Monday, February 24, 2014

ACC Baltimore 2014 ... a FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE!

(Above:  Booth 3701 ... SUSAN LENZ ! Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

Steve and I left Columbia bright and early on Wednesday morning.  We drove directly to the Baltimore Convention Center and didn't even have to wait five minutes before being flagged onto the show's floor to unload.  Yes ... this means that our rental cargo van was parked beside booth 3701, my space on the gigantic grid.  We didn't even have to use our rolling cart.  Within two hours, the entire booth was set up, hung, and all the artwork was labeled and lit.  AMAZING!  The American Craft Council and the Baltimore Convention Center staff really are organized, friendly, and made this entire experience wonderful!

 (Above:  Detail of the hood of an "art bus" outside the American Visionary Art Museum.)

The Baltimore Craft Show held a "wholesale only" show on Wednesday and Thursday.  Some artists were only in the "wholesale" section.  Some artists were both "wholesale and retail".  We were in the "retail only" section.  Enormous walls separated our area from the combination "wholesale and retail" area.  The wall was gone by Friday morning!

Since we were set up on Wednesday evening, we walked the "wholesale/retail" section of the show on Thursday.  It was AWESOME!  We might apply for this next year.  Then, we went on a little adventure to the American Visionary Art Museum. It was wonderful, fun, and the gift shop was fabulous.  The manager was at the cash register.  He asked where we were from and what brought us to Baltimore.  We chatted.  I handed him a business card, invited him to attend the ACC Craft Show, and paid for the Christmas ornaments I'd selected.  I really didn't give this invitation much thought .... until later!

 (Above:  Fort McHenry ... the location where the Star Spangled Banner flew for Francis Scott Key.)

The American Visionary Art Museum is located along the "Banner" free shuttle circuit.  We got back on the bus and went to the end of the line ... Fort McHenry.  This National Monument is the location where Francis Scott Key witnessed the "Star Spangled Banner" flying on the morning of September 14, 1814.  He penned our National Anthem shortly thereafter.  We had a great time visiting.  The day was wonderful and I even slept soundly that night ... dreaming about "opening day" at the ACC Show scheduled for the next morning.

 (Above:  Yarn Bombing at the Baltimore Convention Center by Baltimore Threadquarters.)

I knew things were going to be good even as we approached the Convention Center.  The Baltimore Threadquarters "bombed" the Pratt Street entrance!  To see more images of this project, CLICK HERE.  
 (Above:  Detail of YarnBOMBS at the Baltimore Convention Center's Pratt Street entrance.)

There was also a long, long line of people waiting for admission into the ACC Baltimore show!  I was constantly busy for the next three days and sold well on each one!  It was great! 

(Above:  Lori Lupe Pelish and me ... in her incredible booth.)

The only problem with this show is the fact that it isn't possible for participating artists to really SEE the show.  We could enter an hour before it opened ... but one cannot walk 660 booths in such a short amount of time.  I saw fabulous work and met many super talented people.  I even got to meet a few of the many decorative fiber and mixed media/fiber artists (but many were doing exactly what I was doing ... trying to see the show before it opened!)  I loved Lori Lupe Pelish's art quilts and hooked rugs.  I was thrilled to meet her!

(Above:  Natalia Margulis and me ... in her booth of fabulous hand embroidery.)

It was great to talk to Natalia again.  My first retail show was last November's Washington Craft Show.  Natalia and I met there.  My second show was the next weekend at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show ... and we shared breakfast together one morning.  This was my third show ... and now we are fast friends!  Natalia's embroidery is more than incredible!  (Note to my sister Wanda ... CLICK HER WEBSITE!)

(Above:  Karen Gubitz and me ... in her beautiful booth.)

Karen Gubitz is another artist I met last November.  Her work truly resonates with me.  She is unbelievably talented and also SO NICE!

(Above:  Dolan Geiman in his booth.)

There were too many great booths in which I would have loved snapping photos.  There were glassblowers, paper-makers, ceramists, furniture makers, wood turners, weavers, jewelers, fashion designers, basket makers, mixed media artists and more.  The artwork ranged from elegant to rustic to funky to everything imaginable.  I thought of so many friends ... wishing I could share an artist.  I thought of every one in my family ... and I simply had to snap Dolan Geiman's photo.  Dad ... this one's for you!  You would have loved this guy, his work, and every detail in every piece.  (Note to Dad ... CLICK ON THE LINK!  Then browse around his site!)

Now ... the most amazing this about this weekend experience in booth 3701 happened on Sunday afternoon.  The manager of the American Visionary Art Museum's gift show actually took me up on my invitation to visit the show!  He'd gone to my website.  He liked my work.  He asked if I "wholesaled" ... and then purchased seven pieces!  WOW!  I asked if I could add this as official "representation" to my website and blogs, and he said YES!  I'm still on "Cloud Nine".

(Above:  Philadelphia!)

This morning Steve and I checked out of our Baltimore hotel and drove to Philadelphia.  We will be downtown at the Rodeway Inn (which is like the "best kept secret" in the city center!) until this coming weekend's Germantown Friends School National Juried Craft Show. 

(Above:  Philadelphia architecture.)

Today we walked around downtown, went to the Reading Terminal, and took loads of photos of the great architecture.

(Above:  Philadelphia!)

Tomorrow we're planning on the Betsy Ross House and the many, independent galleries in "Old City".  If there's time, maybe the Barnes Foundation.  Wednesday will be the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site.  Who knows what we'll do on Thursday!  This is going to be a great week!

(Above:  Building reflections in Philadelphia.)

Update:  We never made it to the Barnes Foundation but we did visit all three buildings operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art:  The main building, the Perleman Building, and the Rodin Museum.  We also went gallery hopping ... including Snyderman Works in Old City Philadelphia ... all the way to Gravers Lane Gallery in Chestnut Hill ... plus several other great places with interesting work.  We went to the Betsy Ross House, walked by Independence Hall, and enjoyed great food from the stalls, delis, and vendors in the Reading Market.  One of the best places we went was undoubtedly the Eastern Penitentary.  It was AWESOME.  I snapped photos of peeling paint, rusted iron, and the patina of age-old copper until my camera's battery died.  I'll be blogging about all this later ... when I'm back in South Carolina after next Monday.  As for now: my booth is now set up at the 30th Annual Germantown Friends School Juried Craft Show through Sunday.  I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.


Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

What a fabulous experience! Congratulations!!

Margaret said...

I am in awe of your successful show -- but not surprised! (grin) Congratulations!

Egléa Senna said...

Este sucesso era esperado! Parabéns!
Um abraço!
This success was expected! Congratulations!

Lorie McCown said...

Yes indeed! Great seeing you and the Visionary Museum is awesome.

Julie said...

Wow! Congratulations on your wonderful success, so well deserved. The architecture is fantastic and very inspiring. Enjoy the rest of your stay.x

Dolan Geiman said...

Thanks so much for dropping by my booth and sharing my artwork. Glad to hear ACC was a good one. Cheers!

Ellen Kochansky said...

Susan, you are now a full-on member of the tribe that inspired me for several decades. There are no better people in the world, and no more invigorating places to soak up the best work your national peers can present. I love the experiences you are having, and thank you for letting me have them again! BRAVA!

Wanda said...

I am so in awe of you! Thank you for sharing so much of your Baltimore experience from this year. I can already tell that, even while there, your mind was on overtime planning for next. I don't think I could handle seeing so much talent and beauty all in one place! Natalia's handwork is incomprehensible. I can't wrap my brain around the fact that it is hand embroidery. It goes to show that, although I may think my work is great, it really is very basic. A comment on the Yarn Bombing...I absolutely love this worldwide phenomena. It is so innocent, inspiring, happy and beautifying. You never know where you are going to see it and it is anonymity at its finest. Philly should be proud to have such a fine example!