SC Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition
Submit Your Work
Fine craft artists and artisans from across South Carolina are welcome to submit an application for participation in 19th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Fine Craft Competition & Exhibition. As the state’s longest-running fine craft competition and exhibition, objects juried into the exhibit may compete for cash prizes totaling up to $6,500. Artists also have the option of offering their work for consideration to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s Traveling Exhibitions Program following close of the exhibition. South Carolina artists working in clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and 3-D mixed media are eligible to submit entries. The application period for 2021 is now closed (deadline was March 15, 2021). Call the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843-740-5854 for more information or to be added to the application mailing list.
2021 Competition & Exhibition
Where & When
Charleston Area Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A
5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, SC 29418
Free admission and parking
April 28, 2021 – 6:00pm-8:00pm
April 29-May 1, 2021 – 10:00am-6:00pm
May 2, 2021 – Noon-5:00pm
Opening celebration and award acknowledgements: Wednesday, April 28, 2020, 6:00-8:00pm
Fine craft artists from across South Carolina were invited to participate in the 19th Annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition, the state’s longest-running juried fine craft competition and exhibition. A total of 53 artists were selected in the pre-jury process to show their work in the 2021 exhibition and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $6,500. Organized by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department and presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Fest, this unique exhibition offers fine craft artists from across the state the opportunity to exhibit their inspiring objects in the media of clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and three-dimensional mixed media. Each year thousands enjoy the refined talents of South Carolina fine craft artists featured in this exhibition.
In addition, artists have the option of offering their work for consideration to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s 2021/22 Traveling Exhibitions Program following close of the exhibition. Up to twenty works will be selected, thus providing additional exposure for these artists.
About the Juror
Due to the cancellation of the 2020 competition and exhibition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Karen Watson has been invited back to serve as the juror for 2021. Watson has been the Executive Director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art in Sumter, SC, since 2005. Before assuming the directorship, her professional background was in biomedical research. Watson’s path from biomedical research to gallery director is not as unlikely as it seems on the surface. She and her former husband were serious collectors of contemporary art. They had the opportunity to meet and befriend many artists and arts professionals within the state and beyond. Watson has a passion for the visual arts and the Sumter County Gallery of Art. She is committed to presenting challenging contemporary and traditional art exhibitions by culturally diverse artists and providing art education opportunities to all the citizens of Sumter County – an extensively rural, economically depressed region of the state isolated from the major art centers of the U.S. Watson served as the juror for the 2009 Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Juried Exhibition at Burroughs-Chapin Art Museum (Myrtle Beach, SC), was a juror for the inaugural CCA 701 Prize in 2012 at 701 Center For Contemporary Art, (Columbia, SC), and has been a judge for several local art competitions throughout the years.
2021 Juror’s Statement
Looking at art elicits many things in me- joy, discomfort, awe and appreciation of artistic creativity it’s which I do not possess but recognize immediately. I am honored to be the juror for the 19th annual Palmetto Hands Competition. In these troubled times, artists, art professionals, and art venues are at the forefront of giving voice to the voiceless and being challenged in unprecedented ways.
Looking at art, and experiencing art tends to make many people uncomfortable. People think they have to know a lot of about art to express an opinion about what they like and don’t like. I have never ascribed to this. Art is all about emotion- it is universal and that is what I experienced today.
My best in show choice “Listen” by Eliot Joanna Angell is an unassuming piece at first glance- but it pulled me in and held fast. The outer shell was fashioned rough and unevenly and approximated a ripped and ragged gown. The minimal blue markings asked questions, perhaps even indicted the viewer. Lifting the outer garment revealed a smooth inner “self” that reflected a self love not shown on the surface.
Justin Guy’s Edgefield- style vessel was executed beautifully and assures that such traditional arts will be kept alive.
Susan Lenz’s piece- a stiff, mixed media tableau with a quilt as a base is a history lesson of people who would be forgotten if not for artists like her.
There were several other pieces that contended for the top prizes and they are a part of a stellar Honorable Mention list.
Thank you for this opportunity to spend time with the work of some of the finest artists working in South Carolina today.
-Karen Watson, 28 April 2021
Best in Show
Eliot Joanna Angell (Beaufort, SC) – “Listen” (ceramic)
Justin Guy (Edgefield, SC) – “April Showers” (clay)
Susan Lenz (Columbia, SC) – “Oswald Home Laundry” (mixed media)
Marty Biernbaum (Charleston, SC) – “Dance of the Cinnamon Fern” (ceramic)
Dale Fort (Wadmalaw Island, SC) – “Wadmalaw Native #3” (wood)
Flavia Lovatelli (Columbia, SC) – ”Coral” (paper)
Laura Burcin (Beaufort, SC) – “Enduring Change” (fiber)
Kim Keelor (Charleston, SC) – “Reaching Up on Church Street” (fiber)
Malcolm Fages (Mt. Pleasant, SC) – ”Hollow-form Bowl” (wood)
Barbara Easterling Lassiter (Sullivan’s Island, SC) – “Happy Haven” (glass)
Lee Garrard (John’s Island, SC) – “Kachina” (wood/charcoal)
Jacqueline Anderson (N. Charleston, SC) – “Chapter 22” (mixed media)
Lee Sipe (Columbia, SC) – “Vessel No. 386” (wire/mm)
Peg Weschke (Hilton Head Island, SC) – “Central Park Sailor” (fiber)
Annie Rhodes Lee (Folly Beach, SC) – “Sliding Scale” (ceramic)
City of North Charleston Purchase Awards
Robb Helmkamp (North Charleston, SC) – “Chrysanthemum Box” (wood)
Jacqueline Anderson (North Charleston, SC) – “Chapter 22” (mixed media)
Saila Milja-Smyly (Mount Pleasant, SC) – “Cast Iron Plant” (stoneware clay)
SC Palmetto Hands Traveling Exhibition Selections
Kim Keelor (Charleston, SC) – “Reaching Up On Church Street” (fiber)
Sherrie Nesbitt (Summerville, SC) – “Female Artist” (mixed media)
Mary Nicholson (Johns Island, SC) – “Venus Rising” (clay)
Lee Garrard (Johns Island, SC) – “Kachina” (wood/mixed media)
Dale Fort (Wadmalaw Island, SC) – “Wadmalaw Native #3” (wood)
Marsha Nordyke (Summerville, SC) – “A Southern Afternoon Delight” (ceramic)
Elizabeth Kalman (North Charleston, SC) – “Spottail in the Grass” (mosaic)
Olivia Ruxton (Charleston, SC) – “Swing Collar” (metal)
Lee Malerich (Neeses, SC) – “Overconfident” (wood)
Stacey Green (McClellanville, SC) – “On the Half Shell” (glass)
Greg Rawls (Beaufort, SC) – “Rewriting Pathways” (glass)
Camela Guevara (Charleston, SC) – “Tumbling Block Koozie Quilt” (mixed media)
Shamsad Rahman (Orangeburg, SC) – “Cloudy Color” (mixed media/fiber)
Justin Guy (Edgefield, SC) – “April Showers” (ceramic)
Malcolm Fages (Mount Pleasant, SC) – “Hollow-form Bowl” (wood)
Patz Fowle (Hartsville, SC) – “Funky Transformational Fish” (mixed media)
Flavia Lovatelli (Columbia, SC) – “Coral” (paper)
Sites across South Carolina may request the exhibit to tour in their facilities, thus providing additional exposure for the selected artists. To bring Palmetto Hands to your venue, contact the South Carolina State Museum Traveling Exhibits Program (TEP) at (803)898-4959 or firstname.lastname@example.org.