Friday, August 10, 2012

Resorting to Crafts in New Hampshire

On Tuesday I made sure the car had gas and headed to the 79th Annual Craftsmen's Fair sponsored by the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.  It was a beautiful day and an amazing drive.

I saw several "Moose Crossing" signs and NO armadillos in the road.  (I do believe I saw one deceased BADGER, though!)
 When I finally (thanks to Garmina Burana our GPS) arrived at Mt. Sunapee resort, I could not believe how hilly, spread out and LARGE the parking area(s) were.  You can imagine my relief and joy when I discovered there was a shuttle bus to the actual fair location.
 Since I am not a skier.. tell me... Do the skiers ONLY ski under the ski lifts coming back down?  Or do they whiz around all the trees?

In this blog, I'm writing about what I thought and felt about all this CREATIVITY... but I've documented the names and websites of most of the artists: here.  (Just didn't want to write it all twice, y'know?)
 I paid my admission and picked up the Official Program Guide and headed for the sculpture garden.  Our yard is big enough to HAVE a sculpture garden... though I must say I am enjoying the wide expanse of grass and greenery.

Just the same, it was kind of fun to think about what sort of "yard art" I might indulge in if I had the inclination and the money (and if Tim the Mower didn't mind mowing around it!).

These totem poles of ceramic "bubbles" reminded me a little of garden gnomes because of their tall peaked "hats."
 Or perhaps there could be a fantasy realm full of dragons.  This photograph is horrible.  The dragons were kind of all the same color with wonky wings, tails and manes... which made it hard to tell which end was which.  As someone who "did" clay a long time ago, I think these were probably more fun to make than they are to own.
If your yard has big dogs or uncoordinated children, I don't think this stained glass piece would be a good idea.  However... when I looked at the artists website... THERE were indoor and outdoor pieces that I would love to have.  Retrospectively this struck me as something they made as a representative piece that would be light weight for transport, and that would generate traffic to their business.  Merchandising!  It seems always to be about merchandising!  At least the one on the right has a sturdier frame.  Plus, if you put in a thorny bush, it would be protected somewhat.

 This is a feather made from steel.  I thought it was really cool.  Loved that the photograph shows the interesting shadows it makes.  Tell me, who would think of making a FEATHER out of steel?
 This piece didn't make sense to me, although since I followed the unwritten rule of "DO NOT TOUCH," I don't know if it was really made out of wood, or if it could have been ceramic or metal finished to look like wood.  I think wood (especially in REAL winter) wouldn't last very long.  (and none of these pieces were priced like the Dollar Store.)
 This fellow's clay sculptures, water gardens, containers, benches and bells were more interesting to me.  Too bad for my photographs because they interested everybody else, too... and they kept getting into my shots.  I'd love to have some sort of gate or post from which a big, low pitched bell or gong hung.  BONG.
 If you can't beat 'em, put em in your picture.
 Do you see the bears napping on the granite pillow?  Big black wooden bears napping in the sun.  FUN.
 This was a permanent installation donated by the League of NH Craftsmen and a lot of other groups on the 50th anniversary of the Mt. Sunapee State Park in 1988.  I wish I thought that after our current recession there was a civic out-pouring in favor of nature and the arts.
 An art shot.  While I sat on a bench and rested my feet. 
 Inside the "Ski" lodge there was a small exhibit of prints and 2d work.  My favorite was this lobster.  The artist apparently etches his designs into copper and then prints them.
 This is just the NEAREST parking lot.  There were two more farther down the hill... AND cars pulled in diagonally on both sides of the access road.

 This was one of the first booths I stopped at.  How can one resist iridescence combined with glass?

This bowl was almost 12 inches across.  Again, I really wish I could have touched it.

 This dragonfly plate was about the size of my hand (or a discus if you've been watching the Olympics.)
Dragonflies represent: maturity and depth of character, power and poise, defeat of self created illusions, living in the moment, and opening ones eyes (80% of a dragonfly brain has to do with sight... and they have 360 degree vision!)
 Did you know that DH and I bought a lathe before we left Texas?  THIS guy is in no danger of us crowding his sales.  The bowls were feather light, evenly thin, and beautifully shaped.  Inspiring.
 Mr. LaGasse is a basket maker and was demonstrating how he bends black Ash strips in a steam bath (heated and humidified by a hefty tea pot from Lee Valley Tools). He says he likes making big baskets best.  For all the clamps he uses to keep them square or rectangular... I understand why so many artisans love to have lots of clamps.  He also says you can make the wood pliable by just soaking it.  He happens to have a stream at his house which is just perfect for that.  Imagine.

 This little boy was enthralled with the clock maker (who I believe might have had a bit of brogue or lilt in his language.  Certainly the clock was magnificent.  This particular demonstration tent also showed how you can make GEARS out of wood and how you can make the gears turn each other backwards and forwards.
Check it out at
 These pots are all Raku fired.  The crackled turquoise vase was magnificent (about 4 feet tall!).  Mostly I've seen RAKU ware at art fairs that is much smaller.  I don't know whether that's what sells, or what... but I appreciated seeing so much gallery quality work.
 Remember when you "did" papier mache in elementary school?  Well, this artist has really figured out how to make it work.  She made animal groups like this one (and a dog with a cat on his head) as well as individual critters.
If you were a cow with a sheep on your back, wouldn't you like to have a pink bell held on with an organza ribbon?
Cracked me up.
 An artist friend from facebook told me about this fellow.  Instead of making furniture or bowls with wood, he uses the natural colors of wood to make vignettes and scenes.  Most of them are barns or roof lines... which are ALMOST becoming familiar to me.
 This cat is made by Jim Lambert.  I've actually seen his work in some galleries and magazine articles... So he's either REALLY prolific and a good salesman or really well liked.  Or both.  I especially liked the blue bird on the cat's tale.  Lambert uses found objects (or found pieces of wood) to make art out of.  He had an angel made out of pieces of a tin roof that was pretty spectacular.
And then there was this booth. Holy smoke!
If I ever get to the "recommended" weight I think I'd buy one of her jackets as a prize.  The colors!  The textures!  The panache!

And even though I didn't get any pictures of her booth, my needle felting friends will LOVE the work from Annie Frye.   Regrettably, I can't find a web site from her or photographs.  She does hand felting on black silk... giant Ginko leaves, flossoms, stems and so on.  That'll teach me not to take photographs.
And another woodworker. He was standing in front of the rocking chair I liked... so  you'll have to imagine.

 This glass blower's display was right in front of another bench I sat on to cool off.  The colors were amazing... and I realized that most glass artists do NOT put anything else with the glass... but putting flowers in what seems to be a vase is no doubt what most people will do... so it was good to see the vegetative flowers combined with the mineral glass.

 A different glass blower was demonstrating how you blow the glass.  I love to watch the process.  Especially when it isn't 110 degrees like the last time I was at a glass studio south of Dallas!  This fellow was sort of complaining that the "jig" he'd made out of chicken wire, wood and some heavier wire (to put texture into the sides of bottles) allowed the glass to touch and thus burn his new shoes.  Better than burn his toes.

 The NH Spinners and Dyers Guild had spinning wheels and spinners... but rather than sheep, they had Angora rabbits.  I had no idea how big an Angora rabbit can be.  (Bigger than a bread box and WAY hairier.)  The primary spinner had a rabbit on her lap and just pulled chunks of fur off him (or her, I'm not sure) which the rabbit didn't mind... and added it to the thread she was spinning!
 I need to find out how deep this lake is.. (Lake Sunapee).  It was SO blue.  Gorgeous... with some pretty fancy looking homes at water's edge.

No doubt I'd prefer the ones that are $999.000 to the $600,000 ones.  HA!

And some of these aren't even winterized.

 Newbury is a big, but underpopulated town just down the road.
38 square miles, 2072 people... only 54/sq. mi.
It is the home of the Bell Cove Historic Caboose Museum.
 It is also the site of the Central Meeting House.
So far as I can tell, it is non denominational (though it does have that New England Church look about it)... and is used for town meetings and rallies.
Tomorrow, in fact (Aug 11, 2012) it will be part of a tour of "Pulpits and Politics."  I don't know if Romney or Obama have been there.
And finally... this is a digital field day I had with a photograph of trees and roadside weeds I saw on my way home. 

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