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Crafting an inspired room design

Baltimore Convention Center

They may look like simple iron candlesticks, tall and thin.

But for interior designer Elizabeth Cross-Beard Marsh, they were more than just a decoration or a lighting accessory. They were an inspiration, for a room of soft beiges and abstract art.

"I just fell in love with those candlesticks," says Marsh, one of 11 designers from the Mid-Atlantic whose works — each inspired by a unique piece of craftsmanship — will be on display at the Baltimore Convention Center next weekend as part of the 37th annual American Craft Council Show. "They just seemed really, beautifully simple, that they would work really well anywhere, regardless of the overall style of the space."

"Make Room: Modern Design Meets Craft" includes 11 10-by-10-foot rooms scattered throughout the floor of the convention center. The goal is to provide context for the work of some of the hundreds of artists participating in the show, said ACC spokeswoman Pamela Diamond.

"You'll see the piece that was the inspiration piece, and then you'll step into the manifest reality of the designer's vision," Diamond said. "Designers are so creative, they just look at a piece and go, 'I see a room!' Their minds work so quickly when they see something."

Luke Proctor, the Wisconsin man who forged the candlesticks using traditional blacksmith techniques, said he was thrilled with Marsh's design.

"I thought it looked great," he said. "The room looked very contemporary. I think the way they arranged the candlesticks … was perfect."

The American Craft Council show runs Feb. 22-24 at the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St. Information: public.craftcouncil.org/Baltimore

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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