Sunday, August 05, 2007

League of NH Craftsman's Fair (part 1)

The 74th Annual League of New Hampshire Craftsman's Fair is currently underway, running thru August 12th at the Mt. Sunapee Ski Resort in NH, and that's where I've been the last couple of days. It's the longest-running craft fair in the United States, with over 200 exhibitors and demonstrators this year. I took these pictures on Saturday with my Dad.

People love coming to this particular craft fair not only to meet the artisans and watch many of them in action making work, but also because they know all of the artisans are juried members of the League; their work satisfies the League's very high standards of quality and craftsmanship, from lace making to chainsaw sculpture.

Plus Mt. Sunapee is beautiful this time of year, and you can ride the chair lift up and down the mountain -- the sweet scent of ferns mixed with super fresh air is unbelievable!

This year I had an extra experience at the fair -- I was asked to be a juror for their Living with Craft and Craft Wear exhibits, a huge honor and a great pleasure. I got to spend about 8 hours over Wednesday and Thursday examining and experiencing work in every media, testing rocking in chairs, donning necklaces, handling everything from pewter pitchers to lace, and in the end to select "the best" in various categories for awards. It was a great and challenging experience and I am grateful to the league for entrusting the role to me this year.

Kudos to the fair organizers, volunteers, and craftspeople for creating an amazing and enjoyable event once again. Craft fairs are tough enough to put on in a convention center, so it is quite a feat of production wizardry to stage on the side of a mountain! The tents and booths and exhibit halls look great and there's so much to see a whole day hardly seems enough.

Here's a sampling of the great bounty to be found under the big white tents... If you're anywhere near the area, it's not to be missed!

Mother and daughter Barbara Fisher and Janet Fitzgerald's masterful braided rugs. They are lovely women, and I hope to take one of their workshops soon and learn to repair the old ones my great grandmother made.

Dan Dustin and his wife Missy in the fabulous booth he builds from barn boards.

Dad reaching for a spoon. We'll have a big new batch of spoons at the shop when I'm back Wednesday! I'll post pictures.

The fair warming up early Saturday afternoon.

Weaver Hillary Hutton demonstrating how she makes her gorgeous painterly rugs.

A wool weaving easel for kids by Marcy Schepker.

Dad took this picture of Jeff Brown and me in his booth where he was also demonstrating throwing pots.

The Next Generation booth, where the youngest craftspeople sell their accomplishments in blacksmithing, glass blowing, wood turning, jewelry making, and more. Very impressive stuff. I purchased a glass paperweight with an orange flower inside.

The front of the Living with Craft juried exhibit.

The basket at the left, made by Sharon Dugan from a gourd, raffia, and pine needles, and with a smaller basket stitched inside was my selection for Best in Show. I love the walnut table here by Ted Blachly, too. The legs unscrew and go into the leather quiver, and the tabletop is engineered so it can be hung on the wall. That's one of Dan Dustin's spoons atop it.

It was pretty hot the last few days. I took this picture Saturday (thermometer reads 110 degrees), and it was hotter (or at least more humid) the days prior.

So at the end of each day, I drove about 3 minutes to the State Park to swim in Lake Sunapee. The water there is clear and pleasant, and, country girl that I am at my foundation, I know there's nothing that beats a quick dunk in the lake after a hot day's work.

I also want to thank Bill and Ellen Carruth for their hospitality at their top-notch 1806 Inn. The Robert Frost room was cool and comfortable, and I slept great in the big 4-poster bed. Former rare book dealers, Bill and Ellen are great conversationalists and devoted gardeners, and they've created a wonderful new place for travelers to stay.

Part 2, with more pix, coming soon...

Posted by Amy Shaw


hr_g said...

What a great collection of photos from the fair, thanks for posting this.

Carlene said...

Those spoons are fantastic! They'll be snapped up. Have you seen all the spoon collection photos floating around the internet lately?