An Experience at American Craft Council Show

We are always on the lookout for interesting and different shows to let you guys know about. When #ahasmembers Lustered Walnut were at the American Crafts Council Show in San Francisco recently they agreed to share with you all their experience. Enjoy!

Q: Tell us about your shop! What do you make? How long for? What's the process?
A: In 2012 Robert D. Turek and I--Marie Perrin-McGraw--discussed collaborating on a line of ceramics.

In 2013 we started selling our wares under the business name Lustered Walnut. Like Apple computers are not made of apples, Lustered Walnut wares are not made of walnut. The wares do, however, begin their life as a chunk of wood. We first carve the vessel forms out of wood, make a plaster mold of that, and then slip-cast. The pencil-like patterning is drawn by hand after the bisque firing and then high fired.

Q: How did you hear about this show?
A: I went to undergrad at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Annually, the American Craft Council has their four shows- San Fransisco, Atlanta, St Paul, and Baltimore. As a student in the crafts department we were strongly encouraged to attend. Classmates and I would go to the show and several peers were interns for those artists. Even some of my teachers did the show :)

Q: Why did you decide to apply to this show?
A: When I would visit the Baltimore show (now I know it happens to be their biggest show) I was just amazed at all the artists who were so professional! This year I felt confident that our line could stand up to those works. So we applied!

Q: What's the application and jurying process like?
A: They use Juried Art Services, the on-line platform that several grants and large shows use. The requirements are not hard to meet. Three or five photographs, of course all work has to be hand-made by the artist and of the artist's original design. Though the requirements are not difficult, you are competing with artists and crafts people who have been doing the show or in their art career for 30 years or more. Most artists who participate in the show are very established. However, there were several younger artists there too who had incredible work.

Q: What was the atmosphere like and how was it different from other craft shows? Who was there? What could you do?
A: It was less festival and more art gallery opening. Art collectors, store owners, an overall very mature and art/craft educated population. These clients were not interested so much in the "quick" purchase. They mulled over the work and would come back a couple hours later or even the next day. Several asked for products we did not have on hand and were not bothered to have us ship it to them later.

Q: What kind of vendor would do well here or not do well here?
A: That's a hard question! I will say that the visitors are serious buyers in that they do want to know your process, concept, overall vision for the future. They are likely not looking into just purchasing a small thing and forgetting about you, they will remember you next year, probably look for you, and look for your progress!

Q: What should people considering the show know about it?
A: Be prepared to talk! I can't remember the last time I had so many intense conversations about the work. I was lovely to talk about it out loud and get some different feedback and perspectives. Sometimes I felt like I was in school getting critiques from visiting artists!

Trustees of the ACC do walk around, the director of the show did come by and look at our work. So, as a first time participant I did also feel like I was going through a secondary jurying process during the show. Hope we make it in next year!

Q: Where can people find your stuff?
A: Arroyo General Store, Highland Park Undesigned, Los Feliz
Brass Tack, Laguna Beach
TreeHaus, Atwater Village
Pick Me Up Chocolates, Sausalito
Zinc Cafe, DTLA

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