ACC Baltimore: Awards of Excellence

ACC Baltimore: Awards of Excellence

Published on Saturday, February 25, 2012.

Jurors rewarded artists who specialize in meticulousness at the 2012 American Craft Council show in Baltimore. Four artists won awards of excellence (along with $500 cash prizes and automatic entrance into next year’s show) for their work; two won for booth design.

In a show that includes almost 350 jewelry makers working in metal, Reiko Ishiyama stood out to the judges for the consistency of her minimalist work. “The whole body of her work is strong,” said juror Oscar P. Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald praised the “technical virtuosity” of ceramist Mariko Swisher, whose vessels blend traditional Asian decorative patterning with unexpected carving.

Juror Judy Weisman hailed the “sassy forms” of Denise Nielsen and George Worthington, who carve shoes, teapots, and purses out of fine woods. “The trompe l’oeil is amazing,” said Fitzgerald.

Juror Helen Drutt English said she was impressed with the vivid wall sculpture of Jiyoung Chung, with its “planes and added dimensions.” Fitzgerald said at first glance, Chung’s material appears to be cloth. But on closer inspection, the viewer sees that it’s beautiful, handmade paper.

Juanita Girardin, a clothing designer and maker, won for the design of her booth. Judges praised her “pure aesthetic” and “attention to detail.” Philip Weber, who makes small boxes out of wood, also won for booth design. Weisman cited the clean, homey mood of his booth; “you didn’t overdo the lighting,” she said. Fitzgerald stressed that strong booth design and strong work generally go together. “The best work usually has the best booth,” he said.

Drutt English is a internationally known craft scholar, dealer, and collector. Fitzgerald is also an avid collector, primarily of furniture, with advanced degrees in decorative arts history. Weisman is an interior decorator who specializes in creating environments for art and craft collections; she is also acquisitions chair for the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. 


We're pulling together a video recap of the awards with extended commentary from the jurors. Check back next week to watch.