MARK YOUR calendar for April 26. That’s when the four-day 36th annual Smithsonian Craft Show arrives at DC’s National Building Museum. The well-respected event will feature 120 of the country’s best craft artists, chosen from roughly 1,000 applicants. The works on display and for sale include jewelry, wearable art, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, leather, metal, paper and wood. First-timers, you’re in for an eye-opening treat. If you’re a regular, note that this will be the first time the show will explore the influence of Asian culture on American crafts. Both serious collectors and casual visitors will find one-of-a-kind works of art in all price ranges. In the past, some of our favorite pieces have come from jewelry and wearable artists, and this year, we’re looking forward to seeing the creations of eight new artists in these media.
Dallas, Texas-based Kat Cole gets ideas for her materials from city buildings, translating industrial-associated porcelain enamel and steel to the intimate scale of jewelry. Wiwat Kamolpornwijit forms every piece of clay jewelry by hand and then layers, engraves and weaves the pieces into floral and abstract necklaces and earrings. “Beads, says Kristina Logan, are part of my lifelong fascination with art and ornamentation.” She incorporates her precisely patterned and delicate glass beads into brooches and pendants and other glass objects, including intricately decorated candlesticks. After a career in national health policy, Thea Fine returned to her first love: creating jewelry with tiny glass beads. She sews them together with a needle and thread and then pairs them with crystals, semiprecious stones or found objects to form bracelets and the like with unique texture and color. Melissa Stiles makes modern jewelry that combines her architectural training with industrial materials and processes. The result: a collection of minimal, durable jewelry in cheerful colors with bold graphic designs.
For more information on the show and the artists, go to the Smithsonian Craft Show 2018.