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Hello Baltimore! The American Craft Show + More

Karin Jacobson show news store news travel

I am freshly back from Baltimore, where I had a fantastic time at the American Craft Show! I’ve attended this event for many years, and it always gives me the chance to reconnect with colleagues, meet fans of my designs, and chat with new stores and galleries.

Worrisome winter weather

A big snow storm was predicted for Baltimore the day before the show opened—the day when lots of exhibitors AND buyers would be arriving—so some of us were a little worried about the first day of the show. (Why such worry, you ask? A number of years back, a storm prevented most of the buyers and many of the exhibitors from getting to the first half of the show! I think those of us who weathered that one were all gritting our teeth!) But the weather ended up less troublesome than expected...and it just blanketed Baltimore in a pretty layer of white.

What a difference a day makes!  Rachel Atherley and I on our way in to the Baltimore Convention Center on Wednesday during the "big" storm, and on Thursday with the weather looking springy!

Although there was one day of snow, the next day was quite spring-like and we even saw buds on the trees. It’s almost always snowy and freezing back home when this event takes place, and I love that I get a spring preview every year in Baltimore!

 Buds!  So lovely to see you! (Hand and jewelry, courtesy of Rachel Atherley.)

Connecting with buyers

On the first day of the show, I reconnected with the Aaron Faber Gallery—hosts of last year’s Pearls Redefined show—and am thrilled to have been invited to participate in another of this New York gallery’s upcoming shows. For 2019, the theme is Over the Moon, and they are asking designers for work with blue gemstones (like sapphire, iolite, topaz, labradorite, zircon, or lapis) or “moon” gems including moonstones of all colors. I have a few stones in stock to get me started, but I might need to go do a little more gem shopping! (Not that I’m complaining …)

I am also delighted to announce that I’ll be selling with Meeka Fine Jewelry in Camp Hill, PA, starting in March. I’m taking part in their visiting artist program, so I’ll be selling with them from March through June of 2019. They have an impressive presence on Instagram and an absolutely beautiful feed, so definitely follow them ASAP.  I’ve sent them a gorgeous (and big!) collection which is rolling out shortly!

During the wholesale portion of the show, I also had fun reconnecting with a number of regulars whose collections are about to get freshened-up. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat and talk shop.

Connecting with customers

Once the industry days had wrapped, I had a blast during the retail days; I truly love getting feedback from buyers and admirers. My new origami rings with keshi pearls were a big hit … and come to think of it, the plain and diamond versions were popular as well. I was tickled to see so many big Origami rings going home with happy new owners!

 All three pearl Origami rings before the show opened!

Seeing friends, old and new

Another Baltimore bonus is that the show gives me a chance to hang with friends and colleagues who attend every year. I was especially excited to spend time with my fellow jewelry designer, annual roommate, and “show wife” Rachel Atherley. I love her jewelry and love her even more; we always have a fantastic time bunking together and hanging out at the show. And making it even better, Paula, one of my long time besties from Minneapolis who now lives in Washington, DC has made a new tradition of visiting me at the show every year - so the three of us enjoyed a fun dinner out after we we were done working for the day!

 Here's Paula showing off her new Rachel Atherley earrings! (I have the same style but in a different colored gem ... now we can be twins!)

And it’s also marvelous and incredibly inspiring to see all of the other artists’ work. Here are a few of my faves! 

Clockwise from top left: a demon kitty necklace by Susan Elnora; gorgeous juicy-looking gemstone rings by JS Noor (the engagement ring is my own); one of Sam Woehrmann's gorgeous geometrical aquamarine rings (next to my Gemmy Origami stackers); and these killer coral earrings by Russell Jones.

In addition to show days, I got to do some off-the-clock exploring and relaxing. (With a side of networking.) In addition to Paula's visit, I always look forward to the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group dinner, which was at a fabulous Argentine steak house; and I enjoyed a fun dinner out with jewelry photographer Cole Rodger, who often shoots my work. (Apparently I was having too much fun to take photos. You’ll just have to take my word for it.)

Next up will be the American Craft Show at St. Paul Rivercentre in April. If you’re in the Twin Cities, I hope to see you there!

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