Craft Trends and Inspiration From National Artists

Colorful glass pieces on display at the 42 Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show (Photo copyright 2018 Andrea Karen Hammer/Artsphoria Media Group

By Andrea Karen Hammer

James Borden from Sibley, IA, creates an enhanced sense of motion in his hand-crafted clocks. For more information, see (Photo copyright 2018 Andrea Karen Hammer/Artsphoria Media Group)

As one of Artsphoria’s most eagerly anticipated events each year, the 42nd annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show was another energizing and memorable experience.

Thought-Provoking Conversations With Artists

During this edition of the craft show titled “Art by Hand,” we enjoyed consistently stimulating and thought-provoking conversations with easy-to-approach artists while viewing their extraordinary creations. Many of the artists readily discussed the inspiration for and process behind their hand-crafted work. From colorful glass objects to an increasing trend in functional and wearable art such as woven jackets and hand-crafted bags, some touchable pieces winked at viewers with a welcome sense of humor.

Highlights From “Art by Hand” Craft Show

Craft and fiber art lovers explored seven aisles of nirvana at the 42 Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show. (Photo copyright 2018 Andrea Karen Hammer/Artsphoria Media Group)

Here are some of the stand-outs as we walked through seven aisles of craft nirvana at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia this year:

Alan Daigre DesignsBased in Woodbury, TN, this talented furniture maker creates stunning handmade chairs and rockers. Meticulously crafted from small squares of wood that are assembled like puzzle pieces, these beautiful chairs magically conform to your body for comfort.

Julie and Ken Girardini/Girardini DesignThis Maryland-based couple creates inventive and useful designs for the home. After nearly three decades of collaboration, their “freedom of expression” and combined vision in their work as well as their life together arises from a foundation of “mutual respect.”

Jaana Mattson Needle Felted WoolThis artist from Minneapolis, MN, won Artsphoria’s prize for the most distinctive pieces in this year’s show. Nature-inspired landscapes, created from this surprising material, were framed in wood blocks retaining their natural shape and creating a three-dimensional light-box effect.

Bob and Eveyln McNally/McNally Strumstick: This couple in Rockaway, NJ, has combined a unique talent for craft and music. Their specially designed instruments ensure “no wrong notes” by holding one string and strumming all three to produce beautiful melodies.

C.T. Whitehouse SculptureThis artist, who was immediately open to discussing his work in detail, invited us to experience hands-on interaction with one of his bronze sculptures. After enjoying the sound produced from a meditative bell-shaped piece, he described his work as part chemist during the finishing process and the creative life that he shares with his wife, children’s book author Barbara Joosse, in Port Washington, WI.

Craft in America: California and Visionaries on PBS

Craft lovers in search of more inspiration will want to mark their calendar for December 21, 2018, for the PBS premiere of California and Visionaries.  The first explores various traditions and innovations from a basket weaver, silversmith, glass artists, cabinetmakers and textile artist. The latter documents the ways that artists encourage others to envision unlimited possibilities through craft.

For details about local schedules for episodes, bonus videos, exhibitions, artist information and learning materials, see



Andrea Hammer
About Andrea Hammer 283 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, director and owner of Artsphoria Publishing, Media Group & Shop ( Artsphoria International Magazine (; Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (; Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (; Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (; Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (; Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World ( and Artsphoria Shop ( She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.