The word “craft” has waxed and waned in popularity amongst artists, but lately the word keeps popping up when discussing all types of small batch and handcrafted wine, beer, and liquor. This year the ACC Craft show has expanded its offerings, as well as its definition of craft, with “Inspiration Stations,” where patrons can gain hands on experience with all types of crafting – including artisanal whiskey, beer brewing, and fine art paper cutting.

David Laird of Balvenie, crafters of handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, Jon Zerivitz of Union Brewing, craft beer brewers from Baltimore, and Annie Howe of Bmore Papercuts, a fine art business, all agreed to tell me more about what they do. Even though their process couldn’t be more different, it’s interesting to note the similarities between their work habits and attitudes about making a handmade product.

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Interview with David Laird, of Belvenie Scotch Whisky

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David Laird, Balvenie

 

BmoreArt: Can you tell me a little about your work and how it ties into the ACC craft show?

 

David Laird: My job as The Balvenie brand ambassador involves educating people on whisky but also on the craft of making whisky. We are very proud to be the only single malt distillery in Scotland who still maintain the 5 rare crafts of making whisky. We grow our own barley, we have traditional floor malting, a coppersmith to maintain the stills and a cooperage to look after important casks. We also have David Stewart our malt master who has been at The Balvenie for over 52 yrs. We are very passionate about keeping alive the traditional craft of making whisky, and we thought if we are taking the time and effort to maintain these crafts then maybe other people are also keeping alive crafts all over the US. By partnering with the ACC we are able to connect with and support these talented local craftspeople.

 

BmoreArt: Although the ACC Craft Show has been an established craft fair for many years, Inspiration Stations are a new addition to the program. It seems much more informal and participatory than other types of ACC programs. Why did you want to participate in this program? How does your work bring a new or fresh perspective to the show?

 

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David Laird: Like Scotch whisky, many crafts can be a little daunting to understand. By seeing firsthand craftsmanship at work and having the opportunity to get a more in-depth perspective and journey, the experience can be much more educational and inspirational. This is something we highly value at The Balvenie. When guests visit our distillery they really understand the craft of whisky making that we are preserving and the people involved. Let’s Make is a great way to bring the distillery to life and engage with consumers via educational tastings and tutorials throughout the show.

 

BmoreArt: What is your definition of “Craft”? It seems the term is constantly changing, becoming more and less popular, and now is reinventing itself and having a surge in positive growth. How do you approach the term in relation to your work?

 

David Laird: Craft for me means taking the long road, not rushing to the finish line. Instead, using traditional methods and skills to produce something of quality, unique and interesting, that shows the personality of the craft person who made it.

 

Also, as much as we love to celebrate craft we must also protect it. It seems that these days the word craft is attached to every product produced which diminishes the true act of craftsmanship.

More info at the Balvenie Website.

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Interview with Jon Zerivitz of Union Brewing

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BmoreArt: Can you tell me a little about your beer and how it ties into the ACC craft show?

 

Jon Zerivitz: My two partners and I came together through a mutual love of craft beer, the art of brewing and the communal & celebratory nature of imbibing. Brewing is a craft. Its the crossroads of art & science. We can draw from a huge palette of ingredients to produce an equally vast array of flavors and styles, same as any artistan or craftsmen.

 

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Jon Zerivitz, Adam Benesch, Kevin Blodger of Union Brewing

 

BmoreArt: The ACC Craft Show has been an established craft fair for many years, and brings in a huge following. Why did you want to participate in this program? How does your work bring a new or fresh perspective to the show?

 

Jon Zerivitz: We wanted to participate in the Let’s Make-Inspiration Station to have an opportunity to understand the craft of brewing as more than just suds in a glass. Beer is ubiqutious and often a beverage that is taken for granted. Craft brewing is exploding all over the world right now because people are educating themselves on where their food come from, the people that are making it, and how it’s made. I think people come to the ACC show to gain the same perspective from the vendors: to meet them and hear the stories behind the pieces.

 

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BmoreArt: What is your definition of “Craft” ? It seems the term is constantly changing, becoming more and less popular, and now is reinventing itself and having a surge in positive growth. How do you approach the term in relation to your work?

 

Jon Zerivitz: The Brewers Association defines “Craft” as is applies to craft brewers as “small”, “independent” & “traditional”, but to me “craft” can be anything produced with a certain level of thoughtfulness and passion. I need to care about my product as much or more than I want you to care about it. I need to care about every step of the process. From the grain to the glass. Scale doesn’t matter to me as long as the care and passion are obvious in the finished product.

 

Website: www.unioncraftbrewing.com

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Interview with Annie Howe from Bmore Papercuts

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Annie Howe of Bmore Papercuts

 

BmoreArt: Can you tell me a little about your work and how it ties into the ACC craft show?

 

Annie Howe: I create original paper cuts using a simple knife, folded paper, and lots of blades. I create paper cuts for private collections, illustrations, and businesses. I love to use paper to tell stories. I began papercuttting because I worked for many years making shadow puppets for Nana Projects here in Baltimore. I spent years telling stories with silhouettes. It was a natural transition into paper cutting from there.

 

My work ties into the ACC because it is a traditional craft. ACC celebrates and highlights craftsmen and artisans working at the top of their field. I am honored to be part of the ACC and share my work with the audience at the show. Paper cutting has a long and rich history across cultures and is still thriving today.

 

BmoreArt: The ACC Craft Show has been an established craft fair for many years, and brings in a huge following. Why did you want to participate in this program? How does your work bring a new or fresh perspective to the show?

 

Annie Howe: I am excited to participate in the program because I find Baltimore audiences to be so enthusiastic, curious, and appreciative of craft. People ask me all the time how I do my work and I am looking forward to the audience to get to try it.

 

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Whenever I teach paper cutting, class attendees always leave with an even greater appreciation of how difficult paper cutting is and how much skill it takes. I am also thrilled to be collaborating with a fellow paper cutter – Janelle Washington of Washington Cuts. She is based out of Alexandria,VA. Our work is totally different and I love the idea that we will be showcasing just how different and varied paper cutting can be and how using different line work, techniques and imagery you can tell totally different stories.

 

BmoreArt: What is your definition of “Craft” ? It seems the term is constantly changing, becoming more and less popular, and now is reinventing itself and having a surge in positive growth. How do you approach the term in relation to your work?

 

Annie Howe: I think craft can mean so many different things to everyone- that is why it can be a little tricky to define it. For some it can have limiting connotations, but for others it is the highest title you can have. For me, I tend to stick with describing myself as an artist. That word is understood by most people and seems to be timeless.

 

Links: 50 States of Style 
Website: www.bmorepapercuts.com
instagram- @bmorepapercuts

 

Other Inspiration Stations at the ACC this year:

Visit the “Make Your Mark” inspiration station and try your hand at the art of paper cutting. Experience different techniques inspired by Annie Howe of Bmore Papercuts in Baltimore and Janelle Washington from (WashingtonCuts) in Alexandria. Learn how paper cutting artists use simple tools, like small blades and scissors, to create complex and intricate images from paper.

Art Glass Center at Glen Echo
Artists from the Art Glass Center explain how glass is transformed in a kiln with temperature and time. Join in the discussion and handle samples of glasswork made with various techniques in a variety of styles.

Baltimore Area Turners
Accomplished woodturners will be making functional and artistic items out of ordinary wood, demonstrating their technique and process from start to finish.

Bowerbox Press
Experience the power of the printed word. Using a traditional letterpress and wooden type, you can add your voice to an ongoing poem started by Val Lucas of Bowerbox Press.

Sebastian Martorana
Using many of the same tools as Renaissance masters, Sebastian Martorana carries on the traditions of marble hand-carving. Join this present-day master in this centuries-old art.

Station North Tool Library
What’s the Station North Tool Library? Think of your neighborhood lending library, only with tools. Learn about their wide array of classes and check out a selection of tools – everything from simple hammers to portable table saws and palm sanders. If you’re feeling daring, pick one up and give it a try.

Towson University Metalsmithing and Jewelry 
Towson University Metalsmithing + Jewelry program, in conjunction with the university’s Interdisciplinary Object Design program, presents a variety of processes in traditional and experimental metalsmithing and jewelry techniques, as well as digital technologies. Attendees can help develop the creative content for a thematic multimedia project.

Mark Melonas of Luke Works
Mark Melonas is an artist, designer, and craftsman with experience in many materials and a unique interest in concrete. With his team of skilled artisans at Luke Works, Melonas designs and creates one-of-a-kind furniture in wood, concrete, and metal. Get your hands dirty as Melonas demonstrates how to make functional objects out of concrete.

MAKE TRIBE
MAKE TRIBE is a series of community-driven craft workshops and skill-share suppers, produced in partner-ship with a variety of Baltimore businesses and artisans. Each day, MAKE TRIBE invites a different local maker to their show booth to demonstrate how their products are made and to share their skills.

Union Craft Brewing 
The Union Craft Brewery makes award-winning ales and lagers. Stop by for a taste of what’s brewing right in the heart of Baltimore.

Baltimore Clayworks
Join Baltimore Clayworks as they host a free interactive workshop for ACC goers! In this hands-on experience participants will donate time and creativity to craft unique cups, mugs and tumblers that will be donated to support Community Arts programming at Baltimore Clayworks. Make cups, make friends, make a difference!

Weaver’s Guild of Greater Baltimore
Dedicated to the exploration of the fiber arts, The Weaver’s Guild of Greater Baltimore joins with the ACC to host a ‘Spinning Bloom of Looms.’ We kindly extend our invitation to you to sit at the loom for a while and by ‘throwing the shuttle,’ add your own signature to a weaving-in-progress. Sit and weave or you can also felt a woolen pin to wear home.

See more at the ACC Craft Show website.