The Art of the Craft

Unique handcrafted works, process demonstrations, music and artisan foods all come swirling together to make up the 38th annual Sugarloaf Crafts Festival this weekend in Timonium, just north of Baltimore.

The 250 jury-selected artists will be exhibiting their works in ceramics, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, furniture, home décor, leather, fine art and photography. In addition to art for sale, the public will be invited to watch the artists at work, perhaps one of the more unique aspects of the festival.

“Seeing [the demonstration and] the educational aspect brings a whole different level of appreciation,” said DeAnn Verdier, president of Sugarloaf Craft Festivals. “Otherwise it’s hard for people to imagine the hand you just shook made the piece you’re going to buy. You can watch them take a lump of clay and create a beautiful form before your eyes.”

Artisan food exhibitors will be bringing candies, chocolates, soups, breads, jams, dips, syrups and olive oils for visitors to sample and purchase as well.

Plate by John Akkus

Plate by John Akkus

John Akkus, originally from Istanbul and now living in Virginia, has been participating at Sugarloaf since 1996. He is the artist behind A Touch of Silver and will be selling everything from jewelry to Judaica, as well as demonstrating his unique artistry called metal spinning. Metal spinning combines spinning with a Turkish method of engraving, primarily using copper.

“The metal spinning exists, but not very many people do this anymore,” explained Akkus. “It started in the 1800s but then was lost, and high tech took over. [The technique] is very different and exclusive, and it’s interesting to watch.”

Smadar Livne, originally from Israel, now works from her studio in Owings Mills. Present at Sugarloaf for about 20 years, Livne is best known for her large acrylic paintings on canvas, utilizing mixed media and featuring bold contemporary colors.

“Every time, I come [to Sugarloaf] with a new series,” said Livne. “People will be expecting to see my bold colors; this time I’m going with pastel — and gold and silver.”

Livne explained she is still working some of the same themes, but the change in palette evokes a very different feeling. “It’s very fresh and light,” she said. “And the gold and silver … because of the metallic, it becomes a totally different painting.”

Menorah by Olga Goldin

Menorah by Olga Goldin

Olga Goldin, her husband and two young sons came to Baltimore from Belarus. This year will be her 14th at the festival. She creates from clay, applying multiple glazes and firings; her pieces are all hand built. She makes Judaica, such as menorahs and Kiddush cups, but is perhaps best known for her figurines.

“Customers collect my pieces,” said Goldin. “They buy figures with instruments — they’re little characters with a 1920s and 1930s shtetl feeling. When I was living in Belarus, in Minsk, I would see the pieces in my grandparents’ house. Those memories have influenced my work.”

Livne hopes that the public will not only shop, but also take the time to talk to artists and experience the event.

“They don’t know what’s behind the scenes,” said Livne. “The artists all work very hard. They create from nothing — it’s about the feeling. Try to get the creative inspirational feeling from this event. … Take the time to talk to the artists and get to know what’s behind what they’re making.”

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will be held Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road in Timonium.

Admission is $8 when purchased online and $10 at the door, and a ticket is good for all three days of the show. Children under 12 are free. Free parking is available on site.

For more information, including exhibitor lists, directions and admission discounts, visit or call 800-210-9900.


  1. Mercia King -Ellis says

    I purchased a pair of earrings that I am wearing today by Akkus. I am impressed by the work, they are beautiful. I live in Summerville S.C. I was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland. I looked up the Akkus name and was pleasantly surprised. Do you have a catalog or do you have any plans on a craft show in this area. Thanks and know you have a fan in Summerville S.C.

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