The best part of spending weekdays in room 1098 is its history-spanning view of downtown Columbus. Look left and find the former Hartman Hotel, built in 1898 by the Columbus doctor who made his fortune from the patent medicine known as Peruna. Look right and admire the one-of-a-kind white canopy covering the performance stage at Columbus Commons, the six-acre park and greenspace that was once the home of Columbus City Center.
When the three-level shopping center opened in August 1989, my favorite lunch-hour pastime became sifting through the sale rounders and shelves of its anchor stores, Marshall Field’s and Jacobson’s. When I wasn’t bringing home bargains, I indulged in unique treats from specialty retailers like A Show of Hands, the Ohio Designer Craftsmen-operated store which sold fine-craft objects made by artisans. Competition from new suburban shopping centers like The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, Easton Town Center and Polaris Fashion Place led City Center tenants to move on. In 2009, City Center closed and was torn down. My lunch hours have never been the same.
I relived my “A Show of Hands” shopping experiences recently when I finally visited the Ohio Craft Museum, where Ohio Designer Craftsmen has been headquartered since April 1993. Ohio Designer Craftsmen was founded in 1963 by 60 craft artists and professors, many from The Ohio State University, to support craft artists and give them opportunities to exhibit their work.
Located at 1665 W. 5th Ave., the museum promotes fine crafts made by artists who work in glass, clay, fiber, wood and metal. Besides operating a sales gallery, the museum mounts exhibitions, offers educational classes, curates a permanent collection and a small craft research library, and produces Winterfair, a popular craft fair held each December at the Ohio Expo Center.
This WOSU video prompted me to swing Santa’s sleigh by “Gifts of the Craftsmen,” the museum’s 15th annual holiday exhibition and sale. Before I even opened the door, I knew I was going to like what was inside.
Before long, I had selected a festive ceramic pony ornament and found a new source for snowmen, Santas and even German lucky pickle ornaments, all handcrafted from wool roving.Trying to exercise some restraint, I decided I’d wait to adopt a charming white kitten with a red bow, crafted as a pin by Carol Adams, and an attractive fiber basket created by Carole Stolte of Marysville. Downstairs, dozens of children participating in a gift-making workshop were creating polymer clay necklaces and embellished woolen eyeglass cases, then wrapping them for gift-giving. I was ready to sit down and start crafting myself.
The Ohio Craft Museum begins its 2018 education lineup this Saturday with Art & Mindfulness: Creating Art with Meaning, a three-month series in which adults can make paper cut-outs, construct books and engage in creative storytelling through scratchboard art. Other upcoming activities include creating a custom-fitted artistic corset, making an embroidered, mixed-media hoop for Valentine’s Day, and discovering the art of Ukrainian Pysanky for Easter. Plans are under way for this year’s summer art camps for children. Next month, look for the opening of the museum’s new exhibition of contemporary works by emerging Ohio artists and its Art Studio Clearance Sale at the Ohio Expo Center.