me & my display
It was an incredible experience to be able to see and touch so much jewelry that I had only seen in magazines and books, and meet the artists. I felt like my jewelry was warmly received by my peers, which was seriously affirming. When all of the above look closely at your work and give it a nod of approval... that's a good sign.
I was also able to reconnect with a ton of Penland folk from my Core Student days at Penland; Thor Bueno (glass), Joanna Gollberg (jewelry), Devin Burgess (glass), and Jenny Mendes (clay), to name a few. I have very serious art crushes on all of these artists, and it was great to see them and their work again.
Thor & Jennifer Bueno
About the show: for a first-time exhibitor, the AltCraft section was a good place to start. It's now ACC's only emerging artist award, and I wish the ACC would advertise it as such. "Alternative Craft" seemed like a miss-title for many of us; most artists were using traditional materials and traditional techniques, and the reality was that we needed to apply through AltCraft because it was the only way we could afford to do the show. I hope that ACC will expand this section in the future, and shift their emphasis from "alternative" to "emerging."
The very best part of being in the AltCraft section was our neighbor, Sue Eggen of Giant Dwarf. Marilyn and I had met Sue at a Chicago Renegade show a few years ago, and we were thrilled to have her as our darling neighbor.
As an AltCraft artist, one of the questions I was asked the most was, "Will you back next year?"
I'm not sure what the answer will be. Financially, it was a stretch to cover my expenses and booth fee, which were very low compared to the rest of the exhibitors. If I had a full booth, I would have definitely been hurting. I'll have to see what 2010 holds for me before I can commit to reapplying as a full-paying exhibitor.
In conclusion, ACC was a huge learning experience for me. My experience there also made be very aware of the questions I have surrounding my field, mainly, why is craft important? What is my role going to be in preserving craft? (and it must be an active role!) What does the future look like for craft? and as a young crafter, whose emphasis is on mastering techniques and creating (eventually) high-end works of art, where is my place? Big questions, and ones that are exciting to think about and try to answer. I'm starting a project in the near future which will (hopefully) start clarifying some of them, so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading.