Buyers Market and ACRE
Tongues wagged, and insiders attributed all sorts of nebulous motives to the show dates being swapped and piggybacked. In the May issue, an exhibitor who asked for anonymity opined, "This is just a power play by Wendy Rosen against Nancy Vince."
Denying that there were any one-upmanship ploys, Rosen, the founder of Buyers Market, explained, "People don't understand that we were forced into this by the convention center, but the date change is finding acceptance."
"Thank you to everyone who has been supportive over the years and especially those in the early years whose hard work and dedication formed the organization," Carolyn Patterson and Nancy O'Meara, former CODA board co-chairs, stated.
Digital Age Is Now!
In his October 2013 column, "The Practice of Practicing Photography," he shrewdly pronounced: "Digital photography seductively promises to make everyone a photographer simply through the purchase of a camera--preferably an expensive one. This is ridiculous on its face, since the only thing a digital camera actually does is get the exposure right--nothing more."
|Eco-Friendly Craft Ascends
One of the themes that occurred and re-occurred in TCR for 2013 was the mantra of "recycle, reclaim, reuse." The July 2013 cover celebrated the ingenuity of Reclaimed Elegance: Artists transform trash to treasure . The "Crafts Scene" featured stunning works of art made from reclaimed and recycled objects. Stallions seemed to burst through walls, courtesy of Sayaka Ganz's two-piece installation made from reclaimed objects.
Cover artist Kathleen Plate, who has made exceptional strides in jewelry, lighting, and décor designs with recyclable glass, came to the environmental movement early: "People ask me when I became an environmentalist and, honestly, I didn't know that was something to become. I thought everyone had to collect tin cans and recycle them to pay for basketball camp!"
Facebook Cover Competition
The October 2013 issue honored the 32 finalists who strove to achieve that issue's prime cover position. Artists of all stripes and techniques entered to earn a chance to have their work featured on the October cover. After a team of experts culled 32 finalists from the submissions, the competition launched on Facebook on June 10.
Gibson and Her Gourd Art Win Big
"While I am thrilled to have won, I would have not been upset to lose to the other 31 finalists. There were a lot of beautiful pieces, and all were winners in my opinion," Gibson affirmed.
Handmade Means Individuality and Promotability
"The Ultimate Guide to Craft Marketing" offered sage advice and strategic steps to follow to get your creations and your reputation to the forefront. From fiber artist Tara Swiger, who regularly requests her customers' involvement in her business, to Samantha Camp, of Pip and Lola's Everything Homemade, who urges craftspeople to remember that "every waking moment is a marketing opportunity," a roundtable of first-rate entrepreneurs offered their personal experiences and insight.
|Internet Think Tanks Hit Strides
Brigitte Martin, author and goldsmith, founder and editor of crafthaus, the international online social network, also launched the Craft Think Tank (CTT). Initially begun in 2011, the CTT was a forum for movers and shakers in the crafts world to come together and discuss and strategize and share.
The exchanges and interplay were so successful that it caught the eye of the American Craft Council, with whom Martin now oversees the CTT. In 2013, the Internet think tank has come into its own. The CTT has become a place where all facets of the crafts world can communicate and deepen their connections. As Martin said in the April 2013 issue, "We aim to address issues that impact makers' lives everywhere and are working on a national action agenda for American craft."
If you were motivated to apply to a juried show, the expense of attending it--and any out-of-state exhibition, for that matter--was masterfully spelled out by Donald Clark in the October 2013 issue. In "How to Decide if a Show Is a Go or No Go," Clark took readers through the step-by-step process of how to calculate if a show would be bankable or bank busting.
Know Your Limitations
One of the stumbling blocks for many craftspeople is the selling of their accomplishments. They can't broker a deal or get the representation they so richly deserve. In the May 2013 issue, Bruce Baker addressed this phobia in "Closing the Sale." Among the wisdom Baker dispensed, he urged readers to bear this distinction in mind: "Making beautiful work and being an excellent salesperson are two entirely different skills. If selling is not your strong point, recognize it, bite the bullet, and learn how to sell, or hire someone to sell for you."
Las Vegas Beckons
The must-go destination is a great bet for honing and establishing crafts connections, like at the upcoming Las Vegas ACRE, which will be taking over the South Point Hotel and Casino from April 29 to May 1, 2014.
Jumpsuited Elvis impersonators will be exiting the building so handcrafting artisans can make their dreams come true.
Media and Marketing
Social media can be confusing and overwhelming. TCR underscored that 2013 is the year when Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook stopped being just kid's play. Social media has now risen to a necessity in being taken seriously as a businessperson.
In November and December 2013, Gina DeBlanco added her insight to the marketing and media blitz: "Keep this in mind: All buyers share one common habit. They are hunters and the Net is their daily landscape that is scoured. Therefore, your audience is ever present--you just need to get their attention." (A third part of DeBlanco's series will be appearing in 2014.)
Also during 2013, Handmade debuted a new logo, which made its appearance in August. The "Handmade in the USA" logo was commissioned by a partnership between NY NOW and the Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT).
|People to Watch
The scoop on who would be making headlines in 2013 and beyond was provided by the April article "9 People to Watch in 2013." The newsmakers who were saluted in this piece were Amy Amdur, founder of Amdur Productions; Bruce Baker, columnist, artist, juror; Brigitte Martin, founder and organizer of the Craft Think Tank; Rebecca Mercado, show director of the Buyers Market of American Craft; Donna Milstein, owner of Hanson Galleries and vice president, education, for CRAFT; Perry Price, director of education, American Craft Council; Ann Ruhr Pifer, owner of the Grand Hand Gallery, board of directors of Craft in America and Minnesota Museum of American Art; Gwynne Rukenbrod, executive director for HandMade in America, glass artist, arts executive; Nancy Vince, president of Wholesalecrafts.com, Inc., producer of ACRE.
Whether it was a pun-inspired visual vignette by Suzanne McNenly (August 2013) or Gary Rosenthal's Combo Menorah, featuring a delightful dreidel in Golden Gelt (December 2013), the offbeat was part of TCR monthly beat.
Recession Is Over, or Is It?
Throughout profiles and show reports, artists and dealers would delve into the economy and the restrictions it has placed on their businesses. Many have used the constrictions to become "leaner, meaner" creating forces. Others are hopeful that a sunnier financial forecast blazes ahead.
Attending NY NOW's August show, Leslie Armstrong, of Armstrong Textiles, told TCR , "This was my first time here in five years. I waited for the recession to end ... So far, so good."
|Celebrities graced the pages of this year's issues, showcasing their talents beyond the TV screen. May 2013 introduced readers to the charismatic and conversational Tommy MacDonald, the host of Rough Cut, Woodworking with Tommy Mac. The New England native showed off his down-to-earth naturalness and his extraordinary classic furniture designs. MacDonald proffered very sound advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: "It's not that I have a lot of self-confidence or enormous belief in myself. It's that I don't limit myself."
September 2013 welcomed Tony Dow, TV's Wally, the beloved big brother from iconic sitcom Leave It to Beaver. Dow, who has worn many hats in Hollywood onscreen and off, has found his most comfortable and satisfying niche as an acclaimed sculptor: "Forget everything you've been taught about art, other than technique and history. Experiment and find your own truth and authenticity."
Angela Cartwright beamed into the October 2013 pages. The child star, who performed in musicals, comedies, and sci-fi, talked about her immersion in the world of textile arts and photography: "You need to decide when you are making art, whom are you making it for? For others or for yourself."
The October 2013 issue celebrated Tangible Textiles (Angela Cartwright's art.wear among them), and 2014 seems to be perched as another year where form and formfitting will meet.
In May 2013, an interesting article revealed a national nonprofit artists' advocacy association that helps working artists living in America. United States Artists (USA) has a Fellows program that awards 50 unrestricted grants of $50,000 each to artists and artisans across the nation.
World Becomes Smaller Place
No longer just a rallying cry from a handpicked few in the know, "fair trade practice" is now a social cause that is understood by and practiced by many craftspeople, retailers, and purchasers. Alice Grau, creative director of Global Mamas, was profiled in September 2013's issue and made a passionate plea for this creative and consumer choice.
Xmas Artistry and Hanukah Highlights
In December's issue, Judaica took center stage in the "Crafts Scene." An assemblage of traditional and elegant religious creations shared space with attention-grabbing items, like "the world's most interesting seder plate." The holiday spotlights proved that no matter the economic barometer, fashioning gifts remains a hot enterprise.
Artisans, curators, jewelry makers, marketing strategists, educators, publishers, activists--these were just some of the job titles that were fêted in the two-part series. Some of the participants--like Joey Foster Ellis and Gabriel Craig--juggled many of these job descriptions at the same time.
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