NICHE Award Winners Announced

Six professional and two student jewelry designers were among the 51 artists who received 2008 NICHE Awards. The winners were announced Feb. 17 at a ceremony during the Buyers Market of American Craft, a wholesale trade show in Philadelphia, held Feb. 15-18.

Sponsored by NICHE magazine, the trade publication for progressive retailers of American craft, the NICHE Awards program recognizes excellence and innovation in the American and Canadian craft art industry. The jewelry winners are as follows:

Professional Jewelry Categories


Jewelry: Fashion

Victoria Varga, Cumberland Foreside, Maine, Mobile Earrings

Jewelry: Gold
Nina Basharova of Nina Basharova Jewelry Design, New York City, Milky Way Cuff

Jewelry: Gold with Stones
Jacob Albee, of Jacob Albee, Goldsmith, Burlington, Vt., Yin Yang Pendant

Jewelry: Silver
Barbara Bayne, Montague, Mass., 2 Element Pod Pendant

Jewelry: Silver with Stones
Belle Brooke Barer of Belle Brooke Designs, Los Angeles, Canoe Ring

Jewelry: Sculpture to Wear

Chihiro Makio of 314 Studio,  Somerville, Mass., Lotus Necklace

Student Jewelry Categories


Jewelry: Fashion
Louise Chong, Alberta College of Art and Design, Inside Out

Jewelry: Fine
Kathy Williams, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Shanghai

A complete list of 2008 winners can be viewed here.

Professional and student craft artists from across the United States and Canada submitted more than 2,100 entries for the 19th edition of the competition. In November 2007, NICHE magazine announced the 151 professional finalists and 76 student finalists, who displayed their work in the NICHE Awards exhibit at 2008 during the craft show.
In addition to jewelry, categories included art recycled material, teapots, lamps, goblets, Judaic,a and furniture. Entries were judged on technical excellence, both in surface design and form; a distinct quality of unique, original and creative thought; and market viability (professional entries only).

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