet evoke emotions and past experiences. It’s the shared stories from viewers that inspire Jenifer. “If I’m lucky, I get to hear these stories, forming a connection between me and the viewer of my work.”

Though Jenifer considers receiving Best of Show at the PMA Craft Show a pinnacle of her career, she also shares that overcoming the challenges of developing a body of work, finding the confidence to put it out there, and actually sell it is a huge accomplishment. In closing, she says the hardest thing that brings the greatest reward is the difficult balance of being a mom to three teenagers and an artist on the show circuit — just making it to some shows with work is a miracle in itself!

Check out Jenifer’s work and let us know if you purchased any last year!

 

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April 29 2020

Being the Show Chair of an event as large as the PMA Craft Show is a big job. The Show Chair assists the event director, oversees the 100 member Craft Show committee, and acts as ambassador and liaison for the press, the preview party, sponsors, patrons, and the artists. We are happy to introduce this year’s Chair, Robin Blumenfeld Switzenbaum. Robin has been on the Craft Show Committee since 2008, and originally began attending the Show with her mother in 1977. She grew up by the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the museum was in her backyard. “The impact of the Show on the community is incredible”, says Switzenbaum. “It creates a venue for artists to sell and showcase their work, as well as our community convening and supporting one of the great treasures of our city.”  

(Above: Ceramic piece by Jennifer McCurdy)

 

Can you describe your involvement with the museum?

I started volunteering in 1974 in the Department of Urban Outreach. In 1976, I graduated college with a degree in Urban Studies and Art History and became a volunteer guide. I am currently a weekend guide.   

What would you like the audience reading this to know about this year’s Show?

Due to COVID-19, we’ve had to be more creative in our organizational meetings and reevaluate how best to move forward for the success of the Show. This is our 44th year, so the recipe is well developed and we are acclimating to the world as it is today. A lot of thought goes into how we can maximize the funds raised for the museum, which is the overall goal. We are very proud of the fact that the PMA Craft Show is considered one of the premier shows in the country.

(Above: Glass by Scott Pernicka)

 

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Show?

Reaching out to craft artists to encourage them to apply. Our show is so well respected that the conversations are very gratifying not only in the feedback, but in seeing the incredible level of creativity that abounds in the craft world. There are many great and affordable items to purchase during the Show, and the experience of talking one-on-one with some of the best craft artists in the country is priceless.   

Can you talk about the Preview Party?

The Preview Party draws some of the most influential people in the Philadelphia region.  Attendees get a first view of the Show and can come and go as they please through the weekend. It is one of our most popular events.

(Pictured above: Reid Bodek, Jane Blumenfeld, and Gwen Goodwill Bianchi)

 

What stands out most for you about the Show?

The PMA Craft Show has raised almost $14 million for the museum since its inception. The money has been used to fund educational programs, groundbreaking exhibits, and important infrastructure improvements.

What are your thoughts on the significance of fine craft and design?

In an age where goods are consumed without much thought, craft is different. One of the keys to craft is that it takes time to make it and it also takes time for the viewer to appreciate it. The ability of our audience to engage and interact directly with the top craft makers in the country is a profound experience in our consumer society. Contemporary craft artists practice the “slow movement” brought forth by our Italian compatriots, emphasizing one of a kind, made-by-hand, and limited quantities. It is a luxury item in an age of mass produced products; something to be purchased and cherished for the long term. 

(Above: Wood piece by Richard Haining)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April 08 2020

(Above: Metal artist Erica Moody)

SAVE THE DATE FOR THIS YEAR’S SHOWCASE OF CONTEMPORARY CRAFT AND DESIGN

Friday, November 6 – Sunday, November 8, 2020

Gala Preview Party – Thursday November 5, 2020

In light of COVID-19, the PMA Craft Show is following the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and World Health Organization’s guidelines. The Show committee and staff are working remotely and we continue to work toward holding our event. The health and safety of our staff and committee, as well as the artists and attendees, are our highest priority. We’re monitoring the situation closely and will communicate and share any news, information or updates that would impact the ability for our event to proceed as planned. See artist application info below.

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT APPLICATIONS: The PMA Craft Show Committee has made revisions to the application and booth fee policies. The application deadline is extended to April 26, 2020, with no late fee after the original April 1 deadline. The Show Committee had originally increased booth fees in 2020. We are reversing that decision and will keep 2019 booth fee prices for the 2020 Show. Further, booth fees will not be due until September. Apply HERE or go directly to www.juriedartservices.com

When there are so many unknowns in the world, one thing that is known is the power of creativity and the role that the arts have played throughout history. This time is no different, and this year’s Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show will surely reflect the vision and talents of our artists in a whole new light.

Philadelphia has become highly regarded as a destination for museum quality contemporary craft and design, and the PMA Craft Show is one of the city’s premier events. Each November, 195 fine craft artists showcase their best work over three days in over a dozen categories, including ceramics, furniture, jewelry, fiber, and more. Now in its 44th year, The Craft Show, presented by The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has raised over 13.4 million dollars over its long history. The museum’s largest single fundraiser, funds go to supporting museum initiatives, including education, art and fine craft acquisitions, state-of-the-art equipment, and special exhibitions. Ticket sales are integral to the success of the show. When you purchase a ticket or become a sponsor, you are directly supporting the work of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

(Above: Jeweler Petra Class)

In addition to the three-day show, there is the popular preview party gala, plus several additional events, including artist demonstrations, Meet and Greet artist tours, the Connect and Collect Reception, student exhibitions, and a fashion show of clothing, jewelry and accessories.

Save the 2020 Show dates and please follow our social media. We continue to be inspired by the dedication of our artists and the contemporary craft community at large. We appreciate the support of our craft artists who are experiencing a major disruption to their income stream due to spring show cancellations. Instagram is a great way to find artists online as is our website.

Whether you’ve never been to the Show, attend regularly, or somewhere in between, we hope to see you this November for what promises to be a Show to remember.

(Above: Woodworker Ray Jones)

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The 2020 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show artists will be announced on June 1, 2020.

 

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December 18 2019

(Above: Timothy Rub, Anja Levitties, Nancy O'Meara)

We are excited to announce that the 43rd Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has raised $412,000.00 for the Museum, its sole beneficiary. The check presentation to Museum Director Timothy Rub presented by Show Manager Nancy O’Meara and 2019 Show Chair Anja Levitties, wraps up another successful year of contemporary craft in Philadelphia. The museum’s largest single fundraiser, the Craft Show has raised over 13 million dollars in its now 43-year history. Funds raised help support museum initiatives, including education, acquisitions, and special exhibitions.

We extend our thanks and appreciation to all the sponsors, patrons, artists, and volunteers involved. This year’s Craft how featured 195 juried artists from around the country, along with 22 guest artists from Israel, all representing the finest in contemporary craft. 

Congratulations to the 2019 award winners:

Best of Show awarded to: Jenifer Thoem, Ceramics
The Jewish Federation Prize for Best of Israel: Johnathan Hopp, Ceramics
The Louise K. Binswanger Prize for Best Artist New to Show: Martha Collins, Wood & Jewelry
The Eric Berg Prize for Excellence in Metal: Erica Moody
The Prize for Excellence in Jewelry: Tara Locklear
The Cohn Family Trust Prize for Excellence in Glass: Claire Kelly
The Prize for Excellence in Design: Keunho (Peter) Park, Wood
The Wharton Esherick Museum Prize for Excellence in Wood: Benjamin Gillespie
The Ornament Magazine Prize for Excellence in Art to Wear: K. Riley
The Prize for Excellence in Fiber Art: Erin Wilson
The Jane and Leonard Korman Family Prize for Excellence in Contemporary Clay: Teresa Chang

See pictures from the 43rd annual Craft Show and Preview Party on our social media, including Instagram and this Facebook photo album

Save the date for the 44th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show; November 6th – 8th, 2019 with a Preview Party on Thursday, November 5th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The application process for the 2020 Show will open in early January 2020. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2020. For more information please click HERE.

Follow our social media....

https://www.instagram.com/pmacraftshow

https://www.facebook.com/pmacraftshow

https://www.pinterest.com/pmacraftshow

https://twitter.com/pmaCraftShow

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November 03 2019

It’s here! 

195 artists from the United States and 22 guest artists from Israel are about to converge at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for one of the finest juried contemporary craft shows in the country. Over its 42-year history, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has raised over $13 million dollars and is the largest fundraiser for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

---- 195 artists from the United States from 875 juried applicants
---- 22 guest artists from Israel
---- 30 states represented
---- 13 categories of crafts
---- Three universities represented
---- Preview party gala
---- Artist Demonstrations
---- Fashion Show


Click HERE for a fact sheet about the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.


SHOW DATES:

Friday, November 8th: 11am - 9pm

Saturday, November 9th: 10am - 6pm

Sunday, November 10th: 10am - 5pm

TICKETS: Click HERE.

One Day - $20.00

Two Days - $25.00

Children under 12: $5.00

For information on group tickets, click HERE.

PREVIEW PARTY: Thursday, November 7th: 5pm – 9pm (Click HERE for advance tickets. Door tickets available.) Attend this gala event featuring an award ceremony, cocktail buffet and an opportunity to meet the artists and have a first look at their works of contemporary craft and design. Preview party ticket holders may attend the show every day it is open.

Click links below for more information on each item:

CORPORATE RECEPTION (Click HERE for tickets)

ARTIST DEMONSTRATIONS


LOCATION: Pennsylvania Convention Center (Exhibit Hall F) – 12th & Arch St. Philadelphia, PA

Click links below for more information on each item:

DIRECTIONS

PARKING / TRAVEL

VISITING PHILADELPHIA

Produced by The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is the longest running show of its type in the United States. When you purchase a ticket, you are directly supporting the work of the museum and we thank you. 

To learn more about the history of the PMA Craft Show, click HERE.

We hope to see you in Philadelphia!

 

 
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October 23 2019
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October 22 2019

(Above: Knives by Harold Kalmus)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show features a wide variety and assortment of contemporary crafts, and in that mix, you’ll see whimsy, style, and items that are utilitarian in their functionality. In this week’s blog, we give you all three.

(BONUS: Scroll down for info about the PMA Craft Show Preview Party, plus info about a chance to win two tickets and a $200 gift certificate to the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show!) 


IAN PETRIE

Ian Petrie uses hand-built pottery as a functional canvas for his whimsical comics-inspired narrative illustrations. He begins with hand-drawings which he screenprints and transfers onto the ceramics. Ian enjoys the duality of his process, saying, “Some days it feels great to get in the clay studio and get my hands dirty; I love the intensely tactile and immediate response of slabbing, pinching, and coiling pots. Sketching and inking come less naturally to me, so the drawing side becomes a nice challenge compared to the ceramics.” Ian’s work is intended for habitual use, and over time, the imagined stories may fade and eventually reveal hidden imagery beneath. Ian really enjoys seeing people react to his work. “I intentionally create my narratives to be open-ended so the viewer can fill it in for themselves”, he says. “One of my favorite things is hearing people ‘finish’ the stories I begin.”

As an emerging artist, Ian is honored and admittedly surprised at being selected. He has been working at his craft for six years, but the process that has come to define his look only started three years ago. His inspiration is drawn (no pun intended) from the old-school black and white comics world more than other ceramicists. Ian has exhibited his work across the country, including at the American Museum for Ceramic Art. He moved to Philly a year ago, is enjoying exploring his newly adopted city and is looking forward to being a first time exhibitor at the PMA Craft Show.


 

HAROLD KALMUS

“My goal is to make beautiful knives for the kitchen. Knives that work as they should, are a pleasure to use and a delight to look at.” ~ Harold Kalmus

Harold Kalmus may be an emerging artist at the PMA Craft Show, but he’s far from being new at creating art, or for that matter at attending the show, which he has done for over 20 years. An accomplished sculptor, Harold knows his way around tools. Prior to creating beautiful kitchen knives, Harold’s day job was in the field of digital modeling, rendering and animation, primarily for the architecture and design fields. When the economy took a turn, so did Harold, and eventually, in contemplating a career change, he found himself taking over the cooking responsibilities at home. This led to realizing that kitchen knives in general were sub-par to what he wanted, and the rest as they say, is history. Kalmus Knives are both beautiful to look at and hold, as well as exquisite in their utilitarian purpose. Harold has only been making knives for the last three years, and when asked what his biggest accomplishment is with his work, he said, “Honestly, getting accepted into the PMA Craft Show”.

 


 

LISA & SCOTT CYLINDER

Lisa and Scott Cylinder are returning to the PMA Craft Show for the ninth time, first exhibiting in 2003. They love interacting with the people who attend and say it is the best way to meet their audience. This husband and wife team first met at Tyler School of Art in 1984. They began working in tandem in 1988, with 2019 marking over 30 years of collaboration. “The best part of what we do is working together on a daily basis and bouncing our ideas off one another”, says Scott. “Every day is a different experience and we each bring a different energy to what we make.”

Lisa and Scott’s pieces typically begin with a found object that is manipulated and incorporated into their fabrications. There is whimsy in their imagery, with themes based on fables, wordplay, and their own observations. Influenced by their interest in modern art, nature, film, scientific phenomena and current concerns, their work is often kinetic, adding to its charm and character. The Cylinders have been featured in prominent national publications including American Craft magazine and Smithsonian Online and they consider their biggest achievement to be surviving by making art for 31+ years and raising a family solely from their creations.

 

 



The Preview Party

Tickets are available for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show Preview Party on Thursday, November 7th. This is a great opportunity to meet and mingle with this year’s artists while enjoying a cocktail buffet gala and previewing the show.

Click HERE for more information and to buy tickets.

 


 

Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show TICKET GIVEAWAY

Enter by October 30th for a chance to win two tickets and a $200 gift certificate to the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show! 

Click HERE to enter.

No purchase necessary to participate in ticket giveaway.

 

 

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October 10 2019

(Above by Susan Lenz)

Decorative fiber is an art all unto itself. Whether it’s the weaving of fabric, embroidery and melting techniques, or collages of color in paper fibers, these artists explore the dimensional realm of their craft to the delight of all who step into their booths.

 


 

SUSAN LENZ

When we asked Susan what she loves about the PMA Craft Show, her reply was a keeper: “What’s not to love?” Susan Lenz didn’t “know” she was an artist until her early 40’s. Two years later she started using heat tools on fiber and not long after that she had a piece in the permanent collection of the George Washington University Textile Museum. It was a life transformed and she took to it like needle to thread, which is part of how she creates. Daring to dream, she took a chance and applied to her very first craft show and got in. It was the 2013 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and she hasn’t looked back since. Susan’s custom framed fiber works are made from layers of fused polyester velvet with self-guided machine embroidery and melting techniques that she discovered herself.

Her work is inspired by the Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser who was known for using “all the colors all the time” which Susan describes as her favorite palette. “Hundertwasser was a big supporter of sustainable practices and living in harmony with the environment ,which he knew was only possible if we lived in harmony with one another”, says Susan. “He advocated decorating outside every window, he hated straight lines, and saw no reason why walls and floors had to be perfectly level. My work can be viewed as an aerial view to an imaginary Hundertwasser city with every ‘box’ embellished with a unique motif and connected to all its neighbors.”

 


 

LEANNE BOUDREAU

Leanne will be exhibiting for the second time, after being an emerging artist in 2016. The quality of the work at the PMA Craft Show is incredible”, she says. “I love participating because I feel very inspired by the artists and artisans around me and have made some wonderful relationships as a result. The Women's Committee, the Museum, and the local community are so supportive of the artisans and of American craft.” Leanne’s beautiful and functional individually handwoven textiles are designed and created with a minimalist eye, and her inspiration is derived from antique and vintage textiles.

Leanne studied textile design, fiber art, and fine art at UMass Dartmouth, Brown University, and the Rhode Island School of Design. She has been a full time artisan for the past six years but has been weaving for over 20 years. After being laid off from a full time job at age 30, she decided it was time to start her own business. Though not an easy endeavor, Leanne has built a studio she can be proud of and loves showing her craft and interacting with customers. With that, she expanded to have a retail store with her work and the work of over 75 other American artists and artisans.

 

KATE NORRIS

Kate Norris has been an artist for over 40 years, but got into collage work just three years ago. This will be her first year at the PMA Craft Show. A teaching artist from Baltimore, MD, Kate describes her work as “similar to making a jigsaw puzzle except that I make up the placement of the pieces as I work.” Her work pays homage to naturalists and illustrators from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries such as Albrecht Durer and Hieronymus Bosch, and she is also inspired by vintage scientific illustrations and Persian miniature paintings. Kate creates her mixed media collages from tearing wallpaper and reconstructing the pieces, giving historic scientific illustrations a new perspective.

A graduate of Stanford University, Kate went on to earn her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has exhibited her work in San Francisco, New York City, Tampa, and Baltimore and considers her biggest achievement thus far to be a solo exhibition at Tennessee Tech University, Appalachian Center for Craft.

 


 

Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show TICKET GIVEAWAY

Enter by October 14th for a chance to win two tickets to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Click HERE to enter.

No purchase necessary to participate in ticket giveaway.

 


 

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September 24 2019

There are vessels, there are art sculpture pieces, there are cooking and culinary tools of the trade. All are stunning representations of the vast differences occurring within the same craft form. Today we bring you three artists from this year’s show with three very different approaches to the medium of metal in fine contemporary craft.

 


 

ERICA MOODY

This is Erica’s first year exhibiting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Her forged and fabricated serving wares are inspired by both modern minimal design and traditional craft. She utilizes brass, copper, stainless, steel, and a bit of wood in her creations. Her design inspiration comes from being out in nature as well as studying antique tools and vintage kitchen and dining wares. In her own words, “I love solving the engineering problems of crafting a piece that works well, looks unique and is beautiful, and then having someone else enjoy it or enjoy giving it to someone they care for.”

Erica has been a professional metal fabricator since the mid 1990's doing high-end commissioned architectural metalwork such as furniture, railings, and custom hardware. Not long after adding her own designs to her custom fabrication business in 2016, Erica began receiving national attention for her work in publications including Bon Appétit, Esquire, and the New York Times Style Magazine.

Erica is excited to be an exhibitor at the PMA Craft Show and appreciates what it means to have that personal and direct connection to her audience.

 


 

DAVID BACHARACH

Creating the most imaginatively curious art sculpture pieces for over 50 years and involved with the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show for 30 years, David Bacharach is somewhat of an icon in the metalwork craft world. His work is inspired by the study of architectural beauty inherent in the outdoors. “Nature is generally viewed as outlines and shadows,” he says. “The delicacy of insects, birds, and plant life are often over-looked or over-powered in the mind’s eye by the colors of leaves, flowers, and the silhouettes of the surrounding landscape. As in nature, the outlines and shadows in my sculptures are often the first to grab a viewer’s attention.”

About the PMA Craft Show, David says, “It is a smoothly functioning and reliable craft show, and a well run show is a very big deal. Nancy and all the volunteers, their expertise, experience and dedication make participating a real pleasure.” David’s greatest inspiration has been other craftspeople and artists, and his passion for his work is abundantly clear. “It is a part of who I am. A day rarely passes without me wanting to be in the studio. Even on vacations I take materials to work with. I spend each day of my life able to wake up, go out to my studio and create what I want. That's a wonderful feeling.”

 


 

SARA THOMPSON

This is Sara’s second year exhibiting at the PMA Craft Show. Her favorite part was the community support for the artists that she saw firsthand. “As a young artist, it was encouraging and engaging to see grammar school kids to adults in college come and meet the artists at the show, ask questions about their work and aspects of making a living as an artist. I truly felt that there is a whole community wide effort to keep craft and handmade alive at the PMA Craft Show.”

Sara makes sterling silver flatware and hollowware with a fresh, minimal, and contemporary aesthetic that straddles the arc between fine art and functional art. When asked what she loves most about doing her work, Sara says, “I’m simply fascinated by what I can do with a couple of hammers, steel tools, a file, and sandpaper to transform a flat sheet of silver up into a three dimensional form. It seems so simple but it’s about understanding the material, tools, and process.” Sara has worked as a metalsmith for 12 years. Apprenticing as a bench jeweler for five years starting at age 11, she learned how to make settings, set stones, polish, solder, run a retail shop, and make a living as a jeweler. Her inspiration comes from contemporary silversmithing happening in the UK and Eastern Europe and it’s thanks to social media that Sara has been able to follow other hollowware artists and foster community over the miles. Sara’s work is now in the collections of a small circle of collectors and private curators and she is grateful beyond words.


Get your tickets in advance and prepare to see the creative metalwork of these artists and all the incredible fine craft artists at the 43rd annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. 

 

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September 12 2019

(Above: By Mick Whitcomb)

Furniture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show goes beyond most people’s imagination. In addition to the fine woodworking found throughout the Show floor, this year’s representation of fine furniture artists bends the definition of furniture beyond any reasonable expectations.


BENJAMIN GILLESPIE

With the goal to keep design simple yet interesting, Ben Gillespie’s work bends light and wood together in his elegant wood and lighting fixtures that hover in position almost like a dance. As one of the Philadelphia based artists, Ben’s company and studio OVUUD is situated in the Port Richmond section of the city. His background combining carpentry, metalwork, and engineering provides the ideal combination of impeccable design and meticulous planning. Each hand-designed piece is graceful in its curves and aesthetic, adding both a visual and utilitarian accent to any space. Bringing a whole new flavor to what lighting and furniture design can be, Ben’s Scandinavian-inspired pieces are fabricated from local woods including Oak, Ash, Walnut, and Maple.


This is Ben’s second year at the PMA Craft Show and he likes that the Show is in Philly but also has an international reach. A woodworker his whole life, Ben says, “Wood is a pretty forgiving material and you can do a lot with it. I love the fact that you manipulate it so directly with your hands; it allows you to directly control the entire process - from inspiration and starting with a huge slab of board to putting the final touches on a sculpted piece.”  

Inspired from seeing new and different architecture, Ben confesses that he would have been an architect in another life. Ben’s lighting and wood fixtures have been featured in several national magazines including World of Interiors, House & Garden, and Architectural Digest online blog. He considers his biggest achievement so far to be that he is gaining international reach with people interested in his work from around the world.

 


 

RACHEL FULD

2019 will be Rachel Fuld’s sixth time exhibiting at the PMA Craft Show. Also from Philadelphia, she loves having the opportunity to exhibit her work in her hometown alongside some of the most exceptional craft artists in the country. Rachel has been building furniture for most of the last 25 years, with detours into child rearing and volunteer work with the Furniture Society. Her design inspiration comes from objects, nature, people, art, and the everyday experiences of life. Her aim is to create furniture that is clean, fun, and sophisticated.

In her own words, Rachel says, “I love the moment when I’ve pushed through the frustration of wanting to scrap a whole project, throw it out the window, and instead can see the end in sight. It happens almost every time, and invariably, the finished project was worth the effort. Sometimes a piece will form itself fully in my brain and I just need to transfer the design to paper. Other times, I have disparate elements that need to fit together and the project requires more sketching, more time, and more effort to compose the whole. I try to have each new piece of furniture address a perceived functional need and fulfill my desire to create an organized yet elegant and colorful environment.”

 


 

MICK WHITCOMB

New to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show this year, Mick Whitcomb is a Missouri based artist specializing in one-of-a-kind furniture and lighting made from architectural and industrial salvage. Excited to be among his fellow artists, Mick says, “The reputation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show instills a confidence among collectors in the caliber of artists showing their work.” Traveling the world sourcing unique materials, Mick is captivated by the machine age and early electrical lighting, A recipient of numerous awards for his work, Mick converts 19th century machines and instruments into utilitarian works of art, creating unique and functional light fixtures from obsolete machines. Mick says, “My artwork provides an amazing opportunity to seek out the most notable innovations of the 19th century. Through my conversions of those objects, I am able to bring renewed relevance from what would otherwise be obsolete innovations of the past.”


Seek out these artists and all the rest at the 43rd Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Get your tickets by clicking HERE.

 

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August 28 2019

(Above: from collection by Janice Kissinger)

Fiber wearables are highly popular at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. So much so, there is an entire fashion show centered around this category. Beautiful, colorful, striking, and utilitarian, fiber wearables continue to impress Show attendees, as the artist/designers continue to innovate and create in fabric, textures, and shapes.

Janice Kissinger’s finely sculpted apparel is a prime example. Recipient of Ornament Magazine’s Art-to-Wear Fiber prize at the 2018 PMA Craft Show, Janice creates one of a kind pieces with (surprisingly) no sewing involved. “I seek to drape the body with the same beauty and grace of the traditional Indian saris I use in my work”, says Kissinger. “Creating couture results without sewing is an ongoing adventure.” Adding her own hand-dyed silks and loose wool fibers, Janice uses traditional wet felting methods to build the fabric and the finished garment simultaneously, with zero fabric waste.

(Above: Patrick Benesh-Liu, Associate Editor of Ornament Magazine presenting Award for Art-to-Wear to fiber artist Janice Kissinger)

Patrick Benesh-Liu, Associate Editor of Ornament Magazine says, “In today's world of fast fashion and online shopping, it’s a special treat to talk with the makers. It is an even greater one to try on a hand-felted and dyed jacket, right in their booth. The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is just the place for these human connections, and in its consistent pursuit of the highest levels of American craft, it has become an annual destination for us at Ornament Magazine. Last year we awarded the Ornament Prize for Art-to-Wear to fiber artist Janice Kissinger, who stood out because of her deft marriage of recycled saris with her hand-dyed felt. Beautiful and sensuous. Try one on; you won't regret it.”

(Above: from collection by Janice Kissinger)

Her fourth time exhibiting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Janice appreciates the high quality of the work on display. “My creative energy is recharged spending time soaking up the gorgeous work, the supportive energy of the committee and the reaffirming personalities of the other artists.” Janice loves the transformation in someone’s face when they try on her pieces. “You can see the confidence, the power and sexiness or sophistication she sees in that mirror. That’s a big part of what keeps me making my work.”

NICOLE HADDAD

“I love making clothing that makes people excited to get dressed. My collections are born from my obsession with color and texture”, she says. “Every season I design prints based on texture and then I use color to bring out the best in the print. It makes me happy when other people resonate with my work and collect my pieces.”  

(Above: Lobo Mau collection by Nicole Haddad)

A Philadelphia local, this is the first time Nicole Haddad and her brand Lobo Mau will be exhibiting at the Craft Show. Designing clothing since she was three years old, Nicole comes from a long line of fashion designers in Philadelphia, learning very early from her grandmother. The daughter of Brazilian jazz musicians, Nicole brings her unique heritage to her clothing design. She completed her Master’s in Fashion Design from Drexel University and launched Lobo Mau in 2008. Winner of Drexel’s “40 Under 40” in 2017 and Best of Philly 2019 for Best Sustainable Brand, Nicole is inspired by designers that make sustainability a priority in their work. Her brother Jordan joined the company in 2016 and together they have extended Lobo Mau’s market to New York, Los Angeles, and London.

(Above: Lobo Mau collection by Nicole Haddad)

MARY JAEGER

Mary Jaeger’s background is both cosmopolitan and international. She designed professionally in the NYC garment center for over five years, which she considers her boot camp phase. From there, she was in Japan for eight years where she worked in the kimono industry in Kyoto and designed collections in Tokyo and Paris. Now Jaeger has an independent design studio in Brooklyn and earlier this year, she won the 2019 Honoring the Future Sustainability Award given by the Smithsonian Craft Show. 

Jaeger’s current collection focuses on the juxtaposition of hand-dyed, hand-made pleated garments in the UNFOLDING PROJECT: Accordions Silks with her diffusion printed WHISPERING TEXTILES collection of silk scarves, dresses and diaphanous dusters. The mystery elements are the Words of Hope in each piece, including love, compassion, peace, joy, and happiness. Jaeger says, “These words give deeper meaning to the hand-work, thought-process, care and time invested in the making of these individual items in our era of mass markets, frenetic consumption and dismissive waste.”

 

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August 14 2019

In our last blog we introduced the first round of artists from Israel that are part of our Guest Artist Program at this year’s Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. In this week’s blog, meet the second half of this amazing grouping of talented artists, traveling thousands of miles to join with 195 artists from across the United States. The Guest Artist Program has been an integral part of the PMA Craft Show for nearly 20 of its 43 years in existence, with previous countries participating, including Japan, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Finland, Canada, Korea, Scotland and Lithuania. Israel was represented in 2008 and was a huge hit.

This year’s guest artist program is possible thanks to the support of AIDA (Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts). AIDA’s mission is to foster the development of contemporary decorative artists from Israel by connecting them to an international audience of galleries, institutions and collectors. Israel doesn’t have a Craft Council so AIDA has played that role since its inception 17 years ago. “An international guest artist program is unique in the world of fine craft events and we are happy to have so many of our artists included in the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show,” say Dale and Doug Anderson, AIDA’s co-founders along with Andy and Charles Bronfman. 

Please join us in welcoming these artists by attending the show, visiting their booths, and taking their works of art home with you. Click HERE for tickets.

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Liat Ginzburg, Jewelry

 

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Sharon Vaizer, Jewelry

Tzachi Nevo, Wood

Gily Ilan, Jewelry

 

 

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Noa Fein, Glass

Yael Friedman, Jewelry

Anat Gelbard, Leather & Jewelry

 

 

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Jonathan Hopp, Ceramics

Tamar Branitzky, Fiber Wearable

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Sarit Assaf, Crocheted Jewelry

Nirit Dekel, Glass Jewelry

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August 01 2019

There are many aspects of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show that make it a “must-see” event to attend. The fact that the Show is  the largest single fundraiser for the museum is a start. Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center the second weekend in November, 195 artists from throughout the United States plus 23 guest artists from Israel will participate. The Guest Artist Program has been in existence for nearly twenty years, and has become a very popular aspect of the Show, with previous countries participating, including Japan, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Finland, Canada, Korea, Scotland and Lithuania. In welcoming the artists from Israel, over the course of the next two blogs we will introduce each artist with an image representative of their work along with a link to their work.

We invite you to get your tickets to the Show so you can meet the artists in person and learn more about their craft.

 

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Dikla Levsky, Wearable Fiber

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Maiyan Ben-Yona, Ceramics

Tali Abraham, Metal

Sara Shahak, Jewelry

 

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Inbar Shahak, Jewelry

Itay Noy, Jewelry

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Noa Liran, Jewelry

Yasmin Vinograd, Jewelry

Dana Hakim, Jewelry/Metal

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Yael Rozen, Leather

Tal Batit, Ceramics

 

 

 

 

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July 09 2019

(Above: Necklace by Tom Herman)

The jewelry category at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is unparalleled in its beauty and diversity, from fine gold and silver pieces, to unique and contemporary designs utilizing everything from precious metals to coins, paper, and as you’ll see below, even skateboards! A highly popular section of the Show, each artist’s work sparkles, shines, or surprises attendees in its own way. In this blog, we’re spotlighting three different jewelers, all at different points in their career, and each excited to be exhibitors at the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.

Be sure to check out their social media accounts below.

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EMILY SHAFFER - Emerging Artist

Emily Shaffer first showed a few of her undergraduate pieces in the Kutztown University student booth in 2014, but this will be her first year exhibiting on her own at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show as a studio jeweler and business owner. Four years into owning her company, she is looking forward to showing how far she has come as an artist since graduating college. “I’ve worked hard to develop a body of cohesive work with multiple collections”, she says. “What I enjoy most about the work I do is the actual act of creating something that I dearly love, as well as the challenge of combining it with business, something I believe is essential to making this life sustainable.”

Emily may be a new exhibitor at PMA Craft Show, but it is the other exhibitors that give her inspiration. Walking around the Show while participating in the Kutztown University student booth, she remembers seeing the exhibiting artists, and thinking these are all real people making a living and selling their craft. “It was a very special moment, seeing craft artists at shows, specifically women, many of whom run every aspect of their businesses on their own”, she shares. “It is hugely inspiring for me. I really look up to these women; they set such great examples as talented artists and designers, businesswomen, and all around supportive, kind people.”

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TOM HERMAN – Precious Jewelry of Metal and Stones

Tom has been a longstanding exhibitor at Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show for almost 30 years, and credits the PMA Craft Show as his most successful way to market and promote his work. When asked what he loves most about the Show, Tom equates the history of Philadelphia with the art of fine craft. “Philadelphia is the home of craftsmanship since the beginning of the country”, he says. “The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has been the steward of studio arts and artists, providing an outlet for our creativity.” Tom’s work is inspired by Mother Nature, and he credits his expression of nature as the driving force in his work.

By far, Tom’s biggest achievement with his work to date has been the remarkable Matilija Poppy Project, a piece he co-created with Patsy Croft. Ultimately crafted as a donation to the Mendocino art center, it sold at Sotheby’s in April 2019 for $47,500. All proceeds are benefitting MAC’s jewelry/metal arts program, where Tom and Patsy hope their passion for the project inspires other artists to collaborate and push the boundaries of jewelry design.

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TARA LOCKLEAR - Jewelry From Repurposed Skateboards

This will be Tara’s fourth year at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. She has been making her one-of-a-kind works since college and is thrilled to have officially been in business for over six years. Tara creates her pieces from sheet steel, cast cement, and recycled skateboards and her focus is to create finely crafted jewelry that empowers individuality. Tara has taught workshops and lectured on her process throughout the United States.

“Being part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is always exciting”, says Tara. When we asked what she loves most about the work she does, she said, “There is nothing more satisfying than seeing how raw materials take the shape of my doodles and rendering. Knowing how to work with my hands to do that makes me excited throughout the whole process.” Tara’s inspiration comes from those around her. “People inspire me”, she explains. “Seeing all the different journeys and paths that each person takes and how they embrace the challenges – triumphs – failures. Every time I am able to step out of my small bubble and take part in other peoples’ stories, I always come back with new perspectives and thoughts.” She considers her biggest career achievement thus far to be seeing how customers get excited about something she has created that they want to wear. “That is the biggest success of all”, she says. “Bringing people joy with such a personal item as jewelry is always the most fulfilling.”

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WEBSITES & SOCIAL LINKS:

 

EMILY SHAFFER

emilyshafferstudio.com

Instagram: @emilyshafferstudio

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emilyshafferstudio 

 

THOMAS HERMAN

sevenfingers.com

 

TARA LOCKLEAR

taralocklear.com

Instagram: @taralocklear

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TaraLocklearJewelry

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June 26 2019

(Above: Metal jewelry necklace by juror Ellen Wieske)

“I must say it was the best jury experience I have ever had. The process was clear and easy to understand. I loved the other jurors and our discussions. It was a very positive working group experience.” ~ Ellen Wieske, 2019 Juror

When it comes to selecting artists for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the jurors have the challenge of reviewing outstanding work from a large pool of applicants where there are many more qualified artists than there are spaces to exhibit. With 800 entries and just 195 available slots, the process involves more than meets the eye. This year’s panel of jurors represents a myriad of expertise in the art of fine craft including Elisabeth Agro, Daniel Clayman, Jane Sauer, Lewis Wexler, and Ellen Wieske. Collectively the jurors have their work in museums around the country, are curators, lecturers, studio artists, and gallery owners and serve on Boards and Committees in the world of fine craft.

We asked this uniquely qualified group to bring us inside the process, starting with, “What do you look for in the work?”

JANE looks for fresh ideas and the artist’s ability to support those ideas in the work.

DAN seeks something that he finds interesting by how it looks or speaks to him.

ELIZABETH watches for up and coming artists who are pushing the boundaries of their medium.

LEW: Good artwork has a simple criteria; is it well crafted and designed, is it well thought out, and lastly, is the artist serious and dedicated to their craft?

(Above: Glass sculpture by juror Daniel Clayman)

Next we asked, “What are the most interesting aspects of being a juror?”

LEW appreciates the camaraderie with fellow jurors. “It is really nice to spend time with people in the arts that I normally don’t get to see”,

ELIZABETH finds it rewarding to be with colleagues from across the country discussing the work at hand. “As the PMA’s curator of craft, it is an opportunity to spend quality time with the dedicated women who make up the PMA Craft Show committee. Not only is it a pleasure to work with them, I very much respect all the hard work they do to realize this important show.”

DAN: The work itself and the jurying process sparked some interesting and at times intense discussion.

Jane sums it up well: “To properly jury a show, the juror needs access to good images and be in a comfortable environment. The computer system should be user friendly and carefully explained so all jurors are adequately trained. The Women’s Committee of PMA made sure all these requirements were fulfilled 100%. I really appreciated the dialogue with other jurors during the process. I learned from each of the other jurors, which made the few days we were together ever so stimulating and rich.”

(Above: Fiber art by juror Jane Sauer)

 

THE JURORS:

Jane Sauer is a fiber artist of 35 years with work in over 24 museum collections. She is a curator, lecturer, teacher, writer, and gallery owner in Santa Fe, NM. Jane served on the American Craft Council Board of Trustees, including Chair and honorary Fellow, and she was on the Craft Emergency Relief Fund Board of Directors. Jane also served on the Advisory Board of Santa Fe University of Art & Design, National Council School of Art at Washington University, the International Women’s Forum and she was honored by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

Elisabeth Agro is the Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is co-founder and advisor of Critical Craft Forum. She has curated several exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Wrought & Crafted: Jewelry and Metalwork 1900 – Present, Interactions in Clay: Contemporary Explorations of the Collection, Craft Spoken Here and organized Calder Jewelry. In 2014 she launched Techné, Ambassadors for International Craft, the Museum’s newest affinity group.

Daniel Clayman is an acclaimed contemporary glass artist. He is professor of Craft + Material Studies and Head of Glass at the University of the Arts. Daniel has work in the collections of museums across the globe, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. He is the first endowed Chair in the University’s history.

Ellen Wieske works in several mediums as an artist. Primarily a metalsmith, Ellen received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Arts. Currently the assistant director at Haystack School of Crafts, she has taught workshops at Arrowmont, Penland, Haystack, 92nd Street Y, East Carolina University, UMASS Dartmouth, and in Canada, France and West Africa. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. Wieske runs her studio/gallery Dowstudio in Deer Isle Maine with her wife, potter Carole Ann Fer.

Lewis Wexler is a lecturer, collector, and owner of Wexler Gallery. Early in his career, he was assistant vice president of 20th century decorative arts at Christie’s Auction House in New York City. Lewis then worked with world-renowned French art Deco dealer Anthony Delorenzo at his Madison Avenue gallery. He has lectured extensively at institutions including The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, The Furniture Society Conference, UBS’ Annual Global Media & Communications Conference, and SOFA Chicago. He has been featured in various national publications and appeared on the cover of Art & Antiques magazine.

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement of the 2019 exhibitors and save the date for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, November 8-10th, with a gala preview on November 7th.

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June 11 2019

Upon first look, one might think you’re seeing manufactured wood pieces, screws, and gears all put together to form furniture. But look again. Take it all in. With James Pearce’s woodwork, he actually designs, creates, forms, shapes, and cuts every single piece of wood making up his unique and interactive furniture. That means that if you see an oversized “woodscrew”, James has created it. From scratch. That’s part of what makes his work stand out, as evidenced by “The Wharton Esherick Museum Prize for Excellence in Wood” which Pearce took home at last year’s Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.

For James, the path to becoming a fine craftsman in wood took a circuitous route. A fourth generation woodworker, he was admittedly reluctant to make a career of it. James grew up in the shop helping his dad, and his dad in turn taught him the fundamentals of woodworking. It was fun, but the previous generations were doing architectural, millwork, and cabinetry work, which didn’t really appeal to James. As a young man, he joined the army, where he became a diesel mechanic. It was the mechanical aspect of things that he liked, but not working with diesel. When he finally had the “aha moment”, James discovered there was a way to merge his fascination for mechanical work with his passion for woodworking. It wasn’t always easy, but with great determination, 15 years later James has built his business, his clientele, and his amazing furniture that he will be bringing to the PMA Craft Show this November.

When he began the path towards fine craft furniture, James had all the woodworking basics. Through many shop hours of experimenting, designing, creating, and of course the fine art of trial and error, he took it to the next level. “I am a thinker when it comes to designing my pieces”, says James. “I visualize all the details down to color and finish in my mind before starting a piece and there are always design changes during the actual crafting to ensure the desired aesthetic.”

The wood screws are made on tools that James created specifically for the process. “My work is inspired by vintage industrial mechanical machines”, says Pearce. “My goal is to translate something into a nontraditional medium and have it be fully functional. Most times I don’t know if the piece will work until it is completely finished. My work is very interactive. The viewer needs to touch, feel, and be part of it to understand what is happening.”

James speaks highly of his time at The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. “The overall quality of the exhibiting artists are among the best I’ve seen”, he says. “Philly is one of my favorite towns and everyone involved in making the show a success for the artists are fantastic. It is always an honor to receive an award and to receive an award that is so specific to my craft in the name of such an iconic studio furniture maker is an even bigger honor.”

There is a whimsical aspect to some of Pearce’s work. Take “Wanda” for instance. Inspired by industrial compressors, James describes this as a “one-off”. He began naming some of his pieces after spending so much time with them and realizing they developed their own personalities. James’s work can be found in corporate collections, businesses, residences, and one piece was even purchased by playwright Stephen Sondheim. Recognizing his unique and talents, James was also commissioned to create an interactive “gear wall” installation at The Magic House Children’s Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

We asked James what advice he would give someone just starting out. “Push your craft farther”, he says. “I always try to make my next piece better by exploring new ways, finishes, and mechanisms. I don’t ever want my work to become stale.” The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in the Pearce family, as two of James’s sisters are wood shop teachers. Considering James is a 4th generation woodworker and the oldest of six kids, it’s no wonder his parents are proud of him for staying in the field. They’ve even bought his furniture for their own home. Now that’s the kind of full circle we like to hear.

Stop by James’s booth at the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and check out his unique and interactive furniture!

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May 21 2019

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has over a dozen different categories of fine craft represented among its 195 exhibitors. This week’s blog features the art of glassblowing, with last year’s prizewinner for Excellence in Glass, Thomas Spake.

Glass as a medium can take on many forms. For glassblower Thomas Spake, it can be a small ornament or a large-scale outdoor sculpture. As a first time artist at last year’s Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Thomas took home the Cohn Family Trust Prize for Excellence in Glass. We’re thrilled that Thomas will be joining us again in 2019 and we were intrigued to learn more about his work process and the imagination behind it.

Thomas is inspired by the natural world around him and his one-of-a-kind pieces reflect that. His designs are influenced by the work of 19th century impressionist artists Klimt, Monet, and Van Gogh and their mixture of colors and patterns to express the idea of trees, water, and sky. “One thing that makes my work unique is that I’m using different colored glass chips and powders with five to ten colors to create one pattern”, says Spake. “Much like painting multiple layers to create patterns and textures as the impressionists did, I create textures in glass with the colors from underneath coming through and combine them with the colors on top for the finished product. So the technique is utilized not only for the final result, but also for the process of creating, similar to how the impressionists combined colors on and below the surface.”

Thomas’s work can be found in public spaces, corporate complexes, museum shops, private collections, and this November at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. He had a successful show last year, citing the high caliber of both the artists and the audience as contributing factors. “It was a wonderful experience, from the quality of work throughout the show to the knowledgeable patrons that attended. It was a very educated audience about the medium of working with glass in a non-traditional manner.”

Thomas grew up in Georgia, has lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the last two decades and has worked at his craft for over 25 years. Going to college on a basketball scholarship took a detour when a work-study program in the art department introduced him to glassblowing. That was it for Thomas who described seeing the whole process as a jaw-dropping moment. He never looked back, receiving a B.A. in art and glass from Centre College and eventually launching his solo career. Thomas is constantly inventing new patterns, techniques and designs and he hopes to scale his work even larger than it already is. He believes in the “10,000 hour rule” coined by journalist and thought leader Malcolm Gladwell. “Expect to put in 10,000 hours before you make any significant progress”, Thomas says. “You have to be passionate about what you’re doing and believe in yourself. Because in reality, the only person you have is yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.”

Stop by Thomas’s booth at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and see his mesmerizing and colorful work up close and in person. Maybe you’ll take something home with you!

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P.O. Box 7646
Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646
Phone: (215) 684-7930
E-mail twcpma@philamuseum.org

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