These are a few of my favorite booths at ACC show

Table runners by Kelly Marshall
Photos courtesy of ACC and the artists
Table runners and rugs by Kelly Marshall.

My addiction to the annual American Craft Council show in St. Paul is evident in the number of postcards I receive each year offering me a discount. Some years, I’ve received a half-dozen or so depending on my purchases the previous year.

When I worked for the Pioneer Press, a few co-workers and I would walk a few blocks to the RiverCentre and undergo some serious retail therapy during our lunch hour. This became an annual ritual, a time to scope out the show and consider running up our credit cards.

Alas, I will be toiling away today at the office of MinnPost.com in Minneapolis, too far away to start stocking up on birthday and holiday gifts for friends, family and, well, me. Sigh. Instead, I’m going to take you on a virtual tour of my can’t-miss favorites. And I invite you to share your favorites and recommendations at the end of this post.

First stop: Fill out the form for the raffle of $100 to $250 gift certificates. I’ve yet to win, but I can dream.

Plate by Elisabeth Maurland
Plate by Elisabeth Maurland

Second stop: Ceramist Elisabeth Maurland (Booth 1701) of Decorah, Iowa. Her delicate renderings of fish, flamingos, rabbits and other creatures on feather-light dishes have delighted me for years. I’m the proud owner of teacups, mugs and a teapot in the blue-and-yellow fish line. I always look forward to seeing her new work – even if I can’t annually invest in it.

Next stop: Weaver Kelly Marshall (Booth 2302) of Minneapolis (formerly of St. Paul, I might add). I wish I could afford her fabulous rugs, but I have settled for the colorful runner on my dining room table.

More than 240 artists are expected to display their creations at the 22nd annual show in St. Paul, which is part of a traveling juried show. It’s worth going just for the visual feast, even if art isn’t in your budget at the moment. But if you’re looking for affordable gifts for any occasion, let me recommend these two booths:

Wooden utensils by Jonathan Simons
Wooden utensils by Jonathan Simons

Jonathan’s Spoons: Jonathan Simons (Booth 804) of Pennsylvania makes fun serving utensils out of cherry wood. My purchases through the years – pie servers, tiger-tail spoons, spatulas, olive pickers and coffee scoops – have landed in homes from here to England.

Kevin Loughray’s House Jewelry: Who knew doorbells, light switches and switch plates could be so artsy? Loughray’s metal pieces (Booth 2404) make unusual housewarming gifts.

I feel better now. A virtual tour isn’t as fabulous as the real thing, but it’s certainly less expensive. Consider it another public service from MinnPost.com.

What:
22nd annual ACC show
Where: St. Paul RiverCentre, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday (April 18-19); 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (April 20)  
Phone: 800-836-3470
Admission: $12 per person; $18 for a two-day pass; children 12 and under free. ACC members admitted free. (Join at a special show rate of $25.)
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