Director of Craft Entrepreneurship, Kari Rinn– Trip to Baltimore

August 4, 2011

Mid-July, I was able to take a trip with Executive Director Gwynne Rukenbrod for the board meeting of the World Craft Council North America at the Buyers Market of American Craft in Baltimore.  The trip was filled with excitement, as I was able to meet and see the work of successful craft artists from across the nation.

Megan Auman

Amy Klainer- Felt Jewelry

The first part of my trip was spent roaming the isles of the Buyers Market of American Craft exposition, where we met artists who sell their work to galleries and museums nationwide.  There were so many incredible works of art and craft; we had to expand our personal craft collections with several pieces we simply could not leave without.  The newest edition to my collection is the work of Amy Klainer.  She is jeweler using primarily felt, but in a way I have never seen before combining technology with traditional materials.  She describes her jewelry as visual “tags” that create wearable graffiti.  Amy participates in a collective out of Towson, MD called Without Constant Supervision.  Their booth also featured the beautiful work of jeweler Megan Auman.  One of her interesting and versatile necklaces now resides in North Carolina with us as well.

The BMAC show offered a wide array of work; everything from various glass artists, to knitters, weavers, painters, woodworkers, metal artists, ceramic artists, and even work by members of the Zuni Nation of American Indians.  There show had much to offer; fun, beautiful, whimsical and serious work, all of which was well crafted.

Daniel Essig "Book of Nails"

The following day began with an early morning train ride to Washington D.C. and a tour of the Renwick, which is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and exhibits one of the finest collections of American craft in the United States.   Nationally renowned curator Nicholas Bell gave us a personal, inside look into their collection.   It is amazing to walk through the rooms and see the history of modern craft in this country unfold before your eyes.  The Renwick collection includes the work of bookmaker Daniel Essig, emphasizing the importance of the western North Carolina  region to the nation craft scene.  Go to their website, (http://americanart.si.edu/renwick/) for a virtual stroll and see for yourself some of the amazing and talented craft artists being recognized on a national level.

The afternoon led us to The Washington Glass School, which houses the studios of Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers and Michael Janis.  It is an amazing space that functions as an educational and artistic community hub for the mid-Atlantic region.  They serve students, artists and the general public with glass and metal classes as well as artist studio space.   It is an innovative space that operates as a resource for the entire area, encouraging exploration and knowledge of new materials and process.

Michael Janis

Erwin Timmers

In the same area, but directly behind The Washington Glass School is Flux, a “contemporary art space …housing the professional studios of six artists and a small informal gallery space with rotating exhibitions”. They currently host an amazing collection of artists making innovative, informed and creative work. It was an exciting, and at the same time, peaceful place to be in. Flux also features a visiting artist program as well as “workshops taught by master artists in a variety of media”.

Laurel Lukazewski

Jessica Beels

HandMade and Flux are in the process of creating an exchange show.  The gallery here at Handmade would feature the flux residence artists and their gallery would exhibit a collective of artists from the western North Carolina region.  Look for updates and a call for entry soon!!

If you have the opportunity to visit the D.C. area, both these studios are a must see for those with any creative interests. Overall our trip was a visual carnival that also included a trip to the American Visionary Art Museum, another to add to your Baltimore to-do list. The trip was filmed by PBS and will become an informative program on the World Craft Council organization, so be on the lookout!  We were able to spend a lot of time with incredibly talented, kind individuals who made it an absolute pleasure to visit the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area.

 

–Kari Rinn

Director of Craft Entrepreneurship

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