Ohio Craft Museum: Normalcy returns for fall, holiday seasons

Alan Froman (afroman@thisweeknews.com)
Ohio Craft Museum gallery assistant Royce Hilderbrand works on a display of pepper grinders on sale Sept. 30 at the museum, 1665 W. Fifth Ave. After months of closure and limited access, the museum fully reopened Oct. 5.

The Ohio Craft Museum has returned to normal hours after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced its closure in March and a limited reopening in July.

"We've had to do a lot more online because of the pandemic," said Kim Nagorski, communications coordinator for Ohio Designer Craftsmen, which operates the museum.

"One of the things we've kept up and we'll continue to do is have a featured weekly artist on our website," she said. "We'll send out notification emails to the people on our email list about a different artist whose work is offered in our gift shop."

It has been a way to keep the art and craft work that the museum displays in exhibitions and sells in its gift shop visible to the public, even when the museum's building at 1665 W. Fifth Ave. in Columbus was closed, Nagorski said.

These pepper grinders were created by Piggys Woodworks and for sale at the Ohio Craft Museum.

The museum was reopened full time Oct. 5, making it easier for people to experience artists' work, she said.

"The best way to really appreciate the craft work is by seeing it up close and personal," Nagorski said.

Visitors to the museum are required to wear masks, she said. 

The museum's regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 4 p.m. weekends.

The Fall Harvest Market exhibition, which runs through Oct. 31, features the work of more than 100 fine-craft artists.

"It's sort of a preview of our Gifts of the Craftsmen holiday sale, which opens Nov. 2," Nagorski said. "All of the artists in the Fall Harvest Market also will be part of the holiday exhibition."

Another two dozen or so artists will be added to the holiday event, she said.

"We've basically moved our gift shop out into the main gallery area," Nagorski said. "It's a chance for people to see some wonderful craft work and get an early start on their holiday shopping."

Both the fall market and the holiday exhibition will feature a variety of handmade work, including jewelry, pottery, art glass and woodwork.

"The only things we won't have on display until Gifts of the Craftsmen are Christmas trees and ornaments, and we'll have a whole lot of beautiful ornaments on display beginning Nov. 2," Nagorski said.

Every piece on display in both exhibitions is available for purchase.

"We have everything from holiday cards for $4 to exquisite fine art selling for $200," Nagorski said. "There's a gift for every price range and taste."

Artists are invited to participate in the Gifts of the Craftsmen exhibition, Nagorski said.

Powell artist Carol Wallenfelsz is participating in Gifts of the Craftsmen for the second year.

Wallenfelsz uses alcohol ink to create pendants on dominoes and decorative greeting cards.

"I'll use the alcohol ink to create a decorative background over which I draw an image using an acrylic-paint pen," she said.

Alcohol ink is higher quality than water-based ink, Wallenfelsz said.

"It has the qualities of watercolor, so the colors spread across the surface," she said. 

She also enjoys creating the greeting cards, Wallenfelsz said.

"It's a bigger 'canvas,' so I can add more detail to the drawings I make," she said. "If I draw a dancer, I can really be more precise and detailed in the image than working on a small surface like a domino."

Due to the pandemic, the museum will not hold opening receptions for the exhibitions, Nagorski said.

The museum also has had to change the format of the workshops and classes it offers for children, teens and adults, education coordinator Phyllis Walla-Catania.

The Art Boxes To-Go program for children provides all the supplies youngsters need to create art projects at home while accessing instructional videos led by artists, she said.

The museum will offer the second of its virtual workshops for teens and adults from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 16.

Columbus artist Judi Young will lead a creative-collage class.

"People can sign up for the class and come to the museum to pick up all the materials they need," Walla-Catania said. "Judi will lead a virtual Zoom class on Oct. 16, during which she can interact with the participants."

A virtual needle-felting class was held Sept. 10 and 17.

"A side benefit of the virtual classes is that it can open the experience up to people who maybe wouldn't find it convenient to come to the museum for an in-person class," Walla-Catania said. "We had three people from Cleveland who were able to participate in the felting class from their homes."

Museum parking and admission are free.

For more information about the Ohio Craft Museum and its educational workshops, go to ohiocraft.org.

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