For over 70 years, the American Craft Council (ACC) has been championing American artists who create contemporary art in several mediums. The ACC is a nonprofit organization that promotes appreciation of contemporary art all over the nation by connecting with local art institutions, educational institutions and emerging artists. In turn, the ACC hosts wholesale and public craft shows. The public can attend four fabulous shows of juried art that feature over 225+ American artisans, including 25 from Georgia.
The American Craft Show locations are in San Francisco, CA; Baltimore, MD; St. Paul, MN; and Atlanta, GA. In March, the Cobb Galleria hosted the Atlanta show. It was an attention-grabbing gathering of American artists who create high-quality wearable art in silk, leather, felted wool, glass, enamel and other fibers.
In 2016, the ACC added another aspect to the craft show. The goal is to encourage the public not to just come and look at the arts and crafts, but to understand how the various wearable pieces can be incorporated into everyday wardrobes. The Style Slam invites local stylists and models to highlight the melding of wearable fashion and art. During the three-day celebration of all things handmade, local fashion stylists “slammed” the various booths that featured wearable art, meaning they looked for their favorite pieces to highlight on their live models and mannequins.
When the stylists were ready for their big reveal, Grant Whittaker, ACC’s style ambassador from Minnesota, emceed a spontaneous fashion show. A stylist in his own right, Whittaker interviewed local stylists and asked why they chose to feature individual pieces of art worn by their models and mannequins. Show attendees were encouraged to view the dialog and enjoy the live fashion event in the middle of the main display hall.
Elizabeth Morgan Spiegel is an ACC patron and an enthusiastic model for this year’s Style Slam. Originally from Arkansas, Spiegel has loved art all her life. Her favorite aspect of ACC is seeing the creativity of the various artists every year. Atlanta stylist Shaye Strager perused the various booths and chose an opera-length necklace in antique gold tones for Spiegel to wear. The three-dimensional Italian leaves on the necklace created by Paz Sintes look akin to barbed wire, but the secret is the material used in creating it. Italian cotton-lurex-polyamide-linen is embroidered and hand stitched to create this dramatic, ultra light necklace. Soft, huggable and snagproof, the jewelry was a complementary contrast to the seemingly delicate coral tunic with ruching at the sleeve and waist worn by Spiegel.
Atlanta stylist Jill Veysey, who sports a retro style and loves anything vintage, chose to highlight a collar of colorful succulents made of felt created by Danielle Gori-Montanelli. Paired with a vivid green floor-length vintage dress in a goddess style and updo, her model looked like a fanciful forest fairy.
Anne Vincent is a Buckhead artist who is fairly new to the wearable art industry, but her wares show a deep knowledge of various dying techniques. An art major and a former interior designer, her artist’s eye helps her create truly unique scarves, vests and coats. Silk and merino wool are dyed and shaped to create real works of art that can be worn casually or to gala events.
Lest you think this event is only for the fashion forward looking for that particular statement piece, the American Craft Council also hosts artists who create furniture, interior décor, toys, musical instruments and ceramics. Robert Patterson, a Milton artist who had a booth at the American Craft Show, was recently featured in the Milton Herald for his work in wood forms.
Don't miss next year's show in Atlanta. Check out http://craftcouncil.org/shows/2017 for details and times. If you need help deciding what great statement jacket, necklace or scarf to add to your wardrobe, I would be happy to help you look your personal best. ■