The American Craft Council Show encourages everyone to be a collector

“When you buy a piece at the ACC, you buy a piece of the artist. You can meet them—they’re not faceless—you have a connection.”

American Craft Show
Textiles from Peru and Indonesia, silver necklace by ACC artist Lori Meg: Lynn Pollard collection. Narrative pottery plate by ACC artist Shoko Teruyama: Kirsten Stingle collection. Ceramics (buildings, boat) by ACC artists Ed Byers and Holden McCurry, clay figurines by Cassie Butcher, red wood vase by Joel Hunnicutt: Donna and Bob Weidler collection.

Photograph by Jason Lagi

Lynn Pollard is enamored with fine textiles. The walls of her Buckhead home are covered in them. She travels the world seeking traditional textiles—from Peru, India, Indonesia—but as a fiber artist herself, Pollard has made a conscious effort to buy from contemporary makers too.

One place she finds them is at the American Craft Council show, a weekend-long artisan marketplace (March 15–17 at Cobb Galleria Centre) that launched in Atlanta nearly 30 years ago. Since then, Pollard thinks she’s missed the event just once.

According to Pamela Diamond, the marketing director for the American Craft Council, some 60 percent of craft show attendees are these longtime collectors. They may be on a quest for a specific maker, style, or material, or just pure discovery.

“I’m looking for things that are handmade and unique,” says Pollard, who teaches weaving classes at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.

For years, Bob and Donna Weidler, who live in Mableton, have been collecting ceramics by Ed Byers and Holden McCurry, who will have a booth at the ACC show this year. An architect, Bob is drawn to their ceramic towers and chapels. Beyond that, he says, “our interests are more spontaneous.”

Alpharetta sculptor Kirsten Stingle collects unusual ceramics. “When you buy a piece at the ACC, you buy a piece of the artist,” she says. “You can meet them—they’re not faceless—you have a connection.”

The word “collecting” may conjure images of grandpas stashing stamps or something elite and out-of-touch. But Diamond says there’s a revival of celebrating makers and craft. “The next generation wants to know the person who made what they’re buying and how,” she says. It may be time to dust off the term “collector”—Diamond prefers “enthusiast”—or at least the idea of it. No matter what you call it, she says, “the desire to support artists is alive and well.”

This article appears in our Spring 2019 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.