American Craft Council Show: Designers’ Rooms Update Styles of Decades Past

Wall clock/sculpture by James Borden

The annual American Craft Council show April 6 – 9 at St. Paul’s River Centre will be, as always, a rich extravaganza of the finest in artist-made jewelry, clothing, furniture, and home décor. This year’s “Make Room” vignettes, rooms created by local designers that incorporate the work of exhibiting artists, demonstrate how to showcase unique pieces into your own space.

In honor of ACC’s 75th anniversary this year, each designer will focus on a decade past for their inspiration.

Neal Kielar, of MidModMen + friends, will represent the 1960s with a wall clock/kinetic sculpture of hand-hewn black walnut made by James Borden of Timeshapes and a cheeky brass fox sculpture made by Mark Fisher of Turtle Clan Art.

Kielar designed a room that incorporates the decade’s vibe without strictly adhering to midcentury-modern style. “It’s a potent aesthetic,” he says, “but not the only point of view that mattered. The 1960s was an explosive time for design in all quarters and continues to influence us today.”

The art objects he chose could be at home anywhere in the world, he says. “We want to capture the supple spirit of personal style in which an individual blends the things they need with the things they love to create a space that’s uniquely theirs.”

Walnut chaise by Scott McGlasson of Woodsport

Victoria Sass, of Prospect Refuge Studio, fell hard for Scott McGlasson’s walnut-figured chaise, which she’ll incorporate into her 1970s-themed room. The unusual shapes of the neutral-toned clay vessels by ceramicist Elizabeth Pechacek are simple, but striking complements.

Sass chose this decade because it combined glamour and natural materials—“two of my great loves,” she says. “This space is channeling the bohemian spirit of California in the ’70s, with a neutral palette and variety of textures—from fur to wood to stone—and plants. Lots of plants.” This room, in particular, could have stepped right off instagram: Light, neutral palettes, with all manner of weaves—from macramé and fringed wall hangings to baskets and chunky knit throws—and loads of greenery are in the process of a burgeoning revival.

Vessel by Elizabeth Pechacek

Ashley Schulzetenberg, of Verynearfuture, a division of Very, Inc., will revive the ’90s using Gordon Browning’s wood-turned spheres and Winthrop Byers’s stoneware.

“I chose textural ceramics and the exaggerated curves of wooden vases because the tactile finishes and natural palette of these objects add a curated warmth to my space’s clean design,” she says.

Wood-turned sphere by Gordon Browning

Mike Smith, of Forage Modern Workshop, partnered with Amy Lagos and Christiana Coop, founders of Hygge & West, to design a 2010-inspired room with striking pottery from Barbara Prodaniuk and Paul Eshelman and a whitewashed cabinet with walnut inlay made by Eliot Stith. These pieces are modern, but the shapes, textures, and colors of are still warm and inviting.

Pottery by Paul Eshelman

This trio chose to represent the ’10s with their room because current design mixes styles and eras, blending vintage and new, they say. That collected look encourages each of us to create our own personal style rather than adhering to trends.

See all four rooms and more than 250 makers and their unique wares this weekend. Thursday event preview party, April 6; show, April 7- 9.









by Chris Lee


Personal Designer

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