Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Annual Pilgrimage

A Visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

We made our annual pilgrimage to the Philadelphia Museum Craft Show, but for the first time, we waited until the weekend.  (We usually go on the first day.)  We hopped the 8 AM Peter Pan express bus at Port Authority and arrived in the City of Brotherly Love right at 10 AM on the dot.  The train station is only two blocks from the Convention Center.  (As a name, doesn't Peter Pan make an interesting juxtaposition against names like Mega and Bolt and Greyhound?)

Since we were so disappointed last year when we arrived to find that our favorite milliners, Ignatius Creegan and Rod Givens, were not there, we triple-checked the show's website this year to make sure they were exhibiting! After check-in at the press desk, their booth was our very first stop. It was as much a social as a shopping experience. Rod and Ignatius are in the process of renovating an old J.C.Penney store to serve as their new studio space in Petersburg, VA. Check out their website here.  We shamelessly spent over an hour in their booth, trying on the most wonderful selections of hats before making our final selections.  The gents put hats on us that we might not have thought to try on our own.  An eye-opening experience!

Dakota R. Pratt hails from Austin. His mixed media pieces and contemporary sculpture and furniture for D. Redington Design ranged from a life-size unicorn to tables and chairs to wall hangings. Check here for his website.

We visited our friend Korean joomchi artist Jiyoung Chung to view her latest wonderful creations. We'd last seen each other at an event at The Korea Society in New York City. Check out Jiyoung's work here.

Here's a detail of one of Jiyoung's work in paper. You can see there are several layers of paper in different textures, as well as a series of tiny knots. Earlier this year you might remember we wrote about Jiyoung's mother, Chunghie Lee, who does wonderfully delicate work in silk.

We admired Jurate's layered linen coat, which she said is also reversible. Jurate, originally from Lithuania, had come to support the Lithuanian artists. She told us Jurate means mermaid, and comes from a well known folk tale. (Wikipedia tells the story here.)

You should have seen Karol dashing by, with panels of her jacket fluttering behind her. Her blouse seemed to be foam green silk, and she wore a wonderful hat with a military shape.

We had a long chat with Kathleen Dustin, who does wonderful things with polymer clay. (Click here to see if you agree with us.) That's her mother with her, wearing a needle punched (?) felt vest. Kathleen herself is wearing a long industrial felt vest made by a former participant at the show, and one of her polymer neckpieces. For a better look at her necklace, see the next photo (taken from Kathleen's website).

When we first saw her, Kathleen was wearing one variation of this neckpiece (called Techno-pollen); when we saw her again later she was wearing another variation, having sold the first.

We had to photograph Laurie Phillips and Geri Covington, who looked fabulous. We got to talking with them about Joan Shepp, Philadelphia's purveyor of edgy clothing. We knew there wouldn't be time to visit her, but we definitely want to.

Andrea Geer does dramatic knitwear in stripes. This dress has knitted three dimensional flaps incorporated - one at a time, by hand - into main body. We fell in love with the dramatic neckpiece, which is stiff enough to stand up and frame the face, but flexible enough for the wearer to shape it to suit. The secret is antique copper wire - no longer made, Andrea said - that she inserts into the design, and highlights here with contrasting white yarn. Both Andrea and her assistant are wearing her work.

We love Biba Schutz's raw elemental work, which showcases all the components for what they are. Biba (right) is wearing a necklace made of three slabs of mica. In front of her is an openwork necklace whose centerpiece is a slice of horn.  Biba's assistant is also wearing Biba's work.

We took four pictures of Liz - with and without glasses, with and without flash, and Liz just can't take a bad picture. We chose this one, not only because the glasses are a great blue, but because we should all be proud to show off our glasses. We've seen a lot, and we've earned our glasses! Liz is wearing a painted silk vest by Kiss of the Wolf, one of the show's exhibitors. The cut that goes across Liz's pants below the knee allows them to taper beautifully.

The Savannah College of Art and Design had its annual booth and selection of innovative jewelry. SeungJoen Paik showed us this brooch he made of sterling and silicone. He explained that he poured liquid silicone into the three shallow circlets, then poured blue powder into one and red powder into the other. The waves in the colors are the result of the silicone being stirred. There is a small reservoir that connects the white circlet to the blue and red circlets, allowing some of those colors to flow into the third pool.

Toshiki and Maryszka design their own line of tasty leather and shearling goods.

During the course of the day we saw a woman in a wonderful black polka dot skirt we both drooled after. We caught her here on her way out, but she had her coat on, so you can't see the wonderful cut of her skirt. It turned out she was a card-carrying hat maven, and had bought four Ignatius hats, one of them a HUGE (two feet wide?) starchy black bow made out of netting that Valerie had tried on but had to leave behind since she could not have worn it in a subway or a taxi. (But when Valerie can afford a stretch limo, she's going to have that hat custom made for her!)

We met Beverly at the Ignatius hats' stall, and saw her try on this olive green hat in lush fur felt. Here she is, later in the day, having consigned the hat she came in with to a shopping bag.

Too bad we have to let you have to imagine this woman's gorgeous gray hair, hidden in the back, but at least you don't have to imagine her wonderful textured wool coat.

In the lobby, we ran into Rose. We'd spotted her earlier in the day, but lost track of her, so we were glad to have a last minute opportunity to photograph her for our readers. Rose has shaved her hairline (did you know that stylish Elizabethan women did that too?), but her hair is long in the back, and she's put it up in two little buns. That look is becoming very popular now and Rose does a great job of it. Her coat is by Karen Groner of Grownbeans. Karen repurposes old materials - often old furs - and makes wild and whimsical one-of-a-kinds of them.

Annina King from Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania designs romantic women's dresses, coats, skirts and gloves for her company Granate Couture, LLC. We coaxed her mom into posing for a photo with Annina. For more information, click here.

Joy Raskin's Metal Ornaments are fascinating, humorous and beautiful. She fashions wall ornaments, necklaces and bracelets from silver and copper kitchen utensils as well as knits colorful metal wire cuffs. She is from Concord, New Hampshire. For more information go to or  We also successfully coaxed her mom to join her in the photo.

Christy Klug is the best advertisement for her jewelry designs. She was wearing a wonderfully geometric oxidized silver necklace with what looked like a black rubber and silver hoop. To see more of her creations, do click here.

Amy Nguyen's textiles and designs are truly extraordinary. She and her husband are wearing stitched, pieced and hand-dyed linen shibori coats in shades of charcoal, navy and white. She traveled to Japan since we last saw her to further hone here craft. She's still working 80 hours a week in what she calls a labor of love. Valerie wore one of Amy's scarves to the show.  Jean covets the jersey shibori jacket in the photo hanging on the back wall. To view more of Amy's work, just click here.

Molly Grant (r, with yummy black and purple boot) designs handmade footwear and holds shoemaking workshops at her Cordwainer Shop in Deerfield, New Hampshire.  Veronica holds a soft flat in lipstick red leather.  For information about shoes or workshops, click here. Students and visitors can stay at her Wild Orchard Guest Farm decorated with American fine crafts and early American antiques. For more details about accomodations, click here.

Metalsmith Andrea Williams' contemporary jewelry designs for Bound Earth in Cohasset, Massachusetts include her Sa & Kyuma series of sterling, 18k gold and beach stones. Andrea (l) and her assistant Ia model her necklaces and bracelets. Click here for her website.  Although Andrea learned much of her craft at RISD, many of her techniques are self-taught.

Elisabeth Newton's contemporary pearls are not your grandmother's pearls! Her pearl collars (one of which is visible in the lower left of the shot) are beautifully crafted as are her earrings,rings and necklaces. She lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information, click here.

Jupi T. Das practices the art of paper-cutting, working out of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Each piece is hand cut from a single piece of paper. No commercial reproduction technique is used. To view her website, click here.  (You can also visit, by appointment.)

Basket maker Mary A. Jackson hails from John's Island, South Carolina. Her award-winning work is both beautiful and functional. Mary was a 2008 MacArthur Fellow.  She doesn't have a website, but you here's her contact information : P.O. Box 12027, Charleston, SC 29422; tel: 843-852-0404.

Maureen Roberts and Michael Lublin run MoMo SoHo, which features flowing, colorful dresses and jackets. Jean remembers when they ran their store (which has since closed) called MoMo Falana in New York's Alphabet City. Their designs are now available on etsy. To view their website, click here.

Santa Fe jewelry designer Shelly Batt's latest collection is made of horn. Some of her necklaces featured round chain links while others were square links. We both especially liked her gumball-shaped round horn ball necklaces. Click here for more information.

Roberta and David Williamson had just appeared at LOOT at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. Their antique-looking jewelry includes semi-precious stones, gold, sterling silver, watchmaker's crystal, paper, tin, rutilated quartz, mother of pearl, peridot, glass and mixed media. Working together since they were 18 years old, the pair says their relationship in the studio is the same as their relationship doing anything else -- they love working together. Their work shows that positive energy.  They stunned us when they said they had shown our picture to their students, and the students realized that they could express themselves through their clothes.  We thought we were an example for people our own age, but never imagined we might be examples for young people.  Roberta and David work and teach in Berea, Ohio. For further information, email them at

This should give you an idea of what their work looks like -- with a sort of refined steam-punk vibe. When we admired the sterling silver bee earrings, David said that bees were a symbol of good luck. He told us that not only did the Napoleon Bonaparte take the bee as his imperial symbol but he supposedly had bees sewn into the cuffs of his uniform jackets for luck in battle. (One assumes the bees pre-deceased the tailoring.)

Artist Kina Crow works in ceramics and mixed media. Her studio is in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. If we hadn't had to catch the 6 PM bus back to the Big Apple, we would have taken her up on her invitation for cocktails. To view her work, click here.

Laurie Phillips and Geri Covington both recommended that we visit Bongsang Cho's booth. Laurie was wearing one of his stainless steel brooches. He lives in Savannah, Georgia. View his work here.

As always, the Philadelphia Museum Craft Show is a magnet for silver foxes and women in our demographic! Ladies of a certain age appreciate the artistry and craft in handmade clothing, jewelry and objects. Doesn't this tall, slim lady look like she's having a ball?

Jean ran into her friend Harriet (r) who traveled from Baltimore with her sister Jaci for the show.

We met Allison in the cafe when we stopped for coffee and told her how much we loved her colorful jacket.

Deja vu! Barbara Lember and her friend Mary Frankel didn't let Mary's recent foot surgery slow them down one iota. Just as we did last year at MOMA after Valerie's foot surgery when Jean commandeered Valerie's wheelchair, Barbara steered Mary through the aisles to try to see all the wonderful booths. When we ran into them late in the afternoon, they'd only seen about half of the show. We know how they feel. When we broke for lunch, we figured we had to pick up our pace if we were going to see all of the show before having to head out shortly after 5 PM. We are proud to report that we did manage to at least glimpse every booth, while spending longer in some than others.

At the same time that Valerie stopped to take a photo of Bert and Shan (who had a bright blue streak in her hair), Jean ran into Judy and Mike Space. Although it doesn't show up quite as brightly in this photo, take our word for it that Judy sports a darker shade of blue streak in her hair. Mike, who is a DJ, was sporting a Keith Haring DJ tee shirt. Life imitates art!

Susan Ross Stevens is a triple threat: publicist, speaker, artist and art instructor! She was wearing a jacket that she'd purchased on a recent trip to New Zealand.

This year's show featured 23 Guest Artists from the Balkan nation of Lithuania in an effort to share the unique vision and cultural influences of their work.

Sarune Vaitkute pictured here and her partner Dainius Karkus are jewelry designers from Vilnius. Their work is minimalist and yet elegant. To view their work, please click here.

Artist Daiva Lozyte is a ceramicist. Her sculpted clay works are handmade in two or three parts. Her figures have expressive silhouettes, faces that suggest different personalities, carefully combed hair, delicately embroidered clothes and tiny shoes with buttons and ribbons. Their purpose? To hold trinkets, flowers or the owner's treasures and secrets. We loved her hair and her work. To view her website, go to

Dalia Marija Saulauskaite works in leather. She does jewelry design, bookbinding and conceptual projects. She makes a variety of products such as leather bound journals and photo albums, but her leather bow ties were especially fetching.  Check out her work by clicking here.

Klaidas Nvickas has been a paper cutter for more than 20 years. He has developed his own technique and style. Each of his papercuts tells a different story, whether it be a folk song or folk tale, proverb, joke or everyday event. Each is fashioned from a single piece of paper. Klaidas makes framable pictures, greeting cards and bookplates. For futher information, click here. Klaidas was kind enough to gift us with the Contemporary Craft from Lithuania booklet which gave us the background information on him and his fellow artists.

According to the booklet Contemporary Craft from Lithuania with a foreword from Sarunas Biutis, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Nomeda Marcenaite delights in "writing books, hosting television shows, cooking, gardening, car racing and playing with clay", but says ceramics is her true calling. Check out her work by clicking here.

Jewelry designer Sandra Malaskeviciute's brand is called "Spindl Jewellery". She works exclusively with plexiglass and rich metals. Her designs are wide-ranging from vegetable jewelry, tulip brooches and pixel building blocks. Click here to view her website.

Virginija Giniotyte is skilled in the art of working with leather and wood. In addition to sculptural objects of leather, wood, papier-mache, batik, enamel and plywood, she makes necklaces with beads made from woven leather balls. Check out her work here.

What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing: a vintage open top velveteen hat labeled Hats by Eddi, of Allentown; aluminum earrings by Bruce Tolman, shibori scarf by Amy Nguyen, hand painted and stenciled Tyvek jacket labeled Under Construction, by Mau, vintage black sweater from the late great Charivari, pants by Betsey Johnson, split toe shoes by Sou-Sou, and no orthopedic boot!

Jean is wearing: a Maria Del Greco hat with a  black bakelite pin by Jean-Louis Scherrer Paris Parfum; Yohji Yamamoto polka dot jacket; Uniqlo black t-neck; Eileen Fisher harem pants; Issey Miyake Pleats Please backpack; customized Dansko clogs; vintage eyeglass frames; vintage bakelite rings and mid-century aluminum wire and marble earrings.


  1. Fabulous show, and smitten with your style!!

  2. Dying of curiousity to see the hats you purchased from Ignatius! There is so much creativity on display here; thanks for giving us the virtual tour. Favourites include Kristy Klug's necklaces, the cut paper art, Kathleen Dustin's felt vest, Rose's entire look, and Valerie's split toe zebra shoes.

  3. Thanks for taking me on the tour with you -- almost as fun as being there.

  4. Your eyes lead us on a visual voyage thru the show, beyond just booth by booth

  5. A wonderful adventure! Many thanks for taking us along! xxoo