The Philadelphia Museum of Art hosted its annual craft show Nov. 8-11. Made possible by the efforts of both the Women’s Committee and Craft Show Committee groups within the Museum, this was the 36th consecutive year for the show.
Vendors from all over the United States, and even some from overseas, participated in the event.
Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, booths of artists and jewelry-makers stretched as far as the eye could see in every direction. Most of these vendors are experts in a particular medium, specializing, for example,in blown-glass sculptures or hand-painted silk scarves.
I visited the Craft Show on Saturday, so naturally, it was packed. I passed tent after tent of beautifully crafted art and fine jewelry, all of which was just as awesome as it was expensive. This was, honestly, slightly disappointing. In my hometown, craft fairs were generally affordable and always had food and game booths.
No such luck here — the only food I found was in a vending machine by the bathrooms. However, it was fun to peruse the booths; it was like walking through another of the museum’s exhibitions — finely crafted, very cool and very expensive art.
The ability to speak to some of the vendors was also a bonus. Many were more than happy to describe their artistic processes; one artist whose primary medium was handmade paper even had a video of his papermaking techniques.
This artist interaction shed a whole new light on the art that was being sold, which greatly increased my enjoyment of the show. Being able to put a face, and even a personality, to the art is something that is not often possible, and in this situation it was.
Most attendees were solidly middle-aged and above, and many could be heard debating with their spouses about which $15,000 painting they should purchase for their guest bathroom.
I was greatly outnumbered. However, that being said, there was something liberating about knowing the only thing I could do was look and admire.
According to a statement on the Craft Show website, the proceeds from this event, raised primarily through the $15 entrance fee and generous patrons’ donations, are used to support various art purchases and educational programs for the museum.