Highlights from the American Craft Council Baltimore Show

At the end of last month, I exhibited at the American Craft Council Baltimore Show as a vendor. This is basically my “home” show that I go to every year—and, because it’s local, I have to admit that this one might just be my favorite. While I do love to travel and meet new people, it’s always great to attend a show where I’m surrounded by familiar faces (who feel as close as family!). Plus, I get to relax in my own home at the end of the day.

Even though this show is so familiar, I’m also always surprised and impressed by the talent who participated.

For those who may not know, this show is one of the biggest for the American Craft Council. Attendees and vendors fly in from all over the country because it’s such a unique show. Even visitors from California attend (there is a San Francisco show, but it’s a bit smaller than the Baltimore one). 

The variety of one-of-a-kind art, crafts, jewelry, and furniture made this show a spectacular one. Here are a few of the booths I spotted while strolling through the show.

The asymmetrical look of these furniture pieces drew me right in.

Another example of asymmetrical artwork—it kind of reminds me of seashells.

 

Davin & Kessler’s booth featured a unique style on all their goods—from card cases to cuff links.

I’m always a big fan of using nature in artwork.

I even noticed a similarity between my shooting star collar and Girardini Design’s metal work!

And, of course, my own booth looked lovely as ever this year.

Overall, there is an energy you can feel in the convention center each year. It must be what happens when so many crafters and creatives get together all under one roof. Yet, even with all this incredible energy, I’ve noticed an unsettling trend in these shows—the crowds are starting to thin. Specifically, we’re seeing less and less of the younger generations and it’s a shame. With the maker movement, the rise of Etsy, and a focus on the hand-crafted and artisanal, you’d think this show would be packed with Millennials, but there seems to be fewer who show up—as either vendors or attendees—each year.

As crafts makers and artists, what can we do to spark further interest in craft shows? Is there a way we can use these shows to inspire a new generation of creatives to get involved? Let me know in the comments below—I’d love to hear your take!

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the spring-like weather here in Maryland and gearing up for the upcoming Morven in May show in Princeton, NJ—see you there!

 

Lori Gottlieb