ACC Show and Synergy Wrapup

There were over 700 artist vendors participating in the ACC Show at the Baltimore Convention Center a couple of weeks ago. Since we were a little pressed for time because we were meeting friends for dinner, we walked the show in an hour and fifteen minutes. There were so many beautiful art pieces that caught my eye but I could only stop and savor a few.


Carol Owen creates “Spirit Houses” from all sorts of ephemera and mixed media. “My Spirit Houses are shrines to family memories. They make sacred those shards of the past that have made us what we are.” I found myself so drawn to these little shrines, wanting to open the doors and peer inside. In our dreams, the house can be a symbol for ourselves and each room a different aspect of who we are. So, I think I loved her work so much because it reminded me of my dreams. I love this quote from her website:

“Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house, a world, and beyond its world, a heaven. Know then that a world exists for you.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Karen Smith creates jewelry combining fiber, stones and metal. I found myself very drawn to her work because it reminded me of ancient tribal pieces. It spoke to something very deep within as I gazed upon the rich weavings encasing gorgeous stones. I was so disappointed to see that she doesn’t have a website or a blog because I wanted to read more about her work. I am so intrigued by the idea of incorporating fiber into jewelry pieces.


Kimberly Willcox makes the most amazing sculptures, as described on her business postcard “A Contemporary Spin on Primitive Form”. She shares with us: “My goal is to create a unique art form that shares a seamless integration between the world and the human spirit.”

I think that she accomplishes her goal quite wonderfully. Her sculptures seems to incorporate all sorts of materials including but not limited to wood and metal. I wonder what she uses to sculpt her faces.

To see the work of more ACC artists, you can read my friend, Amy’s, account here.

So, that concludes my account of all of my experiences at the 2008 Synergy Conference.

A huge thank you to all of the fabulous artists who worked so hard to make this event come true!

More on my Synergy Experience

I love photography and taking photos. I used to drive my kids crazy with having my camera at the ready for every little wonderful moment of their lives. Of course, now that they’re adults, they enjoy looking through the bulging photo albums at their younger selves. So, very surprisingly, I didn’t take any pictures at Synergy except for the photo of the sunrise on the first morning. That’s how very absorbed I was in the whole experience. My camera sat in my backpack the whole time.

I was delighted and honored today to see my blog mentioned on Cynthia Tinapple’s fabulous Polymer Clay Daily. Cynthia was the keynote speaker at the Gala banquet last Saturday night. I’m sorry to say that I was so tired that I missed the banquet. I heard it was a lot of fun. So, I was excited to see that Cynthia has generously provided her slide presentation here.

There were 3 guest lecturers, one for each day of the conference. Day One focused on Craftsmanship and Kathleen Dustin presented “The Early Development of Polymer Clay in Bead Making”. I believe that Kathleen mentioned giving this presentation in Istanbul, Turkey when she attended the International Bead and Beadwork Conference there. I first had the pleasure of meeting Kathleen at the Crafts at the Castle show in Boston last December. Her work blew me away and I was so excited to see it finally in person after drooling over photos in many polymer clay books over the years. What stayed with me after meeting her was how very down to earth she is and I just wanted to sit down with her, have a cup of tea and chat. One of the things I found most fascinating about Kathleen’s presentation of the early years in polymer clay was how artists in different states started creating canework jewelry almost simultaneously. I enjoyed listening to how it all started. It seemed the universe was ready for the springtime of our medium and it burst into bloom.

Day Two was about Business and the guest lecturer was none other than our craft tv hero, Carol Duvall. Carol is so sweet and humble that her presentation felt like you were sitting at her kitchen table with her chatting over a piece of coffecake. She shared with us her story of how many years ago on a whim, she went down to the local station for an audition and, as they say, the rest is history. From a 2 minute and 40 second spot talking about crafts before the local news to the host of her own show on HGTV, Carol has inspired us and introduced a lot of us to the medium of polymer clay. She is a lovely lady and I was honored to hear her speak in person.

Day Three was about Design and the guest speaker was Jo Lauria, one of the contributing writers of Craft in America, described as a journey to the artist, origins and techniques of American Craft. I ended up going to the ACC show instead of attending this talk. After sitting for 2 and a half days, I really needed to stretch my legs and move around.

The ACC show was downstairs at the Convention Center, with over 700 artists participating in the largest indoor juried craft show in the nation. I found it to be a sea of colors, textures and forms which left me breathless with wonder. We moved through the aisles, stopping at booths that caught our eye. I found myself attracted the most to whimsical sculpture and, for some unknown reason, lamps. I think I was being drawn to the light. We left the show with glazed eyes and great respect and awe for the amazing artists there.

More tomorrow on the panel discussions…