Ah, yes! Paris in the springtime. How lovely it must be…for those who get to go, like Pamela who had it on her calendar this year – lucky duck! (Still love you, P!) That was not on my calendar. So, my next favorite choice in this case is Washington, D.C. Off I go in order to fulfill my long awaited desire to attend the highly vetted Smithsonian Craft Fair and hoping perfect timing would permit me to take in the cherry blossoms.
For as long as memory serves I’ve been attracted to beautiful and intriguing things made by hand, specifically Artisan art forms. It’s the sensation of awe and amazement I get when looking at it that has kept me hooked throughout my life. These artists have mastered difficult skills, developed a well-honed aesthetic and style to make one-of-a-kind works or designs produced in small quantities. The Smithsonian Craft Fair has been on my radar for over a decade.
The Smithsonian Women’s Committee hosts it each year to support their Women’s Committee Grants Fund. It is a smaller show with only 123 exhibitors and 12 types of medium. They bring in artists from all over the country and it is considered one of the best in the country, if not the best.
Treating myself to the Preview Party the night before the show officially opened, patrons and others who purchased a ticket were able to enjoy breezing through isles without having to navigate a packed house and booths overflowing with admirers. With one fantastic exhibitor’s work after another, it was challenging to keep my wallet tucked away. (I went with a budget but that didn’t really work out – no regrets!) Some of the stand out artist were Wendy Stevens, Martha Fieber and Jeung-Hwa Park’s scarves. There are truly too many artists to list from the show in this posting so checkout their site at www.smithsoniancraftshow.org. The “cherry” on top of my trip was perfect timing, as it turned out, to soak in the glorious display of cherry blossoms in full bloom. A spectacular trip. A “must do” & Paris too, bien sûr!
Martha Fieber, Decorative Fiber: Landscape + Hand Embroidery | www.marthafieber.com
The intricacy and painstaking detail in her work must be seen to be believed. It's mesmerizing. Every infinitesimal element that makes up her “canvas” is one superfine string of thread after another, sans the tree trunks which are embroidered fabric. Martha shares, “I use traditional hand embroidery techniques and apply them in a new way to create incredibly detailed and layered images of the beautiful world around us."
Jeung-Hwa Park, Fiber Artist | http://www.artfulhome.com/artist/Jeung-Hwa-Park/7086
Her work exudes über femininity which was a direct reflection upon meeting her at the show. She was gracious in manner and delicate in stature - pleasantly friendly. It was her color palette that struck me first, a serious blast of bold hues but then elegant and subtle muted tones came into focus. The harmonic flow in her designs speaks beautifully to one's visual senses.
Wendy Stevens, Metal | www.wendystevens.com
I fell hard, and I mean head over heels, for Wendy’s striking designs and the immaculate precision in her work when I first encountered it in 2000 and I’ve been captivated (read: collecting) ever since. They are true show stoppers because they bring with them an air of curiosity coupled with sheer perfection.
Smithsonian Craft Show
April 15th - in ART
Dates of Exhibit:
Smithsonian Craft Show: www.smithsoniancraftshow.org
National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.
April 10th-13th, 2014