For collectors and buyers who dare to wear works of art, the lines between clothing and accessories and alluring paintings and sculptures are blurred. The human form becomes a canvas that individuals can adorn in wearable creations and designs.
From brightly colored baby blankets to jewelry made from recycled newsprint, this year’s Craft2Wear Sale and Benefit features more than 60 leading jewelry, leather and wearable artisans from across the country.
The Smithsonian’s Craft2Wear Show will be held at the National Building Museum in Washington DC October 20-22, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., transforming the building into a one-stop-shop for the best in contemporary American wearable craft and design. A preview benefit takes place October 20 from 6-9 p.m., giving attendees early access to shop for many of this year’s featured crafting merchandise.
This year’s show will honor the late Judy Lynn Prince, a member of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, who founded the Craft2Wear Show. The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center at the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman will partner with the Smithsonian Women’s Committee for Craft2Wear 2022 and the exhibit includes various Omani fashion and jewelry items.
Meet some of this year’s exhibitors:
Yoshiko Komatsu is a Japanese artist and designer who is about to exhibit clothes from her collection at Craft2Wear. The collection uses antique Japanese kimono fabrics and connects the past with the present, bringing materials to life through contemporary design.
Each unique piece focuses on an Origami concept, using the natural drape and patterns of the fabric to complement the female form while allowing for both formal and casual wear. In order not to waste these rare fabrics, Komatsu uses leftover materials for quilting, quilting, weaving and knitting.
“Reusing antique silk fabrics is environmentally friendly and sustainable”, Komatsu said. “The lifespan of the finest silk fabrics can reach several hundred years.”
Nanibaa Beck is a second generation Diné, or Navajo, jeweler from Studio Becka multi-generational jewelry studio.
At 13, Beck became an assistant to his father, Victor Beck, Sr., and learned the fundamental skills of goldsmithing from him as well as from his mother, Eleanor Beck, who worked as a professional jewelry maker. Nanibaa Beck’s connection to the jewelry making process inspired her to develop a deeper understanding of the intricacies of Native American art.
“I believe that through my hands, I instill the cultural knowledge of being Diné (Navajo)”, Beck said. “My style is personal and characteristic of my culture, but also very revealing of me, as an individual, of my culture.”
Alicia Appleton is a corporate fashion designer and the founder of Amber Poitier Inc., a leather accessories company founded in 2015 in New York. Appleton strives to empower women through its jewelry and fashion accessories.
The architectural lines and organic forms of his creations are inspired by his life in New York as well as by his Caribbean heritage.
“My paternal grandfather was a farmer, who taught me to respect nature and my maternal grandfather was an architect”, Appleton said. “The influence of their passion is the foundation of my art.”
Holly Anne Mitchell
Holly Anne Mitchell is an eco-friendly artist who will showcase jewelry made from recycled newspapers at the event. Mitchell started exploring newspapers as an artistic medium while taking a metallurgy course at the University of Michigan in 1990. She was given a mission to create a piece of jewelry out of non-traditional materials, and she chose newspaper.
Since then, she has continued to push the boundaries of newspaper color, text and content, using the various fonts from major newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to create rich textural patterns.
“I strive to bring out these aesthetic assets to create jewelry that is just as attractive on the body as off it,” Mitchell said. “I truly believe that the ordinary (like the newspaper) can be extraordinary.”
Bumbershoots by Nana
Bumbershoots by Nana, a company that makes handmade wearable art for infants and toddlers, will be showcasing clothes at Craft2Wear. Founded by artist Judith Carr, Bumbershoots by Nana seeks to create high-quality, parent-friendly and functional sleeping bags.
Known as the “Bumbers”, Carr designed wearable blankets to focus on child development and safety while combining various colors and textures to produce a visually captivating experience.
“The daughter of an extremely talented tailor, I learned to sew at an early age – designing and sewing hundreds of costumes to pay for ballet”, Carr said. “After a long career as a business leader, the birth of my grandson has come full circle for me.”
Proceeds from the spring and fall Smithsonian Craft Show Craft2Wear, produced by Smithsonian Women’s Committee volunteers, support annual grants to Smithsonian researchers, educators and other scholars. Since 1966, the group has awarded more than $13 million in grants and endowments. Craft2Wear 2022 exhibitors can be viewed in advance of the event from October 20 to 22. Tickets are available now.