Photo by Hitomi Jacobs
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the American Craft Council has postponed the American Craft Show to Oct. 9-11, 2020, after having previously scheduled it for this April. For more information, visit craftcouncil.org. This article has been modified to reflect these new changes.
Wedding season is rearing its bedazzled head once again, which means that many of us are on the prowl for beautiful wedding gifts, fun summer fashion, and maybe even a piece of jewelry to rival whatever our beloved brides and grooms will be wearing on their special days. There is no better place to find all of the above and more than at the American Craft Show at the St. Paul RiverCentre on Oct. 9-11.
Amy Betts, senior writer & digital strategist at LIN Public Relations, Inc., was kind enough to walk me through what we can expect from the American Craft Show this year. From the fun of the preview party to educational panels and hands on activities, there is a lot to look forward to in this show’s 34th year.
“All of the art at the American Craft Show is three-dimensional,” Amy says. The American Craft Show specializes in utilitarian art: almost every piece is a tangible treasure. From handbags to side tables to serving bowls, you are certain to find an artist among the 250 represented at the show who is making something that you need more beautifully than you have ever seen it made before.
Pamela Diamond, the American Craft Council’s director of show marketing gave me an overview of some of the items that will be on display at the show this year, and she emphasized that, although there are plenty of high end items for sale, there is also a great selection of more accessible goods for the plebeians among us. Some fun items to look for include chunky jewelry “harkening back to the ‘80s”, jewelry that utilizes “alternative metals”, and lots of great up-cycled furniture.
Because there are so many artists represented at the show, a solid quarter of which are locally based, Diamond suggests starting with a few of her personal favorites. Three jewelers that she think are doing especially innovative things this year include Melinda Risk, Betty Jager (a Minneapolis-based artist), and Hitomi Jacobs. She also recommended Teresa Audet (Minneapolis-based), Eshelman Pottery, and Ian Petrie (a University of Minnesota alum) for unique wedding gifts that range from handcrafted brass spoons and ceramics to mugs illustrated with modern, snarky comics in “crow-quill pen”.
Hip Pop, a five-year program through the American Craft Council that assists emerging artists with the business side of their craft, is also worth checking out. There are currently 36 artists who are a part of this program who will be featured at the St. Paul show. Their work is definitely worth seeking out and supporting. Who knows? One of them could wind up being your new favorite artist!
Obviously you will want to check out as many of the artists as possible while you are at the American Craft Show, but in between shopping, I would recommend finding a Let’s Make Inspiration Station. These areas are a great opportunity for kids and adults alike to get hands-on experience with and demonstrations of different kinds of art, from woodturning to glass arts to textiles, clay and more.
For tickets and more information, check out the event website at craftcouncil.org/shows/acc/american-craft-show-saint-paul.
American Craft Show
St. Paul RiverCentre
174 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN
Oct. 9-11, 2020