July 15th, 2011 by Dennis Shanoff
I’m not sure what the official count of craftspeople & artisans (making some or all of their income from their crafts) in the state of Vermont is but if I had to guess I would say it is easily in the thousands? Vermont certainly has to be one of the top states for high quality, fine arts & crafts work. Studios, workshops, and galleries can be found in practically every Vermont city and town. I suppose it could take months to visit even half of them. The diversity of the media choice these talented artisans choose is equally overwhelming! Clay, fiber, paper, wood, glass, jewelry, and metal works are all well represented. And expect to find not only traditional type works but plenty of one of a kind pieces. Saying one could build a vast and eclectic collection of Vermont art pieces is absolutely an understatement.
So from now through the fall is about the time we start to see the larger organized craft festivals and open studio weekends in Vermont. I will highlight a few popular August ones below and no doubt a quick web search would yield many more.
The first weekend in August brings the very popular Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival held at the historical Hildene's Meadow in Manchester, VT (Hildene, as shown here was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln– Robert was the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln). At the Hildene festival you will be able to meet and see the work of 150 artisans plus take in some great food and music. This long running juried festival is a must attend for the arts & crafts aficionado.
Moving up to the middle of the state and the middle of the month (Aug 13 & 14) is an “Art in the Park” event hosted by the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, VT. Fifty years running, this event brings in juried, high quality craftsman as well as fine art, great food and live music. The estimated 7000 – 9000 attendees suggests that this event is worth the trip!
The following Saturday (August 20th) and just down the street from Rutland in Ludlow, VT is the Fletcher Farm School Annual Arts & Crafts Festival. Over 90 fine artist and craftsman will be exhibiting top quality works across all medias. And if seeing all this beautiful handiwork inspires your creative side you are in the right place! The Fletcher Farm just happens to be a school for the arts and crafts. Their course program covers just about every type of art or craft!
And if you can’t make these dates you can always visit one or more of the Vermont State Craft Centers. Open year round, these centers are state approved and they showcase exclusively Vermont made works that meet high quality, uniqueness and variety standards.
We at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture hope you get the chance to travel to and discover the incredible Vermont arts & craft scene soon. We know you will find something you just can’t live without! And so you know, our connection to the Vermont artisan scene is our representation and marketing of the works of over 20 highly skilled and acclaimed fine wood furniture makers. We like to think of these craftsman as creators of functional art!