Fashion Designers Descend Upon DC for 23rd Annual Washington Craft Show

15 Sep

Fashion designers descend upon DC for the 23rd Annual Washington Craft Show starting November 19 through the 21st, where visitors can find works from over 190 artists.

When the doors open at 10a.m. on Friday, November 19 for the 23rd installment of the Washington Craft Show, visitors will enter a world where art merges with everyday life.

The handcrafted items on display and available for purchase at the Washington Craft Show are meant to be used and / or enjoyed every day.  From hand-crafted furniture and lighting to decorative objects for the home – some functional, others not – to jewelry, wearable art and more, the Washington Craft Show truly offers something for everyone.

A premier event of contemporary craft in America, the Washington Craft Show presents masterful work, beautifully displayed.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind or limited edition in a range of prices, all designed and crafted in artists’ studios across America.

At the Washington Craft Show, you’ll find 190 of the nation’s top craft artists offering work in a dozen media, each unique and many one-of-a-kind.  Each piece represents an inspiring facet of the American spirit—and an enduring treasure, transmitted from the artist’s hands to yours.

Artists from 30 states and the District of Columbia will be on hand, eager to share with visitors their latest celebrated works.  One of the most compelling aspects of this show and others like it is the opportunity visitors have to actually meet the artist who created the work on display. No gallery owners, no agents; just the artists and their art.


Among the 190 artisans who will be on hand at the 23rd annual Washington Craft Show is Manhattan designer Starr Hagenbring, who creates spectacular jackets, gowns and other “wearable art” by painting, cutting, piecing and stitching fabrics into different patterns. The images and graphics are painted by hand with a brush, using a variety of techniques of layering and solids depending on the desired effects.  The decorative stitching is done freehand with machine, to give the illusion of “sketching” on top of the painted surfaces. “The pieces are designed to be viewed 360 degrees, and with movement,” says Hagenbring. “To see half the garment is to see only half the story.”

Here are some samples of Starr Hagenbring’s fabulous creations:

“Tworling Fou Fou”

Description: A sculpture to wear. Each fou fou is individually cut out of 4 pieces of silk organza. It is the cut that creates the 3-D form. It must be matched and sewn precisely to hang well. $295.00

“With Suns And Moons All Over”

Description: Gown. Pictured here is a one-of-a-kind gown, made up of 33 hand-painted and freeform decorative stitched panels on silk organza in the skirt. They are all different designs – “33 separate paintings,” says Hagenbring. The skirt is hung on 3 levels.  The bodice is many small panels sculpted into shape. Hand stitched beading. $15,000.00

“Sculpted Profile”

Description: Imagery is hand painted with brush. Then “freeform” stitching, like sketching with the sewing machine is applied over the painted surfaces. Body is silk brocade, sleeves are knit jersey. Lined, with couture finishing. $1,050.00

“Fancy Jerkin”

Description: Small bias cut squares of silk organza are put inside 2 layers of silk organza, then decorative stitching. The “vest” is made of 10 pieces of bias cut silk organza, sculpted into this flowing shape. Precision sewing and matching is necessary or the piece will not hang properly. $575.00


Two up and coming young designers, Britt Rynearson of Kenmore, Washington and Elaine Unzicker, from Ojai, California, will also be in attendance with their unique creations on show.

Red Pleated by Britt Rynearson

Description: Bold color and pleats are the focus of this work by Britt Rynearson. To create the piece, silk is hemmed with silk thread, dyed, wrapped around a pole in traditional arashi fashion, dyed, wrapped and dyed again. The result is a stunning work of art.  $440.00

“My new work draws modern lines around the body,” says Rynearson. “Each piece is illuminated from within.” The designer uses fabric to “paint a landscape that moves and wraps around the body with ripples, waves, peaks and valleys.”  Texture and pattern are elemental aspects of the work and come from her connection to the water. “The movement of the surface of water is alive and indescribable. I aim to achieve the same in my textile work.”

Hints of Red by Elaine Unzicker

Description: “Hints of Red” by Elaine Unzicker, is a stainless steel chain mail shirt with anodized red aluminum rings hand interlocked to create color accents.  $2,400.00

The designer combines stainless and anodized aluminum chain mail interlocked by hand to create unique purses and wearable art. “The fluid movement of the mesh allows me to create art that caresses and conforms to the body,” says Unzicker.  She often will embellish the chain mail surface with castings from nature in bronze or gold-plated brass. Cast pistachio shells might decorate a purse, natural stones, such as pearls, are used to soften the chain mail surface.

Purse by Elaine Unzicker

Description: Stainless steel chainmail purse with cast brass, gold plated catalpa pods. Dimensions: 7.5” H X 4.5” W X 0.25” D $400.00

The Washington Craft Show is located at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the heart of Washington D.C., between 7th and 9th Streets NW and N Street and Mt. Vernon Place. The METRO stops there—Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center—on the Yellow or Green lines.


Fri. Nov. 19, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.  / Sat. Nov. 20, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. / Sun. Nov. 21, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WEEKEND SPEAKER SERIES (Included with admission)


1:00pm: Kelly Conway, Curator of Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art. Panel discussion with Matthew Fine, Charles Savoie and Tim Tate.

3:00pm: Fiber artist Libby Mijanovich: “Transformation: Creating Contemporary “Green” Art from Vintage Clothing”


1:00pm: Bob Devers, Corcoran School of Arts Ceramics Department. Panel Discussion with leading experts in the field of American fine craft.

3:00pm: Ceramist Nancy Kubale: “The Human Condition in Clay”


1:00pm: Shana Kroiz, Maryland Institute College of Art Jewelry Center: “Form, Color & Wearability”


General Admission:  $15.00 / Senior Citizens: $13.00 / Students: $8.00

Children under 12 admitted free with an adult / $10 for groups of 10 or more with advance purchase.

Visit for more information.

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