Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The American Craft Show: Craft Now in Charlotte

Steve and I made Saturday a real "art" experience. Not only did we attend the ballet, we went to the American Craft Council show in the Charlotte Convention Center. As always, this is a dazzling experience. Walking from booth to booth, I was overcome with by quality craftsmanship and very friendly artists who were happy to discuss their work whether one was in a purchasing mood or not.

We did buy a few things, of course; but there seemed to be fewer exhibitors. There were definitely fewer non-wearable fibers. One of the best was Dinah Smiley from Louisville, Kentucky. Her ability to blend digital images on fabric with beads, oriental knots, sequins, and fine embroidery were beautiful. She supplements her major works with pillows, note cards, and photography.

Ruth Walker is an amazing feltmaker but it was her "Great Balls of Felt" ornaments that tickled me most. I was honored to listen to Mary Jackson talk about her internationally collected sweetgrass baskets. I've admired the one in the Renwick Museum. Diane Leshin's free form crocheted purses were so much fun but I loved the combination with a men's necktie for a strap...which isn't on her website. I briefly looked at the futuristic garments by designer Shu Juan Lu and the organic scarves and accessories by Jeung-Hwa Park. (She can control shrinkage, shibori dying, felting, and free form knitting, and her colors were to DIE/DYE for! Unfortunately, no website.)

One of the most unique and individual fashion designers was Akiba Miiesmira's Spirit Culture Collection. I likely her flair and urban feel but would have loved it to go a bit further...wilder...more "urban tribal". It all looked a bit "safe" to me. Each piece, however, would have looked smashing with a purse by Jenae Michelle. Her bags were impeccably constructed and totally "cool". Her business name is Range of Emotion.

The work that I found most amazing, however, were Deborah Smiths' sculptural baskets. She only had these incredible works of art on display...gutsy! None of the "bread and butter" baskets featured on her website were there....and they were outstanding.

The most creative fibers were from Handmade Chenille. Yet, it wasn't their vests and scarves in their signature chenille that caught my eye. Unfortunately, I can't find images of the garments made on water solubles. These were unique, lacy, shabby-chic vests, scarves, and long flowing jackets that used scraps from the chenille pieces on a loose gird of heavy, black thread. Each had a sense of urban deconstruction with a hint of the patterns and fabrics used.

1 comment:

jenae said...

thanks for mentioning my work (range of emotion handbags) in your blog. it is always affirming when people notice the details. check the website-- by march 1st i should have the new spring/summer line up! www.rangeofemotion.com