(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 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.
“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 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.
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.
(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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
(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.
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.
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.”
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.
(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.”
“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’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.”
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.
Liat Ginzburg, Jewelry
Sharon Vaizer, Jewelry
Tzachi Nevo, Wood
Gily Ilan, Jewelry
Noa Fein, Glass
Yael Friedman, Jewelry
Anat Gelbard, Leather & Jewelry
Jonathan Hopp, Ceramics
Tamar Branitzky, Fiber Wearable
Sarit Assaf, Crocheted Jewelry
Nirit Dekel, Glass Jewelry
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.
Dikla Levsky, Wearable Fiber
Maiyan Ben-Yona, Ceramics
Tali Abraham, Metal
Sara Shahak, Jewelry
Inbar Shahak, Jewelry
Itay Noy, Jewelry
Noa Liran, Jewelry
Yasmin Vinograd, Jewelry
Dana Hakim, Jewelry/Metal
Yael Rozen, Leather
Tal Batit, Ceramics
(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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(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)
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.
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!
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!
It takes a lot of people power to produce an event like the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, and each year there is a “Show Chairperson” in addition to the event director, support staff, and volunteers. We thought it would be nice to introduce our 2019 Show Chair, Anja Levitties. Anja has served on the Craft Show Committee for six years and has been a volunteer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in various capacities for the past 25 years. Her role and responsibilities as Show Chair are largely to support and motivate the 100 dedicated and experienced members of the Craft Show Committee. She also serves as the public name and face of the Show, specifically via outreach to potential sponsors, supporters, artists and more. “I love working with everyone involved with the show”, says Levitties. “Whether they are an artist, a juror, or a volunteer, everyone is so enthusiastic and thrilled to be participating in making the Show a success.” Here’s a Q & A with more from Anja:
How would you describe the show to a newcomer?
The Show takes place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where each craft booth becomes like its own gallery, with plenty of room throughout the hallways to walk around, mingle, and take it all in. All the work is for sale and the artists are present to interact, engage, and answer questions. Beautiful booths of precious jewelry will be next to luminous works of glass and fabulous furniture. Additional activities include artist demonstrations and a fashion show.
What can people expect at this year’s show?
A mix of master craftspeople and returning artists, longtime working artists that are new to our Show, and talented emerging artists. Our loyal visitors who have supported the Show for years like to see the artists with whom they have developed relationships, but they also like to see fresh faces and new work to which they not have been previously exposed. In terms of programming, we have recently enhanced our Meet & Greet tours program - small group guided tours including speaking with three participating artists at their booths., Individuals and or groups may register to attend and there is also a Friday night package that includes a drink voucher.
Can you talk about the International Guest Artist Program and this year’s artists from Israel?
Our Guest Artist Program is a wonderful part of what makes our show special. In addition to our 195 talented American artists, we dedicate a portion of the Show floor to approximately two dozen guest artists from a different country each year. Two years ago the country was South Korea, then Germany, and now Israel. It is a fantastic way to expose our visitors to craft and design from around the world. I enjoy seeing the interactions between the artists. They learn from each other, they buy or trade pieces, and they form lasting bonds. This form of cultural exchange is truly special to watch.
What else do you recommend doing for those staying in Philly for the weekend?
For out of town visitors staying for the weekend, or for local folks who might want to bring friends to come along, there are many other great things to do in Philadelphia. For concurrent craft events, check out Craft Now Philadelphia and of course Visit Philly is always THE place to find the latest information on what is going on around the city, where to eat, and where to stay.
There are even more events, right?
Right! The kick-off to this year’s show will be a gala Preview Party on the evening of November 7th. This event provides an opportunity for our guests to have the first look at the show and to mix and mingle with the artists over delicious food and drink. On Saturday afternoon we will once again be putting on a fashion show featuring fabulous clothing and accessories from artists in the show modeled by members of the Craft Show Committee. This is always a standing-room-only event in our artist demonstration area. Speaking of artist demonstrations, these take place on Friday and Saturday and are a wonderful way to hear directly from our artists about their work-process and inspiration.
Another program that is near and dear to many is our “Craft U” university program. Each year students and recent alumni from craft programs participate in our Show. Encouraging new talent is very important to us. This year’s participants will be Moore College of Art, Drexel University, and SCAD Jewelry Graduate Study.
What is the museum’s involvement with the Show?
The Craft Show is the single biggest fundraiser for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Over its 42-year history the show has given $13 million to the museum in grants to fund community outreach programs, educational programs such as the summer Art Splash initiative, special exhibitions, art conservation projects and more. It is very important for our committee and visitors to realize what an important contribution the proceeds from the show make to the museum every year. The museum helps to promote the Show to its membership through social and print media in the months leading up to the Show. In addition, Timothy Rub, CEO and Director of the Museum, plays a key role at the Preview Party during the award ceremony by first acknowledging our sponsors and patrons and then announcing the recipients of Best of Show awards.
Anything else you would like to add?
There are a wide range of shows out there in which artists can participate – big/small, regional/national, wholesale/retail; indoor/outdoor; etc. Our show is one of the premier Shows in the country and is of a high caliber. Our Guest Artist Program, Craft U program, guided Meet & Greet tours, and Artist Demonstrations all provide unique opportunities to engage with the show. Our size not only allows our jurors to be quite selective in their decision-making process, but also allows our visitors to focus and spend time truly appreciating the work of our artists, speaking with them, and becoming loyal customers. We invite people to explore the Craft Show website to learn more...
“I make porcelain vessels for everyday use that are both sculptural and utilitarian. I’m influenced by physically engaging textures like old barn wood or industrial flooring, and I enjoy applying common everyday materials to porcelain which is typically seen as precious.” ~ Bryan Hopkins
The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has over a dozen different categories of fine craft represented among its 195 exhibitors. Beginning with ceramics, we’ll be highlighting each category on our blog throughout the season leading to the Show in November.
Ceramics are well represented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and every year we look forward to experiencing the wide variety of styles, designs, and techniques behind each artist’s work. From thrown pottery to porcelain vessels to extruded and stretched slab techniques, each handmade piece is unique, whether meant for utilitarian use, display, or both. As the recipient of the Best of Show for 2018, we couldn’t think of a better way to start this blog series than by talking with ceramic artist Bryan Hopkins. Bryan has participated in the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show seven times and he will be back in 2019.
Bryan’s home and studio are located in Buffalo, NY and he earned an MFA in ceramics at SUNY New Paltz, but his roots are in Philadelphia. Growing up outside Philly and attending West Chester University, Bryan’s trajectory took him from being a math major in college to finding his way to clay, and eventually porcelain, the primary material he has worked in since 1990. Bryan teaches at Niagra County Community College as well as workshops in colleges and art centers around the country. His work has been exhibited in national shows and he has been featured in several niche magazines and books. There was a natural segue in asking Bryan about a correlation between math and his design process. “There’s a lot of geometry in my work. The mathematician / scientist Descartes and his simple circle formulas are interesting to me visually”, says Hopkins. “However, I’m influenced more by urban environments, architecture and the elevation of structures.” Bryan loves the feeling of freedom he has in the studio to take risks, play, and explore, which has brought forth many breakthroughs over the years.
For many craft artists, there are two very different elements to their business, creating the work and showing the work. What Bryan enjoys the most about the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show are the people. He especially enjoys talking to anyone that has a passion for craft and he knows that people enjoy meeting the artists one on one. Bryan talks about the connection a handmade object has between maker and user. “As a designer, you make something with an intent or a purpose”, he says. “Take one of my tumblers for example. I can have my idea, but the buyer will use it as they see fit, such as putting flowers in it. I like that interaction.”
When asked about his biggest career achievement so far, Bryan says it’s a toss up between being on the cover of Ceramics Monthly and getting the Best of Show Award at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show in 2018. Duly surprised at receiving the award, Bryan confessed he was busy eating the delicious food at the preview party gala and almost missed his name being called. “I was really in shock because I know the quality of the show”, he said. “It’s an accomplishment just to get accepted as an exhibitor, let alone dream of winning an award.” In parting, we asked Bryan if he had any words of advice for someone starting out in the world of fine craft. “Define what success looks like to you. Decide what you need in life to be happy. Find a good place to live. Realize you do not get through this life alone. Say yes to as many experiences as possible. Ask for and accept help. Understand there are always people better than you. Know your life is more than the work you make.” Thank you Bryan. Your words are vessels for many to hold in their hands.
Come meet Bryan and see his work in person at the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Tickets go on sale early May. Stay tuned to the website and subscribe to the newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox.
SAVE THE DATE FOR A SHOWCASE OF CONTEMPORARY CRAFT AND DESIGN
Friday, November 8 – Sunday, November 10, 2019
Gala Preview Party – Thursday November 7, 2019
When it comes to the art of fine craft and design, did you know Philadelphia is the place to be? In the heart of Center City in the middle of autumn is one of the most highly regarded events of its type in the country, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Celebrating its 43rd year this November, The Craft Show is held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and is a sight to be seen. With over a dozen categories ranging from ceramics to jewelry to furniture to fiber, 195 juried exhibitors will descend upon the city, bringing their fine contemporary craft, ready for all to see, experience, and purchase.
The three-day Craft Show is not only a feast for the eyes, it’s also the biggest single fundraiser of the year for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Presented by The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the event has raised over $13 million dollars in its 42-year history. Proceeds from ticket sales help to purchase works of art and craft for the permanent collection of the museum. This has allowed the museum to acquire more contemporary craft, thus broadening the reach of this important category of art. In addition, proceeds from the Show have helped fund education and publication projects, state-of-the-art equipment, and special exhibitions.
For nearly 20 years, the Show has featured a guest artist program from countries around the world including Japan, England, Ireland, Germany, Finland, Canada, Korea, Scotland and Lithuania. This year, the Craft Show is honored to welcome over two-dozen craft artists from Israel. The Show has something for everyone, from finding unique treasures for yourself to one-of-a-kind gifts for others. Beyond the aisles of the main show floor, guests will experience events including artist demonstrations, Meet and Greet tours with artists, student exhibitions, and a fashion show of clothing, jewelry and accessories from the Show floor.
Save the date to be inspired by museum quality contemporary craft and design. Whether you’re a fine craft aficionado or new to the genre, we invite you to explore the 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, where there is more than meets the eye.
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The 2019 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show artists will be announced on July 1st, 2019.
Still want to apply to the show? The official application deadline has passed, but click here for an extended deadline. Last minute applications will be accepted through midnight on April 15th 2019.
THANK YOU TO OUR PATRONS, ARTISTS and SPONSORS!
The 42nd annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show raised $368,000 for the Museum! Thanks to the support of our sponsors, patrons and artists, the Craft Show has contributed more than $12.8 million over a 42-year period to its sole beneficiary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This year’s Show featured 195 of the best artists in craft and design in the United States along with 26 guest artists from Germany.
Congratulations to this year’s award winners:
Best of Show – Bryan Hopkins, Ceramics
The Eric Berg Prize for Excellence in Metal – Wendy Stevens Handbags
The Louise K. Binswanger Prize for Best Artist New to the Show – Erin and John Blackwell, Glass
The Cohn Family Trust Prize for Excellence in Glass – Thomas Spake
The Prize for Excellence in Fiber Art – Kristy Kun
The Jane and Leonard Korman Family Prize for Excellence in Clay – Ahrong Kim
The Ornament Magazine Prize for Excellence in Art to Wear – Janice Kissinger
The Prize for Excellence in Design – Alan Daigre, Furniture
The Prize for Excellence in Jewelry – Ashley Buchanan
The Wharton Esherick Museum Prize for Excellence in Wood – James Pearce, Furniture
See all the action from our 42nd annual Craft Show by checking out our Facebook photo albums from the Show and the Preview Party.
Save the date for the 43rd Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show; November 8-10, 2019 with a Preview Party on November 7th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The application process for the 2019 Show will open in January 2019. The deadline is April 1, 2019. For more information please visit: https://www.pmacraftshow.org/2018-application.
This year’s Guest Artist Program at the 2018 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show will feature 26 artists from Germany, thanks to the support of Bundesverband Kunsthandwerk Berufsverband Handwerk Kunst Design E.V., a nationwide German organization of professional craftsmen, designers and artists.
The group of German artists is an impressive one, including Horst Max Lebert, a jewelry artist who was commissioned by the Met Breuer to create a jewelry collection that responds to the legacy of Marcel Breuer. This collection is now on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His designs are made from silver, gold and other precious materials and are designed to evoke in the wearer.
Artist Wolfgang Olbrisch creates leather handbags for women who seek a stylish option for every occasion: office, casual, evening and everyday use. His bags are made in a variety of sizes and are designed for both function and the spirit of the woman wearing it.
Artist Sabine Stasch is trained in millinery and textile design and uses her skill to create wearable yet elegant head coverings. Her unique pieces include hats, bonnets and headpieces.
Artist Katharina von der Marwitz is a jewelry maker who began her career as a ceramicist, which is evident in her jewelry. Primarily sterling silver, she incorporates copper, stones, bones and glass as well as handmade china.
To read about all of the German artists and to see examples of their work, click here.
Interested in meeting the German Artists in person? Get your tickets to this year’s show here.
Susan Lenz is a South Carolina-based fiber artist. Her unique installations and innovation with her craft have earned her attention across the nation.
Tell us about your background.
I am a mainly self-taught artist working with fibers. This is my third year participating at the Craft Show.
What influences your art?
Many things have helped shape my taste and techniques over time, influencing my art. I am heavily influenced by architecture, as I create my work to have a sense of a building. I love the work of Austrian Architects, and the concept of individualism. I identify with the idea that your home should reflect you, and with my work, I get to create art that reflects people. It is important to make a space unique and represents who truly lives there. I use a lot of colors, and no straight lines. I am fascinated by stained glass windows, and each of my series are related to windows in some way.
What lead you to focusing on fiber?
I like taking old and neglected yarn from yard sales and auctions and make art out of it. I have a sense of purpose in taking these unwanted and unused materials and create something new and useful.
Is there a general process you follow for creating your work?
There are three main stages in my process: cutting polyester and fusing it down, sewing it, and melting and soldering iron holes. My work also requires a lot of prep, breaking down fibers, as they come in all different forms.
What piece of work are you proud of?
I have a piece featured in the Textile Museum in Washington, DC called “Wasted Worlds: Global Warnings.” It is featured as part of the permanent collection of the museum.
How do you connect with your clients?
I have had a blog since 2006! It is a way for clients to be able to see what I am working on and see my process. It’s called “Art in Stitches,” and highlights different projects I am working on, and lets people better understand the purpose of my work. I can post my projects online, and let people see all aspects of the artistic process.
Ashley Buchanan is a high-end jewelry artist from Atlanta, Georgia. Her contemporary work and unique style earned her a coveted spot in this year’s PMA Craft Show.
Tell us about yourself and your art background.
My father and grandfather were both carpenters, inspiring me to pick the art / craft route in life. I attended the University of Georgia out of high school, and right away, I knew I wanted to study art. I first came in as a sculpting major, but after a summer studying in Italy, I realized my passion for jewelry making, and I have never turned back from there.
You mentioned that you realized your passion for jewelry in college, why jewelry?
I often joke that jewelry is the “Gateway Drug” of collecting art—wearing it can make it become a conversation piece, and help start developing a new love for art. I also love that it’s mobile, and lets you bring art wherever you go.
What influences your work?
I am influenced by many things that have surrounded me in my life. My work is contemporary but uses familiar materials like pearls, lace and ornamentation. I like to use a familiar color palette. When I first started out I couldn’t afford to use super expensive materials like precious stones, so my work took shape in non-traditional materials.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I usually start with the business end, answering work emails and online orders, and then transition into my studio. It is important to mix the business aspects into your day, as being in the studio can be isolating.
Do you use social media to promote yourself?
Yes! Instagram is the biggest, but sometimes I use Facebook too. I try to create client/artist relations to connect with my clients. I think it makes the art more special when you get to know the artist more, and social media is the perfect way to give clients a look into my life and process. I also get the chance to tell people what shows I will be doing. I try to do between 12-16 shows a year.
Why do you enjoy showing your work at the PMA Craft Show?
The attendees of this show appreciate what they are seeing. They get excited to see new and unique work, and truly get what it means to patron the arts.
What should someone know prior to attending the PMA craft show?
Artists all approach jewelry making differently—you can look at 100 pairs of earrings, and they are all different, and that to me is what makes it cool. I love knowing the products I sell are made by me, and all the artists that will be there have a very important place in our society’s culture.
Josh is a glassmaker who is interested in color and the relationships it creates within his designs.
Tell us about yourself and your art background.
I am an artist/craftsperson who has been making work using hot glass for the past 20 years. In high school I was more interested in art-making than any other subject, from there, I went to The Massachusetts College of Art and stumbled upon glass blowing. After graduating, I took a job with a gentleman who designed and built furnaces and other glass blowing equipment that he sold to customers around the world. The main reason for taking this position was to learn for myself how to build the furnace equipment for a studio of my own someday. That happened about 12 years later, when my wife and I found an unfinished house with some land in southern Vermont and put up our own studio building where we currently make our work.
What influences you and your work?
I have always been interested in color-relationships. How does one color look juxtoposed with another, and/or how do 3 or 4 colors all work in harmony (or not) in the same piece? I’m always asking myself those questions in my work. I’m influenced by color-relationships I see out in our world, and in my daily surroundings, and at least subconsciously choose colors for some of the things I make in glass based on those experiences.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Carlo Scarpa. He received most of his fame and notoriety for his work as an architect, but he started his career as a designer/artistic director employed by two of the many glass factories in Murano, an island in the Venetian lagoon famous for a long history of glass making.
What do you do day-to-day in your studio?
Most of my time is spent just thinking about ideas, color-selections, and the steps and processes I might go about in the making of those ideas once I’m in front of the furnace. After the brain storming process, I spend a lot of time on prep-work to achieve the pattern and line-work I’m looking for in my finished pieces. Parts of the process would be done at the furnace, then allowed to cool, then cut and/or arranged somehow, and reheated and manipulated again, sometimes multiple times.