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March 14, 2006

American Craft Council conference

Louisville has the right to brag; after all, we’ve been a category on “Jeopardy!” (A: Kaelin’s Restaurant claims to have invented this meat and dairy dish. Q: What is a cheeseburger?). The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft has given Louisville another reason for its head to swell: The American Craft Council, the premiere craft organization in America, is holding its Southeast regional conference, “Trends and Traditions,” at the museum.

KMAC and the Kentucky Arts Council’s Craft Marketing Program are presenting the conference March 23-25, with 13 workshops on a variety of craft techniques. A number of Louisville artists, including ceramicist Fong Choo and glassblower Brook Forrest White, will be among the workshop demonstrators. Internationally acclaimed textile artist Helena Hernmarck is the conference’s keynote speaker. Her monumental tapestries have brought much acclaim, including her naming as a Fellow of the American Craft Council in 1996.

The attendees will see two exhibitions already on display, the Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists show and “Spotlight 2006.” LAFTA has more than 70 members, with 31 artists’ works exhibited, working in ways that stretch the boundaries of textile art. Tiffany Embry’s “Beaded Anomaly” consists of organic pods made of glass beads with tufts of black hair sticking out. She likes to “create simple forms that when multiplied become more complex,” she explained. “The small tactile forms invite the viewer to look closer and delve deeper.”

Spirituality is a major part in the artwork of both LeAnne McDonald and Melinda Snyder. “Crosses and Crowns” by McDonald is composed of fabric printed with self-portraits by her church youth group positioned between crosses and clouds. While listening to the reports of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Snyder heard a New Orleans musician say, “Play ‘When the Saints Go Marching In,’ because there are a lot of saints marching in today.” That became the inspiration and title of her stitching-on-silk piece of people being lifted toward heaven.

“Spotlight 2006” is the American Craft Council’s juried exhibition from the Southeast region of the United States. Louisville artists included in the show are Devyn Baron, Dave Caudill, Judy Goodwin, Vallorie Henderson, Kevin Andrew Kraus, Laura Ross, Benjamin Erik Smith, Melinda Snyder and Jonathan Swanz. Henderson’s textile “Allotments,” of machine-pierced, stitched wool and silk, resembles architectural elements with its purple, green and rust blocks. This soft work is a good complement to Kraus’, whose architecturally inspired “RAMJAC Department of Urban Renewal” resembles a wooden model for a futuristic building, but with a cabinet attached to the central black core. Is anything missing from the Museum Plaza exhibition?

Contact the museum for information on the ACCSE conference fee and schedule information.