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Local artists exhibit in nation’s largest juried indoor craft show


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Photo by Wanda Jackson. Pat Roberts of Designs for Living, Inc., a fine contemporary lighting and clock company, in Brentwood.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Pat Roberts of Designs for Living, Inc., a fine contemporary lighting and clock company, in Brentwood.

Published on: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

Demonstrating their ability to stand out, two local artisans battled through a rigorous jury process to exhibit their unique creations in the 37th Annual American Craft Council Show.

This year’s show, held Feb. 22-24 at the Baltimore Convention Center, featured “hundreds of the finest contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture and home decor artists.”

The show is the largest juried indoor craft show in the nation.

At his booth, Pat Roberts displayed “fine contemporary lighting and clocks” manufactured and sold through his 35-year-old, family-owned business, Designs for Living, Inc., located in a warehouse in the Brentwood arts district.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Giselle Kolb of Giselle Kolb Jewelry Design in Laurel.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Giselle Kolb of Giselle Kolb Jewelry Design in Laurel.

Roberts got the idea for his business while he was a student studying physics at the University of Maryland.

“I started doing lighting for an old house I purchased, then decided I just might do this (for a living) — 35 years later, here we are,” he said.

Roberts never sketches his products.

“I just conceptualize,” he said. “Like working with sculpture, you tweak here and there until it turns out the way you want it. … I can never do that from a drawing. It locks me in too much.”

Most of Roberts’ clients are in the Washington, D.C., metro area. However, his products sell well in “Wisconsin and Minnesota where the Scandinavian style is popular and in New England where there’s a real appreciation of wood.”

Roberts said that his company “has more business than it can handle” and attributes many of his sales to significant contacts he has made through the craft show. This is his third year at ACC.

In her booth, Giselle Kolb, of Laurel, stood front and center to market her business, GiselleKolb Jewelry Design.

Kolb’s signature style features three elements: botanic images, color and a unique material.

On her website, Kolb summarizes that she “uses flowers as symbols of appreciation, as offerings, and as tributes.” Inspired by the idea that natural beauty exists to be contemplated, she creates “delicate pieces in oxidized silver and enamel, with pearls, diamonds and 18K gold leaves.”

Kolb said that her client is “typically a woman, over 30,” although her clientele is getting younger.

Kolb creates all of her jewelry in a home studio and markets her work through local venues.

“I have small children, so I don’t do out-of-town shows,” she said. “I love being a part of the local scene.”

This was Kolb’s fifth year exhibiting at the American Craft Council Show.

The American Craft Council, based in Minneapolis, is a national nonprofit public educational organization founded in 1943. The council actively promotes the understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft through its bimonthly magazine, American Craft, annual juried shows presenting artists and their work, leadership conferences, awards for excellence, research library, workshops and seminars.

Members of the council include artists, institutions and individuals with an interest in the crafts, such as teachers, scholars, collectors, gallery owners, and professionals in many fields, in the U.S. and abroad.  

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