82nd Annual League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair: A celebration of talent and creativity

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Longest-running annual crafts fair in the country scheduled for August 1-9 at the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, NH
Fair 1
Children will be able to take part in an all-day, hands-on pottery school during this year’s Fair.

CONCORD, NH With an unrivaled combination of hands-on activities, stunning displays of innovative, handmade craft, an emphasis on children’s activities and workshops, and the chance to interact one-on-one with craftsmen, the League of NH Craftsmen’s 82nd Annual Craftsmen’s Fair gives everyone a chance to learn and experience something new. The longest continuously running annual crafts fair in the nation, the event draws more than 30,000 guests each year and features more than 350 craftsmen. The Fair runs Saturday, Aug, 1 through Sunday Aug. 9, 2015 at the scenic Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury.

From modern to more traditional styles, the Fair features more than 200 booths of fine craft, including colorful pottery, hand-blown glass, framed prints, beautiful bowls, decorative scarves, and handcrafted jewelry. The Fair boasts daily craft demonstrations and workshops, fine craft exhibitions, free tours and seminars, and entertainment for the entire family. Along with a vast array of fine, handmade craft, this year’s Craftsmen’s Fair will have a special focus on children, with programs designed to help develop an interest in fine craft, including an all-day pottery school and lessons on the use of woodworking tools. For a full schedule of events and activities, please visit www.nhcrafts.org.

Fair 2
This year’s Sculpture Garden features a beautiful array of landscape sculptures and garden ornaments. Pictured in the background, fairgoers have the chance to visit more than 200 craft booths filled with fine handmade craft.

“The Annual Craftsmen’s Fair is a one-of-a-kind experience where visitors of all ages can explore how fine handmade craft inspires our lives,” said Jane Oneail, Executive Director of the League of NH Craftsmen. “Shop for distinctive, beautiful and functional fine craft that you cannot find anywhere else. Take part in one of the many workshops, such as printmaking or glass blowing. Talk one-on-one with craftsmen to learn about their techniques and inspiration. With a mix of longtime participating craftspeople and relative newcomers, the Fair is your chance to immerse yourself in the world of craft as you learn from some of the most renowned craftsmen in the country.”

The Fair’s lead sponsor, the Mount Washington Cog Railway, will host an on-site display of the historic Peppersass Cog Railway train engine—the first mountain-climbing cog railway engine in the world, built in 1866. The train was handcrafted in New Hampshire and is a product of 19th century technology and modern innovation. Guests will get the chance to snap photos with the historic engine, and learn about its storied history. A film,Mount Washington Cog Railway: Climbing to the Clouds, will be shown daily.

Education Inspiration
Printmaker William Mitchell has participated in the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair for the past 24 years, and has regularly taught classes and performed demonstrations. This year Mitchell will host daily printmaking workshops in which guests may learn to make their own hand-printed postcards/notecards.

“For people of all ages, it is the educational component of the Fair which truly sets it apart,” Mitchell said. “There is so much happening all around you as you walk the grounds, and you may not even realize how much you are taking in as you explore displays, seminars and demonstrations, take part in hands-on workshops, and talk directly with artists. You have the opportunity to take part in an experience you will not get anywhere else.”

Mitchell attended the Fair for the first time in 1990 and never looked back.

“For me, it was having that visual experience, seeing something made that captured my imagination and inspired me,” Mitchell continued. “I went home saying that I want to be a part of that and it became my goal to participate in the Fair. It was career-changing for me.”

With an extra emphasis on developing interest in the world of craft among the younger generations, the 2015 League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair will feature a “Tools for Kids” program. Under the guidance of experienced artists, children will get the chance to try out woodworking tools, with a special spoon carving program. In addition, the Fair will host an all-day pottery school, where children can immerse themselves in pottery and make their own creations.

Fair 3
More than 200 craft booths showcase colorful pottery, hand-blown glass, framed prints, beautiful bowls, decorative scarves, and handcrafted jewelry.

“The League is continually striving to inspire the younger generation and cultivate interest in fine craft,” Oneail said. “Through these special programs, children can make their own crafts and learn from the League’s renowned artists.”

The “Next Generation” tent features work by children who are related to or sponsored by the League’s juried craftsmen. The Next Generation tent gives budding craftsmen the chance not only to showcase their work, but to gain valuable entrepreneurial experience.  Participating children learn to set up and arrange the tent, interact with customers, make sales and process transactions.

Fair Highlights
The Annual Craftsmen’s Fair features a series of demonstrations, workshops and seminars, including clay sculpting, beading, rug braiding and much more. Guests may also enjoy three fine craft exhibitions: CraftWear, the Sculpture Garden, and Living With Craft. The CraftWear exhibition features stylish “art-to-wear” clothing, jewelry, and accessories for visitors to try on and purchase. The Sculpture Garden boasts a breathtaking display of landscape sculptures and garden ornaments. In Living With Craft, guests can envision their homes with a piece of handmade furniture, wall hanging or hand-crafted basket as they tour the exhibit, which showcases room settings with a creative fusion of handmade furniture and decorative items.

“There is so much to see, and do and touch!” Mitchell added. “Don’t be shy – talk to the artists. Every piece has a story to tell and artists love to tell those stories.”

Additional Annual Craftsmen’s Fair highlights include:

  • On Thursday, August 6, the Fair will be open until 8 pm to give visitors more time to shop and enjoy the activities, and admission is only $5 after 4 pm.
  • A Collectors Seminar on Monday, August 3, will give experienced and aspiring collectors alike the chance to learn the ins and outs of collecting. Sarah Chaffee, owner of McGowan Fine Art Gallery in Concord, and collector Bill Stelling will lead the seminar.
  • Fairgoers can purchase the League of NH Craftsmen’s 2015 annual ornament, Sweet Season, which is a hand-formed cast pewter maple tree adorned with a sap bucket. Kristine Lane and Paulette Werger, both juried in metal by the League, created this year’s ornament to celebrate New Hampshire’s springtime tradition of maple sugaring. Each ornament is numbered as one of a limited edition and signed by the artists. The ornament is beautifully gift-boxed and costs $25.
  • Visitors can learn more about their favorite craft with guided tours of the fair with a craftsman.  “The Artist’s Eye” tours offer visitors an insider’s perspective of craft on view, and fun, behind-the-scenes details of the oldest craft fair in the country.
  • The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts will sponsor an educational Fiber Arts tent featuring sheep and rabbits, along with demonstrations of traditional fiber techniques, such as weaving and quilting.
  • After a two-year hiatus, the League of NH Craftsmen is pleased to announce that the New Hampshire Art Association returns this year with artwork by members which will be displayed in the Spruce Lodge.
  • Enjoy a variety of strolling performances including oversized puppets, magicians, musicians, and much more!

Visit Lake Sunapee Region
Known for picturesque lakes and mountains and just a two-hour drive from Boston, the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair is just one of many reasons to visit the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region, as a popular ski resort is transformed into a world-class showcase of fine art and craft by nationally- and internationally-renowned craftspeople. Guests may also enjoy the M/V Kearsarge cruises and boat tours; the Fells Historic Estate and Gardens with its nature trails and tours of historic homes; as well as boating, kayaking, sailing and hiking. For more information on the region’s attractions and activities, visit the Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce website, www.lakesunapeenh.org.

The Mount Sunapee Resort Adventure Park features outdoor family adventures such as a canopy zip line, Segway excursions, a treetop obstacle course, miniature golf and more. Visitors can also take the chair lift to the top of Mount Sunapee and explore the summit. Advance reservations are required for the Canopy Zip Line Tour and the Segway Excursions. For more information, visit www.mountsunapee.com or call 603-763-3500.

Annual Craftsmen’s Fair Ticket Information
The 82nd Annual Craftsmen’s Fair is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, rain or shine, August 1 through August 9.  Admission is $12 for adults; $10 for seniors, students, active duty military (with ID), and groups of 20 or more (per person). For group ticket sales please call 603-224-3375. Admission is free for children 12 years old and younger. Admission includes access to all exhibitions and demonstrations; tickets for a second return day are available for an additional $5. Purchase tickets online at www.nhcrafts.org. Parking is free.

Picnic areas, a food tent, indoor cafeterias, and an outdoor Garden Café (serving adult beverages) are open daily. Please leave pets at home; only service animals are allowed on the grounds.


About the League of NH Craftsmen
The League of NH Craftsmen is a non-profit, craft education organization. Its mission is to encourage, nurture and promote the creation, use and preservation of fine contemporary and traditional craft through the inspiration and education of artists and the broader community. The League represents the signature of excellence in fine craft, through the work of its juried members, and its rigorous standards for quality craftsmanship. The League of NH Craftsmen is supported in part by a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information about the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair, or the League of NH Craftsmen, call 603-224-3375, email nhleague@nhcrafts.org, or visit the League’s website at www.nhcrafts.org.

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About Carol Robidoux 5787 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.