The American Craft Show, the nation’s largest juried indoor craft show, will be returning to Baltimore from Friday to Sunday at the Convention Center. The event also marks the 75th anniversary of the American Craft Council.
Lori Gottlieb, a local artist and member of Beth Tfiloh, will be one of more than 650 of the country’s top contemporary craft artists showcasing work at the show.
Gottlieb, 58, was a surgeon at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Sinai Hospital for 15 years before returning to her love for crafts, which she enjoyed in high school and college. She now works exclusively on creating jewelry after hyperthyroidism and vision problems forced her to leave the surgical field.
“I couldn’t operate anymore,” she said. “I had done art my whole life, and I had been taking classes at MICA just for fun. I started doing jewelry again because I still wanted to be able to say that at the end of the day I had accomplished something. It brings people a lot of joy and utilizes the skills of a surgeon in terms of using [my] hands. But nobody gets hurt if I mess up. It’s not life or death.”
Gottlieb’s jewelry is largely inspired by nature. An avid biker, she is outside and moving all the time. She finds inspiration for her art in everything from textures to shadows to curves in the road.
“My jewelry is organic and bold,” she said. “I use a lot of oxidized silver and gold, rough-surfaced stones, natural materials with a little bit of glitter to them. It is extremely wearable, meant for the intellectual, independent person who appreciates nature.”
Gottlieb has been participating in American Craft Council shows since 2005, two years after she started her business, LoriMeg Designs, out of her Owings Mills home. While she has jewelry in galleries across the country, the large craft shows, such as the one in Baltimore, appeal to her because they provide consumers with the opportunity to actually meet the artists.
“Customers who love my jewelry come back and back and back,” she said, “which is really a wonderful thing. You make friends and develop relationships with people, which I really like. You also hear people talk at these shows, good and bad; they don’t know that you are there. It’s very enlightening to hear how other people view your work.”