Thursday, March 5, 2009

2009 Baltimore American Craft Show Review

The pulse of craft still beats in Baltimore, MD. That, according to some of the American Craft Council members at this years ACC show. Having spent the entire show working with Deb Karash, a jeweler from Marshall NC, I was able to hit the floor to ask questions and covet pots.
Although the wholesale portion of the show left most of us with a bad taste in our mouths, the second retail course seemed to spark a glimpse of hope for the pending sales year. Personally, I heard only a few rumblings about the economy from the buyers. For the most part, collectors, enthusiasts, and novices alike seemed to be looking for a reason to do the impossible. Spend! The spoils of this spending went to those who seemed to have new work, new booths and a positive outlook on the economic dilemma we have all found ourselves in.
I asked Bryan Hopkins, a potter from Buffalo, NY what he thought of the show this year he had plenty to say. "Great pots still sell" was a quote I will use for the rest of the sales year here at Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville, NC. Although down in sales slightly from last year, Bryan thought the show fared well, better than he expected. Without bowing down to the market, as Bryan put it, he produced some pots with a lower price point to increase sales. Smart, considering much of the high end work at the show suffered this year. " I went into the show with my eyes open and no high expectations." Bryan also urged fellow potters not to forget their local markets and shows this year. Overhead is lower so the percentage of take home will be higher. Bryan's work can be found online at and now in the new collectors series at Crimson Laurel Gallery. (cream and Sugar set above by Bryan Hopkins)

Another talking point among artists at the show this year was the lack of carpeting in the never ending rows of booths at the convention center. American Craft decided to pull the rugs so to speak late in the game, mainly to save a buck. Understandably, I might add. Many artists were upset over this decision remarking some of the savings might have been passed along to the artists. After the show started not much else was heard from neither the artists nor the customers. The look was clean and modern (I love polished concrete anyway) and the lesser amount of allergens in the air made for a lot less sinus problems all around. A nice move in my opinion. Hind sight is truly 20/20. Much to my dismay, I learned that the carpet for these shows are used only a few times before it is thrown out. Whether this is true or not I'm unsure. Someone enlighten me please?

Overall Deb and I left the Convention center feeling like many of us had a good show despite the economic climate. The weather this year was mild except for the snow storm on the last day of the show. Anyone going to Atlanta in a few days might want to consider slight changes in the booth design and remember to bring pots that might appeal to those with less money riding on their hip. Remember, great pots always sell.

I'd like to thank Emily Reason for the opportunity to blog on the clay clubs site. I hope to be able to do more in the very near future to review the new show in our exhibit space as of March 7th. Jenny Lou Sherburne, Informed Wildness. You can view the show online at

David Trophia
Crimson Laurel Gallery

1 comment:

Katey Schultz said...

hey david -

i enjoyed this write up. very well don't if i don't say so myself. :-) it was nice to have an "inside" look at the show, since i obviously wasn't there myself.

looking forward to jenny's show as, the new work of hers is FANTASTIC.