Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tradeshow Award Helps New Artists Launch Their Businesses

The Buyers Market of American Craft tradeshow has granted Merit Awards to six promising artists, to help them sell their work to the nation’s galleries and gift shops.

The winners – including Laura Cardwell of SilverSong Jewelry in Asheville, N.C. – receive assistance with exhibiting their artwork at the tradeshow, coming August 23-25, 2010, to the Baltimore Convention Center.

For newcomers to the wholesale market, the Merit Award can be a career-making prize. The Buyers Market of American Craft is the nation’s largest wholesale show of handmade jewelry, home furnishings and fashion accessories by U.S. and Canadian artists.

Laura Cardwell began creating jewelry as a hobby after the birth of her first child, selling beaded works at music festivals where her husband’s band would play. After her second child was born, the former writer and photographer turned to metalsmithing fulltime. “Art jewelry took my breath away and has yet to give it back,” she explains.

After studying with renowned metalsmith Bill Churlik and mastering the craft, she opened SilverSong Jewelry. Her current work includes fusing, forging, raising and stone setting in Argentium silver, sterling silver, 14kt rose gold and copper. Cardwell’s techniques allow each piece to be its own completely unique work of art.

Cardwell applied for the Merit Award with the goal of marketing her products to professional buyers from museum gift stores, art and craft galleries and home decor boutiques.

“Retailers attend tradeshows looking for new products, but many talented artists lack the resources to exhibit at these shows,” said Christine Kloostra, director of the Buyers Market. The tradeshow is produced by The Rosen Group, a Baltimore-based arts marketing, publishing and advocacy firm. “With this award, beginners make their debut at the Buyers Market, where they can show work directly to professional buyers.”

Merit Award winners receive free business counseling and assistance with their promotions, plus tradeshow exhibit space at a fraction of cost.

The 2010 Merit Award winners of the Buyers Market of American Craft are:

· Melanie Walter of Pine Garden Baskets, Wilmington, N.C.

· Elise Bergeron, jewelry designer, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

· Jenn Bell, enamel artist, Scranton, Pa.

· Christopher Baumann and Stacey Stanhope of Clay Fetish Pottery, Alpharetta, Ga.

· Joshua Hershman, glass artist, Boulder, Colo.

· Laura Cardwell of SilverSong Jewelry, Asheville, N.C.

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