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Friday, July 19, 2024

2024 Smithsonian Craft Show

sure sign of spring is the annual juried Craft Show brought to you by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee. This year the show dates are May 1-5.

All of the net proceeds go back to the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, research centers and the National Zoo  for the amazing work they do for science, arts and community projects.

In 2014 the SWC started a program to recognize late career artists who have reached the pinnicle of their craft. The qualifying criteria for the Visionary Award is that the artist has been shown in major museums and in important collections.

Past winners of the Visionary Award include Albert Paley, Wendall Castle, Faith Ringgold, Dale Chihuly and Toots Zynsky. These amazing artists set the bar for future award winners. This year the award winners are all glass artists and their work is stunning. The Secretary of the Smithsonian, Lonnie Bunch, will present the awards on the opening night of the show.

Dan Dailey

Our first award winner is Dan Dailey. He blends together sculpture. painting, and storytelling with a deft hand that comes from his work  work with Venini in Italy, Christalleris Daum in Paris and Waterford in Ireland.

Particularly note the amusing characters executed in Pate de Verre, a sort of sanded or frosted finish that harkens back to his time at Daum Glass in Paris. These pieces are not only amusing to look at, but the technical aspect of their execution is off the charts.

Also notable is his White Series. These vessels are executed with a fine eye toward the shape of the piece, but then have a calligraphic element in a contrasting color that is reminiscent of  Matisse. Stunning.

Judith Schaecter

Our second award winner is Judith Schaecter, an artist who works in stained glass. Her technique is one of layering what she calls ”flash glass” or a pre-colored sheet of glass, with several layers of other colors, most of which are carved with an engraving tool. Her intricate drawings, meticiously carved into layers of the glass, are then set into frames to tell a story.

The stories are sometimes fanciful such as in the “Swarm,” a long, undulated piece with flowers, birds and butterflies or a heart rending piece like Raft of the Medusa, a graphic piece in sepia and grey tones, again, layered on pieces of glass to produce a soft depth color field.

Stained glass has never looked like this. If you think of the medium as a gaily colored panel that you set against a window to fracture light coming into your kitchen, you must see Judith’s work in person. It is quite amazing.

Norwood Viviano

Many years ago, the Women’s Committee thought to recognize mid-career artists who will in time reach the status of Visionary.  These younger and therefore more easily collectable artists have a secure place in our show. We call this award “The Delphi” and it will be given to Norwood Viviano by the president of the SWC, Trudi Hahn.

Norwood currently is an Associate Professor in Grand Valley State University in Michigan. As with the others, his pieces are in museums like the Renwick, Chrysler and Corning Museums.

Norwood presents his kilncast glass in tightly congested sculptures depicting urban landscapes.  They typically depict cities with manufacturing history, with the sculptures show a changing landscape. They are of one color, but the light refraction makes them come alive.

Mining Industries: Seattle (detail), 3D kilncast glass, mirrored glass, fabricated steel. 17.5 x 14.5 x 38 inches, by Norwood Viviano

He also does a series called “Global Cities.” The pieces in this series are elegant triangular or conical shapes suspended from the ceiling on cable wire. As congested as the first series is, the next one is all about light and space. The contrast between the two shows the breadth of the artist mind.

“De-Luxe” 2022, Stained Glass, 28 x 40 x 3 in; by Judisth Schaechter

All of the artists will have their work in booth 117. A panel discussion led by Stephanie Stebich, director of the  Smithsonian American Art Museum as well as the Renwick Gallery will lead the discussion on May 2 from 1-2:00.

For tickets to the Craft Show go to smithsoniancraftshow.org. Schedule: May 1 – Visionary Reception at 5 p.m. to introduce the Visionary and Delphi Award winners. Preview Night Party at 6 p.m. See website for prices. May 2-4: 10:30-5:30; Sunday, May 5: 11-5. General admission: $20. For more information go to smithsoniancraftshow.org.  

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