The American Fine Craft Show is right around the corner and we’re getting even more excited as we continue to talk to the artists who are part of the fair. If you’re looking for unique Christmas presents or just something special to give yourself, you’ll be delighted by the variety at the craft fair. Taking place at the Brooklyn Museum on November 21-22, the American Fine Craft Show will show off the art of 90 exhibitors from around the country – all for the price of museum entrance. As if that isn’t enough, the artists themselves will be at the show to talk to you about exactly how they made their craft. The AFCS is one of the best shows in town, so don’t miss it!
In our third installment of articles about the show, we are talking with artist Soli Pierce, of Sherwood Forest Design New York, and textile designer Andrea Handy, of Andrea Geer Designs. If you miss the show, catch both of these artists at the Chicago One of a Kind show in December. Read how they create their designs and why you should visit the fair:
Examiner: Why did you become an artist?
SP: I have been working as an artist all my life, because everything else always led me back there. I started painting as a child, used it as a relaxing tool while studying in college. I taught Photography in NYC and did art installation all over Europe in the 80s. Was curator for a gallery on 57th Street, and went to the early days of the Basel Fair in Switzerland and Venice Bienale, all while having my own art studio in NYC. My home reflects my art, and my art reflects my life. I believe art and life inseparable.
AH: I have been an artist since I was a child. I went to Rochester Institute of Technology and received an MFA in Fine Arts. As with many people, my career path has taken twists and turns. I bought my first knitting machine 8 years ago and we grew from there. I feel that I was chosen to be an artist and all of my choices in life have steered me towards the medium most capable of expressing my creativity at that time.
Examiner: What does a typical day in the life of you as an artist looks like?
SP: Spinning a lot of hats, my work sells in stores and galleries as far away as Barney’s in Tokyo, it has been offered at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a Cezanne exhibition, and at the MFA in Boston with a John Singer Sargent show – the phone rings with orders on a daily basis; it is a road show in my head at all times. Sitting down to finally paint provides the meditative quality to keep the rest going. I have a number of amazing assistant who help with the base preparations, coating, shipping, etc. I have done Dr. Oz’s gift list, and Universal Studios, my heirloom bowls are in demand 12 months a year, 40% of my business comes from reorders, happy collectors. I literally have to leave the country to take a break. I am deeply grateful, and busy all day, and into the night, to keep it all going.
AH: It’s to the computer first to organize emails to vendors, customers and to apply to shows. Then, off to the studio. The first part of the week is focused on design and experimenting with new materials and techniques. The latter part of the week is focused on making pieces for the show.
Examiner: What is it about the American Fine Craft Show that makes it so appealing?
AH: This will be my second year at the Brooklyn Museum. This show is representative of the finest craft in the country. The Brooklyn Museum is the perfect setting for this level of craft and design.
SP: I have done their last 3 museum based shows, and am impressed by the level of commitment to the artisans chosen and design of the show. The caliber is unmatched, proud to be with this group and organization. The marriage between the museum and the artists, the deep commitment of both to break out of the usual craft art market venue.
Examiner: Why should someone buy your work?
AH: We are focusing this year on our digitally printed leather skirts. They are printed from paintings that I did and they are pieced together so each one is truly one of a kind. Customers who attend this show will know that they are participating in a fashion movement that is the antithesis of “fast fashion.”
SP: My hand turned, hand painted maple wood bowls are functional for daily use. Heirloom quality, perfect for holiday, weddings, housewarming, and other gifts. Functional art for the table. Celebrates LIFE and ART, what more could you want.
Examiner: Is there anything visitors should know before attending the American Fine Craft Show this year?
SP: You will not want to miss this extraordinary opportunity to see this level of talent under one roof; my fellow exhibitors inspire me daily with their amazing talent. Bring your friends, let everyone know this is happening, a rare event of this quality is not to be missed. In a word of fast production to find hand made items of this caliber a gift for all. Please share this info with your friends on Instagram and Facebook, we love the Brooklyn Museum.
AH: The people who make their work and travel to different fine craft shows are really interesting to talk to and have some funny stories. These are truly some of the most talented professionals in the country. It’s a great place to start a collection of beautifully made objects, jewelry and clothing. Come to the Show, tour the museum and leave inspired.