- “Citrus,” by Dorothy McGuinness of Everett, Wash., is a hand-painted paper basket that explores the interplay of weaving, color and pattern.
Craft collectors are always on the lookout for new work, new artists and emerging talent. One of the most consistent sources for finding all of the above is the winners’ list of the NICHE Awards, an annual juried competition begun 22 years ago by AmericanStyle’s sister publication, NICHE magazine, as a way to recognize talent and encourage creativity in all craft mediums.
The 2011 edition of this prestigious event, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia earlier this year, celebrated the creativity of North American craft artists in 38 professional and 13 student categories, from art glass and jewelry to baskets and home furnishings.
A six-member jury, which included craft retailers, arts advocates and art organization executives, chose 179 professional and 67 student finalists out of nearly 1,600 entries submitted. Each work was judged on technical excellence, both in surface design and form; a distinct quality of unique, original and creative thought; and market viability.
What you’ll see here is just a sampling of some of the artists’ winning pieces. A full list of all the winners and finalists, complete with photos of their work, can be found at www.NICHEAwards.com.