By Janet Kelly
IT’S BAAACK! The Smithsonian Craft Show—it’s the 40th—is returning to its long-standing venue, DC’s National Building Museum, April 20 to 24. Held in person for the first time since 2019, the 2022 show has chosen the theme of Future Focus for this year’s event, which will feature the work of 120 major contemporary artists, who are shaping the direction of modern craft with new materials, technology and design. Works in basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed-media, paper, wearable art and wood will be on display and for sale. Whether you’re adding to your collection or have never been to the show and are just browsing, you’ll find one-of-a-kind pieces in a wide price range.
The five-day anniversary celebration kicks off on April 20 with a Preview Night Party, an opportunity to meet and mingle with the artists and shop their latest work while enjoying a buffet and cocktail concoctions.
We took a peek into what you can expect to see at the show from newcomers, as well as veterans. Intense curiosity, a love of geometry and experimentation characterizes all these artists.
Patti Hegland left a finance career in DC to make innovative glass vessels with her husband, Dave, a computer engineer. They start with sheets of colored glass and cut them into narrow strips of assorted lengths and then lay the strips on edge in various geometric patterns. The result is a bit like ribbon candy. An interest in science fiction and black holes led Louisville, Kentucky-based artist Ann Klem to leave computer science and explore the fluid forms of glass and how colors react to one another.
The much-admired New Orleans-based Starr Hagenbring returns after an absence of a few years. Her stunning pieces come from her continuing experimentation with painting, cutting, piecing and stitching fabrics –vintage, remnants and designer run-offs —into different patterns. Much of fiber artist Hollie Heller’s inspiration comes from her fascination with textiles, primitive art and ethnic designs. In her studio she experiments with latex, acrylic mediums, wood stain, pigments, dyes and bleach with paper and fabric.
Currently located in Brooklyn, NY, Jinbi Park uses ancient Korean and Japanese techniques to create contemporary jewelry. Her pieces respect the environment with responsibly sourced diamonds, gemstones and recycled metals. Park says she is “inspired by nature’s organic structures – especially those of the ocean, such as coral reefs.” An alumna of Pratt Institute, jewelry artist Patricia Madeja’s playful designs come from her love of engineering and architecture. She designs and hand fabricates each element and the mechanisms that create motion within the piece. Clasps are carefully constructed and built into each piece to provide a continuous visual flow.
Hours: 10:30am to 5:30pm, Thursday, April 21, to Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, 11am to 5pm. You may use your ticket on the day of your choice.
Admission: $20 at the door or in advance online at Smithsonian Craft Show.
Group tickets (10 or more) are $10 each; student tickets are $10.
Tickets for the Preview Night Party— from 6 to 9pm on April 20— are $250. First Look and Visionary Reception —from 5 to 6pm—are $500.
To attend, proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 is required, either by displaying your status on a smartphone or by showing a physical copy of the vaccination card or official vaccination record.
Unvaccinated guests must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of attending.
Masks must be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking.
The Smithsonian Craft Show is produced by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, an all-volunteer organization that supports the education, outreach and research programs of the Smithsonian Institution. The awe-inspiring National Building Museum is located at 401 F Street NW (202-272-2448). The closest Metro stop is Judiciary Square.