Entries are now being accepted for the 2013 NICHE Awards, a juried competition for fine craft designers sponsored by NICHE Magazine and awarded at the Buyers Market of American Craft in Philadelphia in February.
I always look to the latest NICHE winners for both up-and-coming jewelry artists and established metalsmiths who are introducing unique work. Other design and craft writers and magazine editors do the same. I’ve featured professional winners of jewelry NICHE awards on this blog, as well as as well student winners.
Many jewelry artists have entered my radar through this contest, including Jacob Albee, Chihiro Makio, Joanna Gollberg, Barbara Bayne and Michael Romanik, all of whom I’ve written about here as well as for magazines.
There’s a new NICHE category this year for jewelry made from “alternative materials,” as well as the usual categories for gold, gold with stones, silver, silver with stones, fashion, fine, weddings and sculpture to wear. NICHE Awards are open to both professional and student artists and you can enter here (up to three pieces per artist) by September 30, 2012. Entry fees are $40 for pros, $18 for students.
Winners are chosen based on three main criteria: technical excellence (both in surface design and form), a distinct quality of original and creative thought, and (for professional entries) market viability. Judging takes place in October and finalists are invited to display their work in a NICHE Awards exhibit at the Buyers Market of American Craft in Philadelphia (February 16-18, 2013).
Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the show on February 17. Good luck!