Final Conference Report

It’s almost hard to know where to start.

Like the two wings on the historic Grove Park Inn, the National Arts and Crafts Conference has always had two major components:  the educational elements and the selling shows. And the two components are joined together, like the hotel’s two wings, by the historic 1913 Main Inn (below). Ever since I hosted the first Arts and Crafts Conference in 1988, I have always maintained a steadfast belief that each component fosters and supports the other.

The seminars, demonstrations, tours and discussion groups educate the attendees, who then walk into the afternoon shows with a better understanding of what they are seeing. The shows give attendees the opportunity to actually see and touch examples of furniture, art pottery, metalware and more, that a few hours earlier they had seen projected onto the three enormous Heritage Ballroom screens.

Some years the seminars seem better than the shows; occasionally the shows out shine the seminars.

But this year – our 30th – both the educational components and the afternoon shows soared far beyond everyone’s expectations.

Every speaker, discussion leader, antiques dealer and contemporary artisan brought their best research, their most intriguing questions, their favored antiques, and their finest work for the benefit of the more than 1000 conference attendees and nearly 2000 show attendees.

And as gratifying as it was to see so many longtime friends and loyal supporters, when on Sunday morning I asked everyone in the Heritage Ballroom who were at the conference for either the first or second time to stand, nearly half the room rose to a thunderous applause.

Proof that while attendance at typical antiques shows and traditional museum exhibitions may be dropping, when we combine both of those components in one historic setting with modern convention facilities, there is no question that the Arts and Crafts Revival is alive, well, thriving and growing.

And I intend to make sure that every National Arts and Crafts Conference stays totally in touch with what you and every Arts and Crafts enthusiast want to see, hear and learn, so please email me your suggestions.

And don’t delay, as Jan and I start working on the February 16-18, 2018 conference this week !

Until next Monday,

It’s not a style, it’s a lifestyle.


PS – Go to our Facebook page to see the video Alex shot during the conference.

PS – And check out this link and video posted by Phil Chasen, one of our exhibitors.