We arrived in Baltimore on the 21st February after a long flight from Edinburgh! Having done a wee bit of research on the city I liked the sound of its industrial past with similarities to Glasgow in terms of their history of shipbuilding. We were staying just off the harbour - one of the highlights of the city!
Before I launch into our 6 days in Baltimore here's a bit about the event and how 20 makers from Scotland got to exhibit at the show...
Craft Scotland is an organisation in Scotland that supports makers and creates opportunities for them in both the UK and abroad. They had been in talks with the American Craft Council for the past 5 years about showcasing another countries work at their largest show in the USA in Baltimore. With over 700 exhibitors and 30+ years of established makers and visitor numbers it was a great venue for 20 new makers to be introduced. Each maker underwent a selection process by a judging panel from both Scotland and the US. Below is the full list of makers -
- Adam Henderson (Jewellery, Glasgow)
- Carla Edwards (Jewellery, Edinburgh)
- Catherine Aitken (Textiles, Edinburgh)
- Eileen Gatt (Jewellery, Black Isle)
- Fiona McIntosh (Textiles, Edinburgh)
- Gilly Langton (Jewellery, Plockton)
- Grainne Morton (Jewellery, Edinburgh)
- Heather McDermott (Jewellery, Skye)
- James Donald (Textiles, Edinburgh)
- Joanne Thompson (Jewellery, Edinburgh)
- Karen Suzuki (Mixed Media, Glasgow)
- Lara Scobie (Ceramics, Edinburgh)
- Lynsey Walters (Textiles, Edinburgh)
- Melanie Muir (Jewellery, Nairn)
- Misun Won (Jewellery, Edinburgh)
- Morag Macpherson (Textiles, Kirkcudbright)
- Myer Halliday (Ceramics, Edinburgh)
- Patricia Shone (Ceramics, Skye)
- Rhona McCallum (Jewellery, Glasgow)
- Ruth Hollywood (Jewellery, Glasgow)
On with the show -
2 days of set-up in a cavernous convention centre and we were ready to go. It was great to slowly watch the exhibitors come in from as far as California with their wares, ready to sell at the show. Our stand was a shell scheme with lots of space to show off our creations, it was a eye-opener looking around the show as most of the other exhibitors use drape as a backdrop. Here are some exhibitors below... One thing that really stood out was the difference in style and design with the American makers, with some really traditional craft on show which I haven't seen since flicking through research books in my art college library.
On to my stand, I primarily showcased my stainless steel range with my Long Fankle chains and Stacking Creel Bangles being the most popular styles. People were drawn to the stories behind my work and I had many a conversation about Scotland...my fall back job is to be a tour guide! I took quite a bit of time to design my stand and I noticed a great interaction with the work.
One of the main highlights of the show was the amount of press we got, I spoke to more than a few visitors who had travelled for the first time just to visit our stand! The reception we got from people was so positive, we couldn't have been received better. The American Craft Council couldn't have done more as well, there were almost daily television promos, some being filmed in front of the Craft Scotland stand but all mentioning that we were there.
After 3 full days of selling and lots of talking we were done - happy, tired, elated and everything else you can think of. As this was my first international show I was anxious to see how my work would be received and I was really happy with how it went. Craft Scotland were instrumental in helping me to make this big step in selling internationally and I am really grateful for their support!
On the last day we explored some of the city and waited to get on our long flight home. Hopefully this is the first of many events and shows in the USA so thank you Baltimore!