SMITHSONIAN CRAFT SHOW 2018 ARTISTS GALLERY
April 26 – 29, Preview Party April 25 | National Building Museum 401 F Street, NW Washington DC 20001
This year for the Smithsonian Craft Show, we've done a few indepth previews of some of the artists who are exhibiting. These featured artists are noted with the caption below; click on them to visit their page, or keep on scrolling past the directory.
KAREN AND GEOFF CALDWELL
Karen Caldwell combines three difficult and disparate glass techniques to create her signature fine art glass panels: fusing, hand-painting, and traditional stained glass construction. Her latest series features flora, created by fusing, fauna rendered in the technique of medieval hand-painting, and leading. The resulting panels create a stunning story that is enhanced by the tension between the colorful fused flower elements and the finely detailed hand-painted animal images – a patchwork of glass that captures one’s imagination just as it captures the light that passes through it.
She and her husband, Geoff Caldwell have worked together since 1978 in offering fine works of hand-crafted glass, created at Sunflower Glass Studio. Their dedication to their clients includes custom requests from discerning collectors. Located in rural Hunterdon County's Delaware River Valley in New Jersey, halfway between the borough of Stockton and village of Sergeantsville, their studio is found in what has been called "a little slice of heaven."
You can find Caldwell's wild and beautiful glass compositions at Booth 109, or visit their website, www.sunflowerglassstudio.com.
Combining two worlds into one design has been the challenge and the inspiration for Candiss Cole-Footitt and Rodger Footitt. Having grown up with hand looms in a Dutch Reformed Community, Candiss has always been hands on with each item of clothing and likes the individual nuances that stem from dyeing and weaving. Rodger's background as a silk dyer in the North of England and a Textile Engineer has given him an ability to create new and exciting fabrics and textures beyond the constraints of the loom since he can create the machinery required to produce new and unusual fabrics!
Their newest collection introduces the Hebridean wools from Great Britain. This wool is highly prized and is only available due to the diligent work of the Rare Breed Society which has only recently saved these sheep from extinction. They have been on the endangered list until recently and are still only farmed by a small band of private breeders. Adding this bespoke fabric to their couture collection was a combined inspiration and has brought a whole new direction to their textile efforts.
Another new addition has been the silk and silk/linen summer weight jackets where Candiss gets to play with her shibori dyes and reverse shibori techniques. Always creating, searching for the next idea or inspiration, together, their passion for creating unique garments knows no boundaries.
You can discover the beautiful results of their collaboration at Booth 236, or by visiting their website, www.candisscole.com.
Kinghorn's eye for beauty is keen and thoughtful, with a skilled hand capable of illustrating in gold and silver what her mind envisions. That inner garden comes to life in her floral brooches, which are more than just mere imitations of nature. Kinghorn's artistry comes in elevating the natural world, like a magnifying glass, revealing details and flourishes which otherwise to the inattentive gaze might escape notice.
One particular method she employs is the fusing of high-karat gold to sterling silver, a difficult technique which results in brilliant contrast between the yellow gold and the darkened silver. A mouth torch is used to elevate the temperature of the metal, allowing it to be fused together. Her repertoire includes granulation, where miniature gold granules are fused to metal, oftentimes taking the appearance of pollen at the end of a stamen, or the polka-dotted skin of a mysterious sea creature.
“I am drawn to forms and shapes arising from both the natural and man-made worlds and I seem to store them as an internal inventory,” Kinghorn explains. “My work is about transforming these visual impressions into objects of beauty in gold, silver and precious gemstones."
You too can enter Kinghorn's world of imagination; just visit her at Booth 319, or explore her website, www.judithkinghorn.com.
KEN LOEBER & DONA LOOK
Ken Loeber and Dona Look are both gifted craftspeople who work in their own mediums; Look as a basketmaker using birch bark, and Loeber creates precious jewelry. Loeber's miniature sculptures delve into abstract surrealism, where geometric shapes have life breathed into them by their mimicry of nature. Indeed, Loeber's goal is to represent the kernel of truth of natural objects through abstracted symbolism, a language he paints beautifully in gold, silver, pearls and coral.
Look is a basketmaker whose sweeping, ivory forms made from hand collected birch bark bridge the gap between modernity and the ancient. After Ken Loeber suffered a debilitating stroke in February 2002 that left his right hand paralyzed, she continued collaborating with him in making production jewelry.
Today, Loeber continues his odyssey into the deep fathom depths of the universe, writing lyrical poetry odes in his one-of-a-kind brooches. You can find his work and their production jewelry at Booth 235 or on their website www.loeberlook.com where you can also find examples of Dona Look's basketry.
A pattern of light; a pulled stitch, creating a valley of shadow. Brightness and darkness are the medium in which shibori textile artist Amy Nguyen plays, finding new ways in which contrast draws attention to surface design, as well as shaping the contours of the garment on the body.
With an array of different techniques at her disposal, from deconstruction, piecing, quilting, and stitching, to arashi and itajime shibori dyeing, as well as rozome and katazome dyeing, Nguyen is able to treat her cloth like both canvas and sculpture. The result is a chic and elegant mixture of East meets West, with long length coats and flowing scarves that feature minimalistic abstract patterns and textures.
As Nguyen iterates, each successive series builds on elements of the prior one. Where first the experiment was finding how dyeing processes allow for different patterns and contrasts to form, the second employs surface design to create dimensionality. These layers of technique, where the hand is present in every aspect, ground the wearer in the moment.
You can try on her work in person, at Booth 309, or view it online at her website, www.amynguyentextiles.com.
Irina Okula binds together shards of pottery that she makes into a slowly meandering narrative. Each vase, plate, or cup is like a little book, rather more like a decorative quilt than a vessel. From birds and trees to winding rivers, to letters and pages delicately reproduced on fine porcelain, Okula's ceramics tell a delightfully figural story, one of exploration and the boundless horizons of the natural world.
The process begins with a clay vessel thrown on the wheel. Sometimes, she will take this form and break it upon the ground, firing the shards in a saggar, a type of ceramic boxlike container which protects them during the kiln firing. Before this step takes place, however, the alchemical magic is administered. Each shard is decorated, then the whole is submerged in different natural, combustible materials Okula collects in the course of her day to day. The results are unpredictable, and spectacular.
You can see these intersections between conscious direction and the unknown on display at Booth 126. You can also visit Okula's website, at www.clayshards.com.