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American Craft Council Show

The Evolution Continues

Predecessor to hip craft shows like Renegade Craft Fair, Bizarre Bazarre, Mission Indie Mart and Thread shows, the American Craft Council has updated and added several categories and programs in recent years to keep things fresh and modern while continuing to educate, support artists, and present a fun shopping event.

The 35th installation of the American Craft Council arrives August 13th at Fort Mason, where 250 artists from around the country will gather to display and sell their crafts.

The American Craft Council sponsored its first craft fairs in the late 60s and early 70s in Northeastern cities like Stowe and Bennington in Vermont, and Rhinebeck, New York, according to Bernadette Boyle, director of marketing and communications for the council.

“Although they began on a modest scale back then, the shows have grown into a model of leadership in the field and a major support system for craft artists bringing their work to the public,” Boyle says.

One highlight of this year’s show is the Etsy Craft Bar, presented by the Museum of Craft in partnership with Etsy Labs. At the craft bar, attendees can create their own flower pins, sew a “hipster robot,” or join the Stitch ‘N Bitch knitting circle while enjoying complimentary wine tastings from California vineyards.

Capacity at the craft bar is limited to 30 spots, so make sure to get there early. KFOG radio DJ Renee Richardson will be emceeing the event and giving out prizes. Please also note that if you purchased a day pass or two-day pass there is no need to pay the $5 admission to get in to the Craft Bar.

New this year to the American Craft Show is the MakeArt Children’s workshop, presented by the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design. On August 14th, from 1pm to 3pm, kids will get the opportunity to make paper flower sculptures and bring their crafts home. Free with admission to the show.

Also new for this year are the Handmade Under $100 and the Lawn & Garden categories. Handmade Under $100 is “perfect for those who are starting collections and want to build up to the higher priced items,” says Boyle. If you are on a budget, be on the lookout for booths bearing “Under $100” signs, or check under this category in the show directory. Items include jewelry, glassware, ceramics, purses, clothing, and other wearable accessories.

The Lawn & Garden category will feature outdoor and lawn-specific furniture and décor crafted by artists. Another newish category, GreenCraft, debuted in 2008 and focuses on works that use found objects and eco-friendly materials and processes.

“Over 100 artists fall into this category, including jeweler and metal smith Dennis Ray who uses natural items or impressions, such as leaves, and covers each in copper then finishes with patina or precious metals to create a unique handcrafted piece of art,” Boyle says.

Another show highlight not to be missed is the AltCraft category. Out of nearly 200 applicants, fifteen are chosen by a three-person jury and invited to participate in this portion of the show that focuses on the “alternative craft movement.”

“[This category] signifies those artists who have recently embraced the handmade movement, may not necessarily be that far into their careers, and are used to showing their work at smaller, local craft shows,” says Boyle. “They nurture exactly the kind of entrepreneurial effort, dedication and spirit the Council encourages throughout the field of craft.”

The San Francisco American Craft Council Show is the Craft Council’s longest running show. As expected, the landscape has changed and the show organizers work to keep it relevant and fresh by introducing new programs, categories, and with new up-and-coming artists.