Vessels wrought of rosewood, black palm and bloodwood; jewelry glittering with multicolored glass beads; cutting-edge baskets created from construction-site castoffs; polymer handbags bearing the burnished image of a Venus or Madonna; furniture fashioned of machined aluminum, fabric and foam. The 18th annual Smithsonian Craft Show presents the work of 120 American craft artists who have demonstrated a growth of ideas and inventiveness beyond the mere technical handling of their materials. Selected from more than 1,600 applicants, these exhibitors are grouped in 12 categories: basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, wearable art, and wood.
The artists pictured here (click on each image to read about the artists) represent the high level of mastery, imagination and sense of commitment manifested by all the participants. "We looked for work that exemplified a pursuit of original ideas, a strong sense of personal expression and a facility for interpreting older traditions or techniques in a fresh way," says Michael Monroe, former director of the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery and one of this year's judges. Sponsored by the Smithsonian's Women's Committee, the show is at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., April 27-30. For ticket information, hours and other details, call 202-357-4000.