It’s the grand finale for the Contemporary Crafts Market, which has brought acclaimed artisans and art lovers together for the past 34 years. Roy Helms, CEO and Founder, was inspired to create the Market when he discovered there was a need for American-made, handcrafted products in Los Angeles—and nowhere to buy them. Now after more than three decades, he is retiring.
After a successful initial run at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, the Market was later moved to the Pasadena Convention Center, which has remained its home ever since. More than 200 exhibitors will showcase their handcrafted works of functional, decorative and wearable art that range from ceramics and hand-loomed rugs to jewelry, textiles, and more at the event on November 1-3. Among those artisans is Kit Carson, a renowned sculptor and jewelry maker, whose work has been collected by Elton John, George Clooney, Robin Williams, and others.
“I’ve done the show for 10 years and they are the best I’ve dealt with in the 35 years that I’ve been doing shows,” said Carson. “They keep the quality high and are personable. I will miss this venue and the camaraderie of the artists. This last show is going to be very emotional as it’s my last show with them—it’s bittersweet.”
Suzye Ogawa is a metalsmith who combines traditional lost wax cast bronze and silver with traditional basketry materials and techniques in small basket vessels and sculptures. She remembered the Market as the first show that invited her to exhibit her work more than 30 years ago.
“I approach this last show with sadness and gratitude,” Ogawa said. “Craft show artists are a unique and vibrant group who over the years have become family. We share a rare friendship and camaraderie, and at each show I’m in awe and inspired by everyone’s work. We have witnessed the progression of each other’s work over the years. This show is special because the leadership has been wonderful. CEO and founder Roy Helms, Managing Director Chris Andrews and their staff have created an environment that supports and celebrates handcrafted art works in every craft medium.”
Another artisan who has participated in the Market since the ‘80s is Elaine Hyde, an internationally-known glass artist who specializes in objects made from blown glass and precious metals. Over the years, she has attained a reputation for her exquisite perfume bottles and signature silver luster glassware.
“I knew Roy back when he worked for the American Craft Council,” Hyde said. “I will miss the close group of artists that make up this show. I’ve made many friends over many years. It’s bittersweet because everyone deserves a chance to retire, although as an artist I have no plans to do so. I will continue to make objects as long as I can.”
The Contemporary Crafts Market has partnered with Go Metro and Giessinger Winery this year. Show attendees who present a TAP ticket at the door will received a discount on admission.
“People travel from all over the country to come to the Contemporary Crafts Market,” said Liz Anderson, who organizes the event. “It’s an oasis of fine craft and the reason it’s lasted for 34 years as one of the longest-running fine craft shows is because of the public demand for beauty and handcrafted art. Once you come here, you’ll be a believer too.”
The three-day event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 3. Tickets to the Contemporary Crafts Market cost $8 at the door; children 12 and under are free. For more information, visit craftsource.net.
PHOTO CREDIT: Photos courtesy of individual artists; show floor images courtesy of Liz Anderson