By Patti Quill.
Back in the Bay Area for the 36th year, the American Craft Council celebrated the art of craft at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center. Drawing over 10,000 visitors, the show featured over 200 craft artists working in glass, wood, metal, fibers and so much more. This year the show highlighted Greencraft, which features artists who incorporate recycled or found materials and use eco-friendly techniques into creating their work; Handmade Under $100 – a category geared for people just starting their addiction to craft; and a special section featuring artists who craft furniture and decorative accessories for the Lawn and Garden.
Some of our show favorites:
Viviana Santamarina, San Francisco, CA
Combining craft with humor Viviana Santamarina knits and crochets vignettes out of everyday objects – strips of paper become the thread and yarn, pencils are turned into knitting needles and crochet hooks.
The pencils lightly mark the paper as the pieces take shape – adding dimension and texture to the pieces. Santamariana learned these skills from her grandmother, but she’s turned tradition on its head to create large-scale pieces full of wit and whimsy.
FLM Ceramics Forest Lesch-Middleton, Petaluma, CA
Currently featured on the September 2011 cover of Ceramics Monthly, FLM’s ceramic work celebrates the traditional cultures of Afghanistan and the Middle East.
The intricate patterns featured on bowls, pitchers, vases and smaller pieces strike a perfect balance between the traditional and the contemporary. In his Northern California studio, he’s developed an innovative technique of silk-screening detailed pattern-work onto paper using iron oxide rather than inks. Then during the throwing process, he adheres the printed design directly onto a pot on the wheel before he completes the final form. For those of you that missed the ACC show, FLM Studio has just launched an Etsy Shop.
Flying Carpet Studio Carol Sobieniak, Boulder, CO
The playful color palette of the beautiful handmade rugs by Boulder-based Flying Carpet Studios were definitely a show stand-out. Impeccably crafted from hand-dyed New Zealand wool colored with Lanaset dyes that are colorfast, safe, and environmentally friendly, Sobieniak’s flat-woven tapestry and tufted loop pile rugs combine the eye of a painter and the hands of an experienced textile artist. She blends the art of traditional rug making with contemporary style where bold, graphic geometrics and stripes dominate her designs.
Connie Verrusio Highland, NY
Connie Verrusio’s jewelry career began in earnest when she found a dusty store in New York City’s Chinatown filled top to bottom with mechanical bits and pieces.
She says she “never left without a small bag of treasures.” Taking her inspiration from these treasures, along with everyday finds at flea markets and hardware stores, Verrusio’s jewelry is known for “her irreverence for the ‘preciousness’ of jewelry.” Nails, screws, measuring tapes, rulers, magnets, and so much more are all fodder for her delicately detailed work.
We also found artists and craftsmen familiar to Handful of Salt readers – all featured as our DesignCraft Heroines.
San Francisco, CA
A few other crafters-of-note are:
The beautiful jewelry of Biba Schutz, New York, NY.
The ceramic work of James Aarons, Mokelumne Hill, CA.
And wonderfully quirky wooden objects created by Peg and Awl, Philadelphia, PA.