Next Level Craft at the House of Sweden

#igdc visits the House of Sweden

InstagramDC recently got a sneak peek at the Next Level Craft exhibit at the House of Sweden in Georgetown. This beautiful embassy along the Potomac played host to an exhibit described as:

A mythical wedding, a demonstration, a carnival, a funeral procession, a fashion show or perhaps a combination of all these? A colorful parade of mysterious creatures wander through a fictitious northern landscape carrying unique crafted objects. Who are they and where are they going?

Next Level Craft is not your typical handicraft exhibition – it has its own soundtrack and music video. The renowned young Swedish artist Aia Jüdes has created a playful and different tale of craft, mixing voguing (a modern dance style characterized by perfect, stylized hand and arm movements, acrobatic poses and flamboyant fashion), street art, high fashion, pop culture and electronic music with everything from wool embroidery, weaving and felting to root binding, wood turning and birch bark braiding.

It was a surreal experience, a room filled with bizarre objects and an ever-changing lightshow. Adding to the strangeness was a trippy video of dancing Swedes. So much weirdness for InstagramDC to photograph, as the lights cycled from red to blue.

Best of all, photography was encouraged! It’s a very forward-thinking embassy for hosting this strange exhibit and for reaching out to local photographers to cover it. We had a blast taking pictures of these unique crafts and posing for photos in the weird lighting.




Ever feel like you're being watched? #igdc #georgetown #emptyhos #nextlevelcraft

That was cool. But getting up on the roof was even cooler.

There was an amazing view of Rosslyn and the Kennedy Center, from a vantage point that few get to see. It was sleeting but no way was I going to miss this experience.

A little snow wasn't going to keep me from the roof of the House of Sweden during the #igdc meetup. That's the Potomac River and Rosslyn in the background.

Kennedy Center

As a writer, it’s inspiring to see creative work. It’s source material for me. I wrote Murder on U Street, my novel about homicide in DC’s art scene, after having similar experiences. So don’t be surprised if a trippy Swedish art exhibit shows up in a future book 😉


Photos n’ Boots at the Frye Company Popup Gallery

Frye boots
Those are some expensive boots, pardner.

How  can I get you into a pair of $398 boots?

Perhaps an evening of beautiful people, interesting photos and delicious cocktails?

On Thursday night, I attended the Frye Company Popup Gallery in Georgetown. It’s a beautiful store, a virtual temple to leather on Wisconsin Avenue. The evening, curated by local arbiters of cool Worn Creative,  featured hand-crafted drinks from Catoctin Creek, as well as music spun by U.S. Royalty.

I was there for the art. Hanging on the walls of the two-story Frye Company store was work by Jim Darling, Amber Mahoney, Martin Swift and Jessica Lancaster. I’m a huge fan of Jim and Amber, having met them through InstantDC. I think Jim is best at portraits – he’s able to respectfully connect with people (even strangers on the street) to create photos that capture the essence of a person. And Amber creates beautiful dreamscapes that have the quality of myth.

Both of them are also incredibly nice people – hire them the next time you need photos.

Jim Darling and his fiance Amy.

The Worn Creative model is also really interesting. We’re bombarded with marketing messages these days – most of which we ignore. Think of all the banner ads, commercials and billboards that you pay no attention to. How do you break through the clutter?

One way is through creative events like this popup gallery, in which you combine art, music and drinks to create a brand experience to lure in potential buyers. It’s more effective than creating a 30-second commercial that people will ignore. And a lot more fun for your target audience. It’s also local, featuring DC artists, and personalized, for it was invite-only. The only thing missing was its own hashtag.

The future lies in this kind of creative marketing that seeks to surprise and delight buyers rather than bludgeoning them with messages that they seek to avoid.

The Frye Company Popup Gallery successfully imprinted in my head the belief that their boots are cool and drool-worthy. Going in, I thought $398 boots were ridiculous. But the experience of the store has altered that perception, sending me down the marketing funnel toward the inevitable purchase of some enviable boots.