By Ariel Chrysann
AFRO Intern

An eye for exquisite detail and a clear vision to turn trash into treasure is the only criteria needed for crafters nowadays. The American Craft Show, the largest indoor juried craft show in the country, was held at the Baltimore Convention Center for its 46th year on Feb. 21 -23. The artists showcased a variety of crafts and gadgets including handmade dolls, sculptures, robots and everything in between. This year, a handful of African-American artists, and some from the Baltimore area, exhibited their work in the show.

Kimberly Camp, recipient of the 2020 Award of Excellence, created an array of dolls that have flare and personality. (Photo Ariel C.)

Baltimorean, Darryl Patterson of Darryl Patterson Design Studios, creates unique wooden furniture pieces, cutting boards and serving trays. “I never make more than 20 of anything,” Patterson told the AFRO. On the other hand, jewelry crafter, Alicia Goodwin of Lingua Nigra, loves gold, nature, different textures and the “randomness of the technique.” By blending her loves together, she is able to showcase their beauty in jewelry. Another artist, Randy Lewis, who is the founder and CEO of Five O’Clock Co., and the infamous “beard care guru,” grows his own herbs (100 percent organic) for his cosmetic and personal care products. He hopes to teach kids how to garden.

The most unforgettable pieces of them all were the dolls. Kimberly Camp, founder of Galerie Marie, handcrafted these unique dolls to have their own identities and stories. We’re talking about one-of-a-kind pieces, and according to Camp “…without diversity we don’t have riches of culture in the country.” This was her first time participating in the American Craft Show, and she even took home the 2020 Award of Excellence from the American Craft Council (ACC). “Sometimes you do stuff and you don’t even know people are paying attention,” Camp admitted. She has been creating these pieces since 1982, and has been featured in magazines like Essence, National Geographic and Ebony.

A beaded bison tooth necklace, pearls, ivory and kanekalon hair are only a portion of the materials used to create some of these dolls.(Photo Ariel C.)

The ACC is a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing craft’s impact in contemporary life. Supported by members, donors, and community partners, the organization connects and galvanizes diverse craft communities through its bimonthly magazine American Craft, annual juried craft shows, thought-leadership programming, awards of excellence, a special craft library and archives, and more. For more information, visit craftcouncil.org.