Friday, December 23, 2011

The URJ Biennial

Last week I had a wonderful time at the Union of Reform Judaism Biennial Conference.  I was part of the vendor's in the Exhibition Hall which was open during the conference.  My booth was simple and I sent most of the display materials via Fedex to the hotel a few days before I arrived.  I think that it turned out pretty nice, but I should have invested in some lights.

The event was at the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor, Maryland.  This beautiful Hotel located in a artificial community called National Harbor which is full of shops, restaurants, hotels and residences.  The hotel atrium house a 15 story atrium with a beautiful faux candy glass Christmas tree.  There are overpriced restaurants and shops beneath but a nice place to people watch or grab a snack.

After the first night of the convention I invited to a meeting for the American Guild of Judaic Art .  It was wonderful to finally meet all these people I have admired for the last couple of years.  The Guild provides a support system to the artist involved and also information and inspiration for artists and collectors alike.

Another exciting event at the Biennial was that Pressident Obama came to speak.  The security was high, and to tell you the truth, the sales at the Exhibition Hall that day were pretty dim as most of the attendees were in line starting at 10am.  Still, the president's speech was a highlight.  Although I didn't actually go into the hall to see him speak, I watched it  on a computer hookup with many of the other Exhibitors.

Saturday the Exhibition Hall was closed for Shabbat so I went into Washington DC with a couple of fellow Artists to visit some museums.  First we went to the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian's American craft museum, which featured pieces from the white house collection.   It was wonderful.  Then we visited the Textile museum which had an exhibit of African textiles from the Kuba people who reside in area of the Republic of Congo.  The textures and designs of the weavings were so inspirational.

I met so many great people at the conference.  I have many new customers and I loved to hear their comments about my work.  I also met a lot of  artists.  I want to thank each and everyone of them who were so forthcoming with information and help.  I feel as though I have many new mentors and I am so grateful.

Next to my booth was Claude Riedel, who makes the most beautiful Eternal Lights (Ner Tamids) for Temples and Synagogues.  The lamps are a combination of metal and glass.  He works closely with the temples and their architects to create a Light unique to the space.

Karla Gudeon's hand colored engravings are incredible.   Her artwork is featured in musems and galleries as well as books. There is. nothing else like it.

Speaking of unique, check out Joan Edelstein's scarves.   They are so amazing I had to get one for myself.

Simcha Textiles is the name of Elaine Phillip's work.  Her  handwoven tallit and wraps are are luxurious.  When Elaine and I visited the Textile Museum we were like kindred spirits.

Finally, I want to thank Jim Cohen for all his support before and during the show.  I had never met Jim before, but had bombarded him with questions via email which he gladly answered for me.  Jim is a master metal smith.  His designs are what I can only describe as modern classics. 

I also want to thank my sister in law, Francie Kranzberg for her incredible help during the show.  Francie got me to and from the airport, helped me unpack and pack, and kept me company during most of the show.  Franice knew a lot of the Biennial attendees due to her work at Washington DC's Jewish Federation.  It was a pleasure to have her with me.

Well, I am already excited to attend the URJ Biennial in two years, which will be in San Diego. 

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