Sunday, February 25, 2007

Report from ACC and BMAC Shows

What a week! Our trip to Philadelphia and Baltimore for the big winter craft fairs was a blast and we've returned full of fresh ideas and great memories.

On Monday we caught the final day of the Buyer's Market of American Craft in Philadelphia, otherwise known as the Rosen Show, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. There we had to make quick work of visiting and placing orders, but we did get to meet with some of our favorite artisans including woodworkers Buff and Sharon Brown; jewelers Chelle Kraus, Julie Jerman-Melka, and Kristina Kada; and fused glass artist Renato Foti.

Switching gears, Tuesday night I attended an event at Columbia University with Jeffrey Sachs and Al Gore that I wrote about for Worldchanging. (For some reason it's not up right now, but check this link here for the piece tomorrow.)

Wednesday morning we drove to Baltimore to spend three days at the American Craft Council show. We noticed a lot more youthful energy and innovation there compared with previous years, which we are very excited about. Besides highlighting new and emerging exhibitors by giving them their own section, this year ACC included student work too.

Talented undergraduates from Kendall College of Art and Design showcased inventive and well-built pieces such as Timothy Maddox's chest of drawers sandblasted with graffiti, Dustin Farnsworth's kinetic barrel sculpture/atonal stringed instrument, Jeff Thomas' wooden conveyor belt chair, and Chulyeon Park's sculptural white steel chaise. I would love to see more student showcases in the future -- it's great experience for them and inspiring for everyone!

There was plenty of master work to admire alongside the new. We met Cliff Lee, a master potter who throws incredibly rich porcelain vases that look as though they came right out of a Chinese royal palace, (including one in Imperial Yellow that I got to hold in my hands). We are privileged to be offering Cliff's stunningly beautiful porcelain tea bowls glazed in oxblood red at Greenjeans now. (He only makes 24 a year and we have 6.)

We also visited with Keith Lebenzon who hand-makes the animal hair paint brushes with bamboo handles that Jae loves to use in his studio. He picked some out to offer at Greenjeans, too, so if you're looking for a really remarkable brush for pottery or painting, come check them out!

There's never enough time to socialize during the fair hours, so Wednesday night we threw a little party in our room at the Renaissance Hotel. How cool it was to see Matt Eskuche (the up-and-coming flamework glass artist) talking shop with Susan Pratt-Smith (the well-established dichroic glass artist). A lovely cadre of jewelry makers (Erica Schlueter, Lisa Crowder, Janice Ho, Kimberly Navratil-Pope and her aunt Jo) mixed and mingled with potters Bryan McGriff and Ryan Greenheck, while Lori Beck, director and founder of Ohio Valley Creative Energy, talked about her work to create hotshops and kilns powered by landfill methane. (I'll be writing more about her work in a later post.) Andrew Wagner, the enthusiastic new editor of American Craft Magazine, was there hobnobbing with everyone and putting a bug in my ear about doing a Greenjeans zine (I'm thinking about it, Andrew!). And our good friend Lily Kane (who is the Director of Education at ACC) was there, too, making all kinds of connections and stirring things up with her boundless energy and great ideas.

Back in the shop this weekend we're busy processing all the notes and cards we took. It's so nice to be back in the shop. Our travels were fun, but it felt so good to cross over the Verrazano Bridge back into Brooklyn late Friday night. Like Dorothy said, there's no place like home!

Since we can't take pictures on the floor of the fair, here are some from our party... (The one at the top is Matt Eskuche at the left, then Andrew Wagner, Lily Kane, and Susan Pratt-Smith.)

Left to right: Erica Schlueter, Lisa Crowder, Matt Eskuche, Bryan McGriff, Janice Ho, and Jae.

Looking up to glass artists Susan Pratt-Smith and Matt Eskuche

Lisa Crowder and I, and Lori Beck at the right. Dig our definitely NOT handmade frat house cups!

Tune in tomorrow for some news from the shop and pictures of new arrivals... and maybe a comment or two about gowns worn to the Oscars (which as far as I'm concerned is the only reason to watch!)

No comments: