Features

Appalachian Spring cranks up its spiffy white Yule Bug and drapes its signature “Celebrate American Craft” banner along the side to serve as its “float” in the annual Reston Town Center Christmas parade.

CREDIT: COURTESY OF RESTON TOWN CENTER

Kick-Starting Christmas with Community Events

When communities celebrate, businesses prosper, and Christmas is an ideal time for craft shops and galleries to join wholeheartedly in citywide holiday festivities. With opportunities ranging from storefront decorating and window display contests to street caroling and sponsored floats in Yuletide parades, small business retailers have readymade opportunities to join the fun, show their community spirit and entice post-events revelers into their stores.

Retail Details

San Francisco fiber artist Joe Cunningham with “Patchwork Quilt,” one of his own creations.

Craft in America Rolls Out ‘Industry’

The connection between consumer and maker, and the freedom they find, is explored in Industry: Handmade in the Creative Economy, which opens the sixth season of the Peabody Award-winning series Craft in America. The new episode, which premiered May 2, shows American artisans keeping the past alive.

SU14 R-D IMPULSE peacock

Impulse Buy

Gretchen Diehl, of BirdQueen Designs in Philadelphia, relies on vivid dreams, people and animals she’s known and loved, and verbal and visual misinterpretations to create “original, affordable, adorable plastic jewelry that’s meant to make a statement wherever you go.” Diehl and production managers Melissa Magri and Michele Smith print the artist’s designs on ink jet shrink film.

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Market Calendar

A comprehensive listing of wholesale trade shows—happening now through October 2014.

Recent Articles

CERF 3D Charts 1

Commenting on ‘Craft’

The misgivings about the word “craft” expressed by a significant percentage of CERF+ Survey respondents were reinforced with additional comments on the subject. This sampling from more than 600 open-ended replies captures some of the artists’ ambivalence, irritation and struggles to come to terms with other people’s perceptions of the word.

Metalsmith Steven Cooper in happier times, standing amid his painted flowers and with just the roof of his 200-year-old renovated barn popping up behind him.

Editor’s Letter: Let’s All Rebuild the Barn

If you’re ever tempted to start feeling really sorry for yourself anytime soon, stop and think about metalsmith Steven Cooper. Most of us know Steve as a regular exhibitor at the Buyers Market of American Craft shows. He was featured last year in an Artist Profile in the Summer edition of NICHE. His giant metal flowers have always seemed to me to be the reflection of a very happy man. Even his home, a 200-year-old barn in New York’s Hudson Valley that he painstakingly renovated into a studio/residence for himself and his wife Karen, was the culmination of a dream.

Suzanne Evans

Biz 101: Straight Talk for Struggling Business Owners

So you seized your dream and started your own business. That’s the good news. Yet no matter how much you analyze your budget, tweak your advertising and make yourself available to customers and community alike, you can’t seem to make headway. Is it the economy? Or is the universe conspiring against you?

Fleecy cute Major Oddvark, from Mr. Sogs Creatures.

What’s New: No Batteries Needed

What’s almost as delightful as the sound of a child’s laughter? Giving that little one a new toy. While high-tech gadgets that honk and blink abound in toy stores, nothing can substitute for the warm and fuzzy feel of a patchwork teddy bear or handcrafted backpack. Here are examples of new work by artists from seven studios focused on youngsters (and the young at heart).

Frustrated at their inability to find quality toys for their own sons, Erin and Aaron Nuland started their own company to create and sell them.

Artist Profile: Aaron Nuland

When does a screaming, crying customer spell success? When that customer is a child who doesn’t want to leave artist Aaron Nuland’s wonderful world of eco-friendly, handcrafted wooden toys. Aaron’s wife and business partner, Erin Nuland, says parents have a hard time leaving, too: “They often say our toys remind them of those they had when they were children.

At the root of ceramic artist Kate Harward’s success is her enthusiastic exploration of techniques.

Artist Profile: Kate Harward

“My ideas often come when I’m working on a piece I may have made many times—all of a sudden a new iteration comes to mind!” says Tygart River Pottery artist Kate Harward. “I rarely sit down and design; the ideas seem to flow while I’m working or perusing articles or books.” Harward feeds her creativity with diverse influences ranging from extensive international travel to studying Japan’s highly decorated pots of the Jomon period, large Chinese jars and Korean celadons.

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