Annual A&C Conference: Accumulating, Decorating & Collecting, Part 14

The 26th annual National Arts & Crafts (A&C) Conference at the Grove Park Inn (GPI) in Asheville, NC), February 22-24, afforded opportunities for Accumulators, Decorators, and Collectors alike.

Unlike academic conferences, often not inaccurately stereotyped as events filled by tweedy people, similarly attired in sport coats with leather patches on elbows and, until the Great Enlightenment, puffing on pipes, this quarter century-long event offers more.

There were tweedy people, to be sure. And at least a few wore their leather patches (others sported nicotine patches, given the Enlightenment). Many preferred the now standard all-black attire (hmm, another striking similarity to contemporary academic get-togethers).

(Years and years ago, one of my students referred to fellow student wearers of this monochromatic uniform as “Doomers.” Maybe there’s some confusion with the Goths. And perhaps my sartorial acumen needs the elixir of educational enhancement.)

The Conference features seminars (aka “lectures”), small group discussions on a variety of subjects, though all related to the Arts & Crafts Movement, demonstrations and workshops on various craft subjects. Most are standard stuff for a conference.

But for the acquisitive, there were retail sales opportunities: for contemporary crafts in the Arts & Crafts tradition, for books and magazines (old and current), and for antiques produced during the Arts & Crafts period. Disclosure: I was an exhibitor at the antiques show; and that explains the tardiness of the present posting.

Whether Accumulator or Decorator or Collector, the Conference was nondiscriminatory and glittered gold with acquisition flings.

One could stock up on knowledge. Not exactly the kind of empirical evidence usually associated with the present column’s Troika. But well worth acquiring.

Or “stuff.” See my 12.4.12 entry on this term.

We are grateful for inclusion and mention in the Conference program (p. 28) of the Frans Wildenhain 1950-75 book (

Conference Director Bruce Johnson noted that Conference registration was down slightly while attendance at the contemporary and antique shows was up.

This may suggest something about the economy and, more importantly, how people appear to be weathering and accommodating the current economic climate.

For me, it offers several interesting case studies in Collecting and Decorating. Stay tuned. More to follow.

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