The Baltimore Fine Furnishings and Fine Craft Show

The Baltimore Fine Furnishings and Fine Craft Show

by Bob Ortiz

As I write this blog entry I’m wearing a tee shirt that has a drawing of a very large fish, with its mouth open.  It is getting ready to make a meal out of a medium size fish which is getting ready to eat a small fish.  The caption next to the largest fish says, “The world is just.”  Beside the medium size fish it says, “There is some justice in the world.”  And finally the one next to the smallest fish says, “There is no justice in the world.”    If you are an exhibitor at a furniture and craft show, as I was this weekend at the Baltimore Fine Furnishings and Fine Craft Show at the Hippodrome Theatre this past Saturday and Sunday, you can easily come to identify with one of the fish on my tee shirt.  More on which fish I feel like later…

The show, in its second year, put on by Karla Hall who also produces shows in Providence and Milwaukee, featured exquisite hand made furniture and home accessories from approximately 30 Maryland, New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania and east coast artists.  The setting meandered through the Merrick, France Arts Center at the Hippodrome Theatre.  One of a kind furniture pieces, traditional reproductions and whimsically painted pieces showcased the diversity of contemporary studio furniture making created in America today. 

I thought I would try something different this year so rather than showing my own furniture (www.ortizstudios.com ; facebook: Robert Ortiz Studios) I thought I’d invite several of my artist friends to exhibit their work with mine in an attempt to create a more homelike setting.  We were Rob Glebe, metal; Alice Pickett-Lewis fiber and Manick Burton, ceramics.  Two of the awards presented at the show went to Rob – First Place Home Accessories and Alice for Best Body of Work.  Needless to say, I am proud to have invited them to the show and thankful that Karla Little, the show’s director, was willing to let me bring them along.    My present studio is in Historic Chestertown, but I spent my first 10 years making furniture in Baltimore.   I sent invitations to the show to about 40 area clients and friends and many of them came to visit, say hello and see the show.  Every one of them was surprised by the low turn out and hoped that the show would return next year.  Most importantly, for me, I discovered Maggie Moos award winning ice cream and got to eat at Miss Shirley’s Restaurant.  After all, there’s more to life than business.

So…which fish am I?  Throughout the course of the weekend I kept thinking of the people who live and have businesses along the Gulf Coast.  I couldn’t help but think that my lack of sales at this show were nothing in comparison to what they are facing.  So I choose to have the perspective of the big fish…two of my friends were honored for their work, I was surrounded by beautiful works of art, got to spend time with old friends, made some new ones and ate award winning food and ice cream.  This weekend the  world was just…and I am a blessed and lucky man.