College Preparatory School for Girls Grades 3-12

Holton Ceramics Students’ Work Wows at Smithsonian Craft Show

Holton Ceramics Students' Work Wows at Smithsonian Craft Show

Giridharadas and the students whose work is featured in the show.

For over 20 years, Ceramics Teacher Nandini Giridharadas has taken her students to the renowned Smithsonian Craft Show. The field trip to the National Building Museum provided a chance to talk to and draw inspiration from the 120 artists who make the cut each year for the show.

The artists' booths represent all facets of contemporary craft and design, including basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed-media, paper, wearable art, and wood. 

This year, the work of Giridharadas' Advanced Ceramics classes joined the crafts of those masters and innovators. Eight black-and-white handbuilt, coiled vessels were some of the first-ever high school art shown at the craft show, which is celebrating its 40th year.

Holton joined Landon School, Alexandria City High School, and Jackson-Reed High School in the inaugural "Next Generation" exhibit, which allows attendees to see examples of what the next generation of craft artists is doing.

As they have in years past, students from the Advanced Ceramics courses visited the show on Thursday. They crowded around their display, pointing out their work alongside that of other talented artisans. 

The polka-dotted and floral-printed vessel of Armeeta M. '24 is at the show, which is open now through April 24. "It's very rewarding to see all of my hard work pay off in this unexpected way," she said. "Especially knowing how competitive the show is – wow, we're only 15 or 16 years old."

Students talk to ceramicist Samantha Briegel about the technique behind her work.

Giridharadas was in high demand during the visit as people visiting the show stopped to admire the pieces. As one Washington, DC resident exclaimed, "I go to a lot of art shows and exhibits but I am just completed bowled over by these."

Many strangers complimented Giridharadas' work as their teacher, sentiments echoed by Serena H. '22.

"She has been a mentor to me for the past four years," she said. "I feel like everything I do I want her to be proud of." 

Want to go? The Craft Show is open April 21-24 at the National Building Museum in Washington, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 ($10 for students) and can be purchased online. The Holton student work is in Booth 404.