Recognizing Excellence in Fine Craft

NICHE magazine is proud to announce the finalists in the professional division of the 2014 NICHE Awards. The awards program, begun in 1989, celebrates excellence and innovation in American and Canadian fine craft.

In the professional division, a team of judges representing gallery owners, craft industry experts, and guild and museum directors selected 174 finalists out of nearly 1,000 entries in 35 categories representing a variety of mediums. Each entry was considered for technical excellence, both in surface design and form; market viability; and innovation, defined as a distinct quality of unique, original and creative thought.

This year’s jurors included Michael Higdon, museum shop manager at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.; Dana Singer, former executive director of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG); Erin Fergusson, senior manager of merchandising at UncommonGoods, a New York-based online marketplace offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise; and Stan and Judy Gillis, owners of the Real Mother Goose gallery in Portland, Ore., two-time winners of NICHE magazine’s Top Retailer of the Year Award and one of the first entrants into the magazine’s Top Retailers Hall of Fame.

NICHE magazine also recognizes the artistic achievements of students enrolled in North American undergraduate, graduate and certificate arts programs with its NICHE Student Awards competition. Finalists are determined by NICHE magazine editors and the staff of the Buyers Market of American Craft. This year, jurors selected 85 student finalists out of nearly 600 entries in 17 categories.

The full list of student and professional finalists is available at In addition, all professional and student finalists are invited to display their work in the NICHE Awards Finalists Gallery at the Buyers Market, Jan. 18-21, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

The 2014 NICHE Awards festivities will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the convention center, followed by the awards ceremony. Winners will be featured in the Spring 2014 issue of NICHE magazine.

Admission to the NICHE Awards ceremony is free for all Buyers Market participants. The Buyers Market of American Craft is the nation’s largest wholesale fine craft tradeshow, where artists meet qualified buyers representing independent stores that sell gifts, jewelry and home furnishings.


Featured image at top: The 2014 NICHE Awards jurors include (clockwise from top left): Erin Fergusson, of Uncommon Goods; Michael Higdon, museum shop manager at the National Building Museum; Dana Singer, former executive director of SNAG; and Real Mother Goose gallery owners Stan and Judy Gillis.

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