American Craft Exposition co-chairs Liz Dauten and Debbie Kerr recently returned from a visit to Baltimore to attend one of the American Craft Council’s four yearly shows. An organization that shares a similar mission to ACE, the American Craft Council promotes the understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft.
While in Baltimore, the news of ACE’s new home at the Chicago Botanic Garden created quite the buzz, both from artists who have showcased at ACE before and those who have not. It also seems like the perfect year to make the move, because Liz and Debbie both noticed an emerging “green” theme from artists.
“Many of the artists’ pieces were made with natural or found materials,” said Debbie. “The artists are helping make the world a better place by working together with the earth and fostering conservation.”
“Naturally, (pun intended) this trend will be a very good fit with the Chicago Botanic Gardens,” added Liz.
Between the excitement from the artists about the new location for ACE, and the emerging botanic theme from the artists’ work, both Debbie and Liz left Baltimore even more energized about ACE’s new partnership
with the Chicago Botanic Garden and confident this year’s show is sure to dazzle.
Another theme among the artists’ work is seemingly on the opposite end of the spectrum–an increasing use of technology, namely 3D printers to create elements of the artwork. The Baltimore show also featured a strong interactive element. For example, visitors could sign up for a wide range of activities throughout the weekend, from jewelry-making to scotch-tasting! But, perhaps, the favorite aspect of the weekend was how the Council opted to feature the emerging artists’ work. Groups of six emerging artists were housed in pop-up pods located throughout the space. These pods stood out among the other booths, drawing attention to the up-and-coming talent on display. Emerging artists were also able to lean on and learn from each other by being placed in such close proximity to each other.
Overall, the weekend proved to be a wonderful chance for Liz and Debbie to chat with artists, promote ACE and see some stunning displays of artistry from American craftspeople.