Smithsonian Craft Optimism Opens April 24


Beginning this Saturday, April 24, the Smithsonian Women’s Committee will present Smithsonian Craft Optimism, a curated, climate-conscious makers’ market. The online show and sale will be open through May 1.

Accessible at craftoptimism.si.edu, the online marketplace will feature beautifully made, handcrafted American goods, chosen because they educate the public about climate change or inspire or model a sustainable response to climate change. The proceeds will fund grants to foster education, outreach and research programs throughout the Smithsonian Institution.

One of the 100 artists in the show is Gustav Reyes of Chicago. Striving to create art with love, Reyes “understands this love is not a possession but a gift that must be shared.” He gives back that love through making art by reshaping one of the universe’s gifts: trees. Reyes uses salvaged material — whether it’s a piece of concrete or wood from a musical instrument, a piece of furniture or a family heirloom — to create pieces that pay respect to history.

David Royce and Michael Boyd Royce, who hail from Minneapolis, create their art using 100-percent post-consumer recycled glass and their own internal recycling systems. The two, dubbing themselves “Bicycle Glass,” are looking to make artisan glasswork without the environmental impact. They take pride in sharing that their work offsets as much waste as possible, including in its packaging.

Another artist worth highlighting is Seema Sudan, from New York’s Catskill Mountains. Her incredibly soft pieces feel like plant-based cashmere. They’re made to order in studio on a computerized knitting machine, using little waste, then washed in biodegradable soap with a minimum of water and hand-finished in the rural atmosphere of the Catskills.

“I’m looking forward to having the artists who have found creative ways to use repurposed materials — or who have developed sustainable practices — be celebrated in Craft Optimism,” said Twig Murray, co-chair of this year’s show. “They are masters of their art and champions for the environment.”

Courtesy Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

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