Iconic Art Space Goes Costume Crazy With a WitchCraft Twist
By Catilin Hsu. Additional reporting Catherine D. Anspon.
This is the first story in a series detailing outrageous, inventive and important art parties. It’s time to anoint the most sizzling soirées of the season.
The Big Event: Houston Center for Contemporary Craft’s Martini Madness! fundraiser
Mise en Scène: The Craft Center’s festive “Witches Den” (party tent) and “Garden of Fortunes” (HCCC’s Craft Garden) in the heart of the Houston Museum District.
In keeping with the evening’s WitchCraft theme, guests donned a variety of bewitching looks, many topped off with pointy hats. The winners of the costume contest were John Rufenacht, who sported an oversized witch’s hat adorned with garden materials; Karen Carr, for her outrageous zombie costume; and Hilary Williams, who went organic via a jaunty red mushroom costume topped by a handmade headpiece.
One of the highlights of the evening was the selection of handmade martini glasses created by guest artists. Crafted by 17 talents from Houston and around the United States, these vessels were primarily glass, plus a few ceramic iterations. Guests used these to sip the night’s cleverly themed drinks — “Crystal Ball” classic martinis, “Bee-Witched” (Bees Knees) cocktails courtesy Empress 1908 Gin and the “Warlock’s Hex” (Old Fashioned), concocted with Blade and Bow Bourbon.
Revelers spent the evening enjoying live music spun by DJ Sun while feasting on delicious appetizers and a buffet prepared by Churrascos Catering. Stuffed avocado trees with shrimp, corn and black beans; and build-your-own mac & cheese with customizable toppings were among the tantalizing offerings. Other headlining entertainment of the evening included fortune telling with tarot reader Rachel Valdres, arty portraits in the Magic Mirror photo booth courtesy of Lucky Shots and eco-printing with artists Molly Koehn and Susannah Mira in the Center’s verdant Craft Garden.
Even the decorations bore a special touch. The party tent was decked out in more than cloth streamers, dangling strings of black witch hats and a handmade chandelier created from recycled materials, inspiringly devised by the Craft Center’s Tarina Frank and Rene Henry. Colleague Maria-Elisa Heg dreamed up the spooky handmade props for the photo booth.
PC Seen: Chairs Georgia Fox and Isabel Wilson (third chair Nancy Littlejohn was not able to attend); Craft Center board prez Judy Nyquist; HCCC executive director Perry Price (at one of his final appearances before leaving for a new post in Maine) with wife Rosemary Price; founder of the 21-year-old art space Sara Morgan; deputy director Mary Headrick who oversaw so many of the cool details of this revel; collector Jereann Chaney with daughter Holland Chaney; artist Edward Lane McCartney and David Gooding; Karina Barbieri; Kim Gapinski as a Monarch butterfly; Jennifer and Lance Gilliam; CAMH curator Patricia Restrepo; performance artist Nancy Douthey; Rob Greenstein; Bette and Richard Pesikoff; Kathryn Dollins and Casey Ham; Taylor and Blake Allday; Wendy Adler cast as Frida Kahlo; jeweler Sandi Zilker; Teri Ogg, gallerists Janice Bond and Yvonne Garcia; and artists/collaborators Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand, making a grand entrance as Maleficent paired with an inflatable dragon.