September 29 2014

We continue our blog series getting to know this year’s Show jurors with Eric Rymshaw, a Philadelphia-based architect and interior designer who is the design principal at Fury Design, Inc. where he partners with James Fulton. Their work includes large-scale residential interior and architectural projects, as well as corporate interiors. As collectors, Rymshaw and Fulton have been attending the Craft Show since its inception. Fury Design advocates for both craft and fine art with their clients and often commissions artists to create one-of-a-kind objects for interior and architectural projects.

What's the most rewarding or challenging thing about serving as a juror?

I really enjoy the diverse point of view that jurors bring – it’s like collaborating with really smart perceptive professionals who know their subject and share openly. It always opens my mind to new ways to look at artists and what they make. It often makes me realize how much I still can learn.

What makes the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show different? 

It’s the constant pursuit of excellence in the artists that are accepted into the show. Year after year there are amazing artists who surprise us.

What do you look for when selecting artists for the PMA Craft Show? 

I look for artists who not only excel in the craft of their work but as important their ability to design a beautiful object. My own love is for clay and wood. 

Which craft trends did you see coming through this year? 

Restrained modern minimalism. Clay and textile art are having a resurgence.

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September 22 2014

As November nears, we know your excitement for seeing the incredible work of 195 fine craft artists all under one roof is building. But do you know how the Show’s proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Museum of Art every year?

Over the last 37 years, the Craft Show and Women’s Committee have raised more than $10.5 million, with efforts helping to influence every gallery and program within the Museum. When you purchase a ticket to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, you are directly supporting the work of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“Not only do all the proceeds go directly to varied museum-wide activities, but a percentage also goes in a fund that is applied to acquiring contemporary craft,” said Philadelphia Museum of Art associate curator Elisabeth Agro in a recent Juror Q&A blog post. “That’s what sets the Craft Show apart.”

Proceeds granted to the Museum support a wide variety of projects such as:
- Acquisitions of American craft for the Museum’s permanent collection
- Support of major Museum exhibitions
- Underwriting of education and publication projects
- Purchases of state-of-the-art equipment for the conservation, audio-visual and installations departments
- Support of Form In Art, a groundbreaking program offering art history and studio art classes to blind and visually impaired adults
- Contributions to the renovation of Museum infrastructure and galleries as well as external installations such as the Rodin Museum   and Mount Pleasant, an 18th century house in nearby Fairmount Park.

Image: Nerikomi Vessel. Thomas A. Hoadley, American, born 1949. Unglazed porcelain. Purchased with funds contributed by The Women's Committee and the Craft Show Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show was founded in 1977 and was the first retail craft show established and organized by a volunteer committee for the benefit of a nonprofit institution, and has since served as a prototype for successful shows in cities such as Washington, D.C., and Evanston, Ill. among others.

To expand your support even more, you can purchase a ticket to our opening night gala on November 5 (November 11 in 2015).

Image: Compacted Gray Riser with Green. Tom Patti, American, born 1943. Purchased with funds contributed by The Women's Committee and the Craft Show Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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September 16 2014

Josh Simpson is one of Western Massachusetts’ best known, most prolific and successful glass artists, whose portfolio has enhanced gallery exhibits and private collections throughout the world. His glasswork can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Yale University Art Gallery and museums in Prague, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and Canada.

A longtime supporter of community arts, Simpson was instrumental in starting the glass blowing program at Snow Farm, The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA. In 1985, he co-founded and was also the first president of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, a national foundation that has helped many hundreds of artists survive personal crises, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Irene. He has also been President and Treasurer of the Glass Art Society, and a member since 1972. Simpson is married to chemist and researcher Cady Coleman, the 30th woman in space, the 333rd astronaut, and NASA’s senior most active astronaut. Read more of his bio at Josh Simpson Universe and get updates on new work from his website and Facebook profile.

What first interested you in working in your medium?

I think what initially piqued my curiosity, and has now commanded my attention for well over 40 years, is how impossibly challenging it is to work with glass. It is a ridiculously hot viscous liquid that obeys only gravity and centripetal forces. The challenge for me as an artist is to coax this molten material into a shape and form that I want it to be in.

What is special about the medium you work with? How does it inform the work you create? 

The magic of glass is its translucency. I can bend and magnify or diminish the light around it.  Even the shadows of glass objects have color!

What do you love about your workspace? 

I live among the hills of Western Massachusetts. The landscape and sky here is inspiration for much of the glass that I make. From where I sit at my bench I can see more than 50 miles down the valley. There are days when the drama of the ever-changing view down the valley, thunderstorms, snow squalls, clouds, sunlight and the changing seasons make it hard for me to work! 

There is no light pollution here. At night I have a perfect view of the sky and because I often have to adjust my glass furnaces at totally odd hours, I am sometimes rewarded by the most amazing views of the night sky. Aurora Borealis, the Milky Way, constellations, lightening, satellites, the Space Station... it’s all there. It’s taken me more than 40 years to configure my studio so that it’s exactly the way I want it. It is probably one of the best-equipped glass facilities in the world, and it’s perfect for me to create the glass that I’m known for.

What was your inspiration for a recent piece?

My most recent work is a series of “Corona Platters,” meant to evoke the wonder of the universe that I feel when I look at Hubble and Chandra Space Telescope images. 

You can preview the work of the 2013 Craft Show award winner for excellence in glass here


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September 15 2014

For Craft Show visitors already mapping out a schedule for Nov. 6—9, here’s a roundup of fine craft-related museum and gallery exhibitions worth planning ahead to see.


[FASHION] Patrick Kelly, a black clothing designer from the rural south, went from selling his designs on the streets of 1980s Paris to being carried by Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman a short two years later. A retrospective of his work, “Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love,” is on view now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through Dec. 7 and is a must-see for visiting craft artists and fashion aficionados.

[TEXTILE] From Philadelphia's The Fabric Workshop and Museum: a new exhibition centered on what stories traditional Japanese fabric processes can tell. New York-based sculptor Kazumi Tanaka's work is on view through Nov. 9, closing on the last day of the Craft Show.

[WOODWORKING] One of our Show prize sponsors, the Wharton Esherick Museum has opened their annual Woodworkers' Show, Cabinets of Curiosity, on view through Dec. 31.


[CERAMIC] Snyderman-Works Galleries wrapped up their summer sale in August, which included work from 2014 Craft Show artist Karen Gilbert, but coming up next you’ll find “Explorations in Form: Vessels by Lis Ehrenreich and Skeff Thomas.” On view through Sept. 27, even the online image gallery of these functional ceramic pieces is worth a browse.

[CERAMIC] The Clay Studio has a full line-up of exhibitions leading up to the Craft Show, but if you head over for some Old City sightseeing after a full day of browsing craft artists booths in November, you’ll find “Art and Industry: New Work by Bobby Silverman,” and “Breakfast: Curated by Bryan Hopkins.” “Pottery by Design,” an exhibition presented as part of DesignPhiladelphia 2014, will showcase the depth and breadth of design in contemporary ceramics.

[FURNITURE] With The Center for Art in Wood’s 19th year of hosting a finale exhibition for the Windgate ITE International Residency program (allTURNatives: Form + Spirit 2014, on view Aug. 1-Oct. 25) just behind them, the nonprofit will be prepping for “Rediscovering Emil Milan and his Circle of Influence,” a landmark exhibition on the midcentury designer craftsman that will open Nov. 7. 

Image courtsey of the Fabric Workshop and Museum: Kazumi Tanaka. Silk fabric made with Shibori-Zome technique (traditional Japanese resist and dye processes), 2014. Silk. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.
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September 02 2014

We continue our blog series celebrating the power and beauty of handmade objects, titled “The Best Craft I Ever Bought.”  In this series, creative and passionate Philadelphians tell us the stories behind the craft objects they’ve welcomed into their lives and what the objects mean to them.

In this post, Garth Johnson, Curator of Artistic Programs at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, shares a secret: his favorite craft isn’t ceramic. A writer, educator and artist, Garth has taught at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif. Georgia State University, Columbus State University and Golden West College. His first book, 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse, was published in 2009. His artwork has been shown nationally and internationally, including a solo exhibition at The Clay Studio in 2009 and the group exhibition “Horizon – Landscapes, Ceramics and Print” at the National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design in Oslo, Norway. His work can be found at

My clay friends and my co-workers at The Clay Studio might be surprised by my choice of the “Best Craft I Ever Bought.” Even though I have pottery and ceramic sculptures by some of the greatest masters in the field, my favorite craft is a crude painted wood carving of Sesame Street’s Ernie and Bert’s sweaters that stands about eight inches high.

The painted wood sculpture of Ernie and Bert’s sweaters standing together on a small plinth is iconic—just a glance by anyone the least bit familiar with Sesame Street creates instant recognition. In fact, my 2-year old daughter connected the sculpture with Ernie and Bert after only seeing them on YouTube a couple of times.

Even though the sculpture was a bit out of my price range at the time, I knew I had to have it. I had first met the artist, Sean Samoheyl, in the mid-aughts when I was living in Atlanta, Georgia and writing frequently for my blog, Sean, who lives and works at the Twin Oaks commune in central Virginia, found out about my blog and sent me a link to some images of his work. He makes eccentric, raggedy carved wood sculptures and fantastic puppets. Over the past few years, Sean has embraced “traditional” woodworking techniques and has a chair-making business that painstakingly crafts rockers with delicate spindles and bentwood arms.

I’ve been thinking a lot about being “haunted” by images and objects. This might be the object in my life that haunts me the most. I’ve always been a person who derives feelings from things, and I spend a lot of time chasing those feelings in words, excited conversations or through my own art.

Not to get all introspective and cerebral, but there’s a powerful sense of absence in this sculpture…of loss even. Sure, Ernie and Bert are literally absent here, but I’m even a little bit haunted by Ernie and Bert’s presence. Their ambiguous relationship has been the subject of intense analysis (and projection) over the years. There’s something in this simple sculpture that evokes generations of closeted relationships to me. Maybe it’s just the way I tend to over-analyze and connect things, but a part of me always thinks of the AIDS epidemic—which if you think of it, would have squarely hit men like Ernie and Bert, who came of age in the ‘70s.

Sean’s sculpture is everything I value in craft. Of course I value workmanship, but I put the power of vision above all else. On the surface, the Ernie and Bert sculpture is whimsical. My 2-year old certainly likes to look at it and talk to it. I bring a lot of baggage to my relationship with the sculpture—all of us bring baggage to the crafted objects we interact with on a daily basis. Can a favorite craft object be “difficult” or even a little bit sad? I’d like to think so.

Visit the 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art Crafts Show Wood category and Ceramics category to see the original hand-made objects in these mediums available from our 2014 artists. 

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August 20 2014

When Craft Show shoppers aren’t browsing one-of-a-kind, wearable works of art to add to their wardrobes over four jam-packed days in November, they can find wares from many of our craft artists on sites like Etsy. Placing these museum-quality pieces for sale through an online retailer is the digital equivalent to the street selling of only a few decades ago—and for some artists, it can be a jumpstart to a career.

Patrick Kelly, a black clothing designer from the rural south, was one of the craft artists who earned that jumpstart. Kelly went from selling his designs on the streets of 1980s Paris to being carried by Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman a short two years later. A retrospective of his work, Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love,” is on view now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through December 7 and is a must-see for visiting craft artists and fashion aficionados.

The Wall Street Journal credits Philadelphia Museum of Art senior curator Dilys Burn for curating an exhibition that feels like a “five year party,” following the five years of Kelly’s short career, from his first official collection in 1985 to his death on Jan. 1, 1990.

Get a jolt of the 80’s from “the most important fashion designer you’ve never heard of” to go with the fashion-forward yet classic jackets, scarves, sweaters and more that you’ll find this year at the Craft Show.

Visit 2014 Craft Show Wearable Fiber Art to see the wearable artwork that will be available this November from our 2014 artists.


Philadelphia Museum of Art, Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave.

"Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love"

Museum admission $20, $18 seniors, $14 students and ages 13-18, under 12 free. 

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August 12 2014

Behind-the-scenes insight on contemporary craft continues in our Juror Q&A blog series, this time from Craft Show 2014 juror Elisabeth Agro. (See the first Craft Show Juror Q&A post featuring the Museum of Fine Arts Boston’s Yvonne Markowitz here.) As the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Associate Curator for Craft and Decorative Arts, Agro often serves on the juror panel of the Craft Show.

What's the most rewarding or challenging thing about serving as a juror?

There are two aspects that are most rewarding to serving as a juror as often as I do. First, it permits me to meet and get to know the other jurors, who range from being curators of all kinds of spaces, gallerists, established makers and academics. Secondly, it is always rewarding to see new submissions from talented artists who are pushing the boundaries of their medium and work.

I guess the challenge is to rally my fellow jurors to make the best show possible by really bringing my "A" game into the room.

What makes the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show different? 

When this show was launched in 1977, it was the first of its kind, so it has those laurels to rest upon. This show, like others, is a fundraiser for a major museum. What sets it apart from other craft shows is how not only do all the proceeds go directly to varied museum-wide activities from exhibitions to education, but a percentage goes directly in a fund that is applied to the acquisition of contemporary craft. I don't need to explain how critical that is, do I!

What do you look for when selecting artists for the Craft Show? 

I am always on the lookout for up-and-coming artists who are pushing the boundaries of their medium or practice. It is especially important, in my opinion, that their work reflects their individual and unique voice. As the museum's curator, I always enjoy watching artists grow and come into their own. The Craft Show is a great way to get your work seen, especially if you are an emerging artist or even at mid-career. All shows need an infusion of new talent; it’s what keeps them fresh and vital. So artists, never shy away from applying!

Which craft trends did you see coming through this year? 

This year there was a striking proliferation of work across all media that could be categorized as minimal but blended with a twang of the industrial. This should not be very surprising, since it seems to be the trend in many household, office settings and everyday surroundings. What is surprising is to see this trend share the stage with the application and love of ornament, whether applied on the surface or to be used structurally. I can tell you that this decorative art historian always loves to see that!

Elisabeth Agro received her B.A. in Italian Studies from Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA, and an M.A. in the History of Decorative Arts from Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution/Parsons School of Design, NY.

At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she has executed several exhibitions: Wrought & Crafted: Jewelry and Metalwork 1900–Present, Interactions in Clay: Contemporary Explorations of the Collection, Craft Spoken Here and organized Calder Jewelry. The founding of the American Studio Craft movement is a subject of ongoing research. Agro is currently planning the second installment of At the Center: Masters of American Craft, part of a five phase installation program in the American Art galleries focusing on the Museum’s craft collection.

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August 05 2014

Cliff Lee came into prominence in 1993 when he was invited to contribute a piece of his work to the White House Collection of American Crafts. Two years later his work was in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery. His work can now be found in several major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition catalog for 'History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011' says Cliff Lee "stands alone in his sensitivity to the source and the intensity with which he channels China's ceramic past into contemporary American work."

What first interested you in working in your medium?

In the beginning, I was a neurosurgeon. On my sabbatical, I took a ceramics course to be therapeutic and then I got hooked. My colleagues thought I was crazy, but now that we’re in our 70s, they think differently. It’s been a win-win situation for me—I could prolong my career doing something I love.

What is special about the medium you work with? How does it inform the work you create? 

It’s almost like meditation—I just forget everything, sitting at the potter’s wheel. Also, I like clay!  I’m Chinese, I come from a family where my parents didn’t allow us to play with clay. They thought only wild kids out in the country played with clay, so I wasn’t allowed. But they collected Chinese porcelain—I lived with it, and was exposed to it early on. Porcelain is an immense challenge. I’m a type “A” person, so of course I picked up porcelain. I like challenges, I always want to pursue the best; it’s the most difficult things I want to overcome.

What do you love about your workspace? 

My studio is a 210-year-old stone barn that we converted. I share the studio with my wife, the jeweler Holly Lee, who was just featured on the front cover of Ornament Magazine. It’s two stories, at 4,500 square feet. We got to design the studio to be exactly what I wanted—there’s a glaze room, a carving room, a kiln room and a showroom.

What was your inspiration for a recent piece?

A few years back when I took a trip to Hawaii, we went out to look at the volcanoes, at the lava fields. I saw that the leaves regenerated a few years later. I’ve been working with lava glaze, and carving and sculpting trees, leaves and flowers.

Cliff Lee was the 2013 Craft Show award winner for excellence in design and will return for this year’s show. Preview his work here. See the artist at work in his studio over several videos posted to his YouTube channel.

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July 23 2014

The Craft Show brings some of the country’s most notable craftspeople and their wares to our city. Today, we’re introducing a new blog series that celebrates the power and beauty of handmade objects, called “The Best Craft I Ever Bought.”  In this series, creative and passionate Philadelphians tell us the stories behind the craft objects they’ve welcomed into their lives and what the objects mean to them.

Our first blogger is Karen Karuza, a professor of fashion design who teaches at The Art Institute of Philadelphia and Moore College of Art and Design. She’s worn many (fashionable) hats, teaching ESL in Mexico, working in the fashion industry on New York’s Seventh Avenue, and as an antiques dealer specializing in religious iconography. She is a practitioner of the Mysore style of Ashtanga yoga and blogs at Confessions of A Yoga Hussy.

Nearly three decades ago, Oaxaca, Mexico found me. My son was born in Oaxaca,

I taught in a private school. I ran a cafe. But life changed and we returned to the States.

Seven years ago I was on a summer teaching sabbatical in Oaxaca documenting its incredibly rich textile tradition. Huipiles – traditional indigenous garments worn by women — have always been one of my favorite collectibles. In any crowded market, a woman’s huipile identifies what village and indigenous group she is from. Huipiles tell the story of one’s life.

One size fits all. Every woman looks lovely in a huipile. Even so, huipiles had fallen “out of fashion” in the early 21st century. Perhaps Oaxacan women wanted to appear more “North American” and ”modern.”

Wandering through a small specialty shop in the Tourist Corridor one lazy afternoon, I came across the most extraordinary “modern” version of huipiles.  Quality fabrics, scaled slightly smaller, slightly more cropped than the traditional versions, adorned with embroidered images and words.

Oaxacan artist and poet laureate Natalia Toledo, who is also the daughter of noted painter, sculptor and activist Francisco Toledo, had designed and made these huipiles. She writes in Spanish but also in Zapoteca- one of many fading indigenous dialects in Oaxaca.

An inky blue huipile caught my attention. It was embroidered with multicolored words that formed a poem, written by Natalia Toledo, one side in Spanish, one side in Zapoteca:

My house is your house

Fringes they weave on my head

Death is a cricket

That awaits on the leaf of your door

I cherish this huipile -- it reminds me of what I love about Oaxaca: the strength of the women, the lyricism of every day magic realism, the spectrum of color everywhere, the confrontation of life and death.

When I wear this huipile, feel connected to that place of my heart.

Visit 2014 Craft Show Wearable Fiber Art  to see the gorgeous, artist-made, wearable artwork that will be available from our Craft Show artists.

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July 17 2014

We’re thrilled to announce the lineup of 195 of the best contemporary fine craft artists in the country who will present their work at the 38th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show! Through the highly competitive jury process that considered more than 1,000 applicants, selected artists from Maine to California will offer their one-of-a-kind works at the Pennsylvania Convention Center November 6-9, 2014.

Craft Show artists present a striking variety of museum-quality work in glass, ceramics, wood, basketry, both wearable and decorative fibers, metal, paper, leather and mixed media, as well as one-of-a-kind handmade furniture and both precious and semi-precious jewelry.

Get a sneak peak at the work of our 2014 craft artists here.

In addition to work from artists who are represented in prominent museum collections nationwide, this year’s Show will feature outstanding emerging artists by top craft students from The University of the Arts, Moore College of Art & Design, Kutztown University and Savannah College of Art and Design. (Read our full press release here.)

Tickets to the Show and the November 5 Preview Party are on sale now.

Stay up to date with news from the Craft Show and this year’s artists by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Pictured above:
Desiree Delong, Brooklyn, NY; semi-precious jewelry
Christine Love Adcock, Santa Barbara, CA; basketry
Bruce Erdman, Greendale, WI; furniture


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July 14 2014

As much as fine craft artists turn to the PMA Craft Show Pinterest page for artistic inspiration, we’ve found that craft buyers browse our pins to preview the work available at the Show and for home décor ideas. And while we love seeing craft on display, it’s just as exciting to see artwork from professional crafters nationwide put to use at a dinner party or as part of your next fashion statement.

Our most repinned website images for the month definitely show that Pinterest users are looking through work from our craft artists with fashion in mind. Check out these top pins from our 2013 Craft Show artists--and be sure to follow us on Pinterest as we begin to share the work of our 2014 selected artists.

1. Sophie Truong, leather tote: 2013 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, leather category. Find the Chelsea, MA-based artist at

2. Melissa R. Schmidt, glass necklace: 2013 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, semi-precious jewelry category. Find the Maplewood, MO-based artist at

3. Judith Kinghorn, sterling silver and gold pendant: 2013 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, precious jewelry category. Find the Minneapolis, MN-based artist at

Take a browse through our Pinterest boards, organized by artistic medium and by how you can put those crafts to use in your home or in your wardrobe.  

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June 25 2014

Can’t wait until the start of the Craft Show in November to get your craft on? The American Craft Council has a comprehensive list of schools with craft workshops and courses by state (scroll down for Pennsylvania), but we’ll make it even easier for you with a roundup of nearby offerings. Classes often sell out, so sign up, and then check out our Pinterest page for artistic inspiration!

At Museums

• For the whole family, the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers the return of ArtSplash. The Museum’s main building will be transformed into a hot spot for kids and their grown-ups, where you can drop in for family workshops that bring the Museum’s collection to life, including explorations of some of our country’s first works of art, arms and armor, and distant lands.

• Just across the street from our Craft Show venue at the Convention Center, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts offers evening and Saturday courses, one-week intensives and weekend workshops.

• Learn plein air painting, studio oil painting, or printmaking at Woodmere Art Museum in weekday classes that typically run for 5-6 weeks.

At Art Schools

• Browse through the “Adult Summer 2014” courses from the Fleisher Art Memorial, and you’ll find some tempting options, whether it’s figure painting or screenprinting.

• The Tyler School of Art offers continuing education classes in photography, ceramics, glass and more. The courses are designed for teaching professionals, but some accommodate all levels of expertise.

At Workshop Studios

• In addition to its popular lectures and “Date Night” programming, The Clay Studio offers adult classes categorized by technique: general pottery, handbuilding and wheelthrowing.

• The Philadelphia Furniture Workshop has a slew of evening or one-day courses, which are often project-based. Beginners can learn to make step stools or a coat rack; intermediate woodworkers a bureau or a kitchen table.

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June 16 2014

To get to know our PMA Craft Show jurors this year, we’re introducing a new blog series to hear what they look for when selecting artists and what craft trends they see coming through in submitted work.

Our first featured juror is Yvonne J. Markowitz, the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry in the David and Roberta Logie Department of Textile and Fashion Arts, Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Serving in the first curatorship of its kind in America, Markowitz oversees the museum's exceptional collection of jewelry. She is also the past editor of the Journal of the American Society of Jewelry Historians, an editor of Adornment, the Magazine of Jewelry and Related Arts, co-director of the annual Adornment conference (ASJRA), and the author of numerous jewelry-related books and articles. Her most recent books are Artful Adornments: Jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Jewels of Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin: A History of American Style and Innovation; and Jewels of Ancient Nubia (with Denise Doxey). 

What's the most rewarding or challenging thing about serving as a juror?

I enjoyed meeting the other jurors and all those at the Philadelphia Museum of Art who organized the process. It was also exciting to see craft outside my area of expertise.

What makes the PMA Craft Show different?

Its professionalism and the quality of the artists hoping to be selected.

What do you look for when selecting artists for the PMA Craft Show?

Originality, technical skill, and a sense of the time. When I say “a sense of the time,” I’m an Egyptologist by training and oversee the MFA’s encyclopedic collection of jewelry – ancient to modern – about 20,000 objects. It makes me very aware of the historical precedents that informs jewelry as well as outside influences.

Which craft trends did you see coming through this year?

For jewelry, I see leading artists less concerned with conceptual approaches to design and meaning and a greater emphasis on wearability.

Photo: Markowitz is posed with a bejeweled Gorham decanter that was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, a late 19th century ladies’ watch in the Renaissance revival style by Tiffany & Co. and a necklace designed G. Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co. around 1900, also in the Renaissance revival style. 

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May 15 2014

Thanks to all who joined us for a Sunday afternoon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an author talk and book signing from Peter Korn, one of our jurors at this year’s show. The Philadelphia native, now executive director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, returned home to share the memoir and philosophical exploration that is Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman. “I was delighted to have such an interested and inquisitive audience for the book talk,” Korn said. (Pictured: Korn with an arts fan; Korn with his father and a copy of his book.)

Why We Make Things steps beyond the how-to guides of carpentry and craftsmanship that constitutes Korn’s prior books. The Inquirer calls it the “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for those who work in wood, though its principles apply to all creative undertakings.” An excerpt from the introduction shows Korn’s conceptual evolution that inspired him to write a book on the virtue of craft:

“When I turned my first clear pine board into a cradle, and for many years thereafter, I was beguiled by rediscovering the how of craft. How do you sharpen a chisel? How do you cut a sliding dovetail? How do you make a chair comfortable? Eventually, though, I also began to wonder about the why. What is craft and why does it matter? Why do we make things?”

In meeting that question, Korn discussed the fulfillment and meaning that people can find not just in a woodworking shop or in an artist’s studio, but in the kitchen and the garage. Collecting valuable insight from a Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show juror gave us plenty of inspiration to help hold us over until November’s Craft Show.

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April 14 2014

The 38th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show is still months away, but we’re already giving you a behind the scenes look at the creative process by sponsoring a talk with author, furniture maker and 2014 Craft Show juror Peter Korn. Peter will discuss and sign his book Why We Make Things and Why It Matters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 4. We hope you’ll join us!

Peter Korn Author Talk and Book Signing

Sunday, May 4, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Van Pelt Auditorium

Service charge applies for ticket reservation ($2.50 museum members/$3.50 non-members); registration required 

Museum admission not required to attend this program.

What does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? How do the products of creative work inform society? Peter Korn, Executive Director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine and author of the highly regarded book Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman, is the person to ask. He draws on four decades of hands-on experience to write eloquently, and often poignantly, about the why of craft and the satisfactions of creative work.

Press on Peter Korn’s Why We make Things and Why It Matters:

Boston Globe: A “craftsman writes that the creative process can be a professional journey.”

The New York Times: “We have a certain innate biological character, and I think that working creatively with actual materials — bringing new and meaningful things into the world with your own skills — helps us inhabit our humanity to the fullest.”

Portland Press Herald: “The book is a conversation about what it means to be human, what a good life is and how work fits into that.”

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March 07 2014

The 9th International Fiber Biennial Opening Reception is Friday, March 7 at the Snyderman-Works Galleries. This is a show and exhibition you don't want to miss.

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December 16 2013

It was a great 2013 show!   Thanks!!  But now that it's over and we've taken a deep breath, it's time to get ready for an even better 2014!!  Which is why we're excited to announce that The 38th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is now accepting entries for next year's juried show.   It'll be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from November 6 to 9, 2014, with a Preview Party on November 5. The jury will accept 195 craft artists.   Learn more on the site here.

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November 15 2013

The 37th Annual was a big success thanks to everyone – artists and attendees.  A big thank you to the Lithuanian community and dignitaries for supporting the Show and guest artists from Lithuania.  Sure it's a year away -- but save the date for the 38th annual show – November 6-9, 2014.  See you there next year!

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November 11 2013

Don’t miss your chance to bid on unique and sophisticated works generously donated by participating artists.
Bidding is open now and closes on November 12th at 9pm.  Proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
You can bid here.

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November 09 2013

Good Day Philadelphia's Sue Serio helped us open the 2014 Craft Show with a live broadcast on Thursday, Nov. 6.  Metal artist Stacey Lee Webber was thrilled to meet her favorite morning news anchor and show off her innovative jewelry made from pennies, dimes and quarters. Sue looked great in a very flattering raspberry-colored knit wrap from artist Elena Rosenberg!

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