Erin Wilson quilts, Big Quilt #2, 56 x 56 in. hand-dyed, pieced, and quilted cattons. One of the works at the American Council Craft Show. Photo: Jeffrey Scott French. Image courtesy of Erinwilsonquilts
BALTIMORE, MD — More than 650 of the country’s top contemporary artists and crafts people were at this year’s American Council Craft Show held at the Baltimore Convention Center. The largest jury show in the country brought together skilled artists and crafts people, who presented their latest handmade creations, including jewelry, clothing furniture and home décor. This year’s exhibition was filled with arts and craft ideas, and had something for art lovers who came from every part of the country.
The 38th edition, this year’s American Craft Show included two main exhibitions: Make Room, Modern Design Meets Craft – Let’s Entertain and American Craft Charm Collection. Make Room featured works by regional interior designers, whose works directly enhance the functionality of the space. Drawn from Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, the creatives featured in this year’s Make Room brought warmth to interior spaces with their classic, elegant and eclectic creations. Showcasing individual styles, some of the products presented included furniture, light fixtures, textile, sculpture and other decorative accessories that attracted a lot of craft lovers. Inspired by objects of fine crafts, the astounding crafts offered in this section of the arts and craft festival attracted many guests, who could not stop asking questions about some of the arts and craft projects. At the Adams Designs stand, for instance, guests asked about lighting for their homes and how to install bedside lamps. Others wanted to know how to use art to activate their home and environment.
The second feature, Craft Charm Collection, brought together amazing collection of charms, charm bracelets, cluster pendants and pins designed by American Craft Council artists and designers. Comprising of precious and semi-precious, the collection, presented in special pop‐up exhibition space on the show floor revealed the incredible talent of these designers. This highlight which was specifically designed to bring a local flavor to this year’s event also included top Baltimorean, who dressed in some of charm bracelets and jewelries designed by the innovative creators. Some of the dignitaries included Stephanie Rawlings‐Blake, Mayor, Baltimore City, Roswell Encina, Director of Communications, Enoch Pratt Free Library and Bill Gilmore, Executive Director, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts amongst many others.
In addition to providing visitors with amazing arts and crafts, visitors also got the opportunity to see some of the crafts people at work. From booth to booth, guests watched as craftsmen and women showed and explain their creative process. Visitors who could afford the time also engaged in some arts and craft activities. It was clear from their effort that adequate skills were necessary to create some the amazing artworks on display. As one of them said “this is no easy task.”
Like many other years, many local artists were part of this year’s event. Ranging from ceramics to wood and jewelry, the artists presented works in various media that adequately represented Baltimore’s amazing talents. One of the artists represented is Karin Abromaitis, a multitalented artist, whose dramatic pottery and jewelry generated a lot of discussions at the American Council Craft Show. The artist seems to have blended his passion for art and theatre to create spectacular designs. Another artist represented is Ronni Aronin. A ceramist, Aronin who is one of the founders of Baltimore Clayworks, presented pottery that gave visitors to her booth something to talk about.
There is no doubt that this year’s event was a great success. Form the Baltimore Convention Center to the Baltimore Inner Harbor, people showed off their small and big bags filled with crafts bought at the American Council Craft Show. These bags with the name and logo of the American Council Craft Show unexpectedly became fashion accessories, as men and women gladly displayed their affinity for this annual event. Those who could not fit their purchases in a bag carried them in their hands as they walked to the parking lots. In twos and threes, they could not stop talking about their experience at this year’s American Council Craft Show in Baltimore.