Cool Event: Smithsonian Craft Show

For makers, getting picked to exhibit at the Smithsonian Craft Show is a huge, huge deal, one of those career-making honors.

Given that it’s considered a fabulous showcase for the best of the best, we’re excited to be going this year. And we’re excited that a couple of our DesignCraft Heroines–Christina Goodman and Peggy Loudon–will be there (we always knew they were great.)

We had a chance to catch up with JoAnn Symons, Co-Chair of this year’s show. (With the show starting next week, we were surprised that she had a minute to talk but after 29 years, it’s unsurprising these folks have it down.)

Work by Olen Hsu

How competitive is the show? Very competitive. This year there were 1,330 applicants for 120 slots. A team of jurors (from academia, museums, galleries, and more) makes the tough decision. As organizers, we sit back and watch, but don’t put our finger on the scale. (Their website shows the range of work, and also denotes newcomers with an asterisk.)

How do you see your mission? Our mission is to highlight the best of American craft, and tell America’s story through the art of craft.

What’s different this year? This year a record number of first time exhibitors. (55 to be exact.) This shows a lot of liveliness and vitality in the contemporary craft movement. Then there are real masters of the craft, who tweak and evolve their work. We think we have an interesting mix this year.

So are there any potential DesignCraft stars among the newcomers? Oh yes. Here are some of the people we’ll be looking out for….

David Fraser: Definitely not Basketweaving 101

Olen Hsu: Austerely powerful functional ceramics

Sang-joon Park: Smart, witty, high-design ceramics of extraordinary beauty

Boyd Sugiki: Playful glass in classic forms.

Robyn Nichols: Metalwork, sexy and intricate.

And there are several returning exhibitors we’ll be looking out for, as well: San Francisco’s Sandra Enterline and New York’s Reiko Ishiyama (jewelerymakers); glassmakers Devin Burgess and Pablo Soto; and paper artist Akiko Sugiyama.

This should be a good show: here are the details.

The Show runs Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15 (10-8); Saturday, April 16 (10-6); Sunday, April 17 (11-5). It will be held at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001


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