Nothing is done until the last touches are applied. The icing on the cake…that swipe of lipstick…that last piece of the puzzle; satisfaction comes from seeing all the elements come together in any project. The cabinets have arrived and the artist’s wares are being placed on shelves in the new League of NH Craftmen’s fine craft gallery in Hooksett. Take a peek at how it is coming together for Saturday’s grand opening.
Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday February 14th, 2015, 2:00. Hooksett Welcome Center I93 north bound.
of the League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Gallery at the
Hooksett Welcome Center on I-93 Northbound
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2:00 PM
Ribbon cutting and accolades to our supporters:
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The Duprey Companies
Mount Sunapee Resort
The Curt and Alice DeSouza Little Fund
of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
and an Anonymous Donor
Come and meet the Manager and Sales Staff, enjoy light refreshments.
This new venue will serve to educate the public about fine craft,
promote the work of League juried craftsmen, and will encourage travelers
and commuters to shop at the seven League fine craft galleries throughout New Hampshire.
With cabinet designs firmly under construction next came the fun part of creating that backdrop to showcase the work of the League of NH Craftsmen in their new space. As much fun as it would have been to go crazy with fixture design (I am an artist after all) restrain is always needed when showcasing artwork to let the back drop be just that; a supporting role to highlight and magnify the work of others.
On one of our later visits to the space we were surprised to see that the decorative ceiling painting in entire space had extended down into our own open-air retail space. The warm wood-tones of natural maple fixtures combined with this ceiling color [Sherwin Williams “Secure Blue”] gave me the jumping off point to choose final colors. Another opportunity to remain zen, we were told the ceiling color was “Atmospheric Blue” that we based our gradation on then had to change on the spot.
With the upper part of our wall being the dark blue and having the need for it to be a neutral where our artisans wares were to be placed, I decided on a gradation in the style of the ceiling. “Secure Blue” fading to “Atmospheric Blue” fading into California Paints “Waterloo” then ending with “Stucco Tan”, each color smudged into its previous.
Rule of thumb; when artwork of varying colors, textures and intensities are to be displayed together, the backdrop needs to be a “neutral” color that contains redness, yellowness AND blueness. What we think of as neutral color—like gray for example—may not truly be neutral & can be detracting if it is not balanced with all 3 hues. If you mix red, yellow and blue together you get brown; so think beige and tans for truly neutral.
The volunteer painting crew L to R: Prudy Gagne, the League’s Finance Director and Catherine Green, the League’s Standards & Education Manager. Terri Wiltse, the League’s Operations Manager & Fair Director is taking the picture and was ALWAYS behind the scenes through this entire project!
Catherine—who is also an artist—doing the delicate job of blending all colors one into another to create the gradation down the wall to end with our perfect neutral. I missed out on all the painting because I was moving into a new home this week.
Also happening during this time period:
- Terri worked with Big Jim’s to have a specialized door designed to fit into the unusually large opening to the space.
- The committee worked with Advantage Signs to design a sign for the exterior of the space utilizing an artisan-made wrought-iron hanging post recycled from the Concord League gallery.
Next post will show setting up the shop!
A final delivery is only as good as the labor that went into it; ask any mother! So as the League of NH Craftsmen prepares to deliver it’s newest gallery to the public this week-end, here is another look behind the scenes at what has gone into creating it. See part 1 of this series for the background story.
As the building site developed over this last fall so did our little space. The original blue prints changed unbeknown to us; long walls became longer and short walls became shorter. So I came up with a new set of space plans and we were finally comfortable to begin a conversation with the cabinet maker. Ted Ney, of North Cove Design, understood this process so was happy to receive loose sketches to base his bid on knowing that sometime later we would dial in the actual measurements.
As the months went by with construction delays (very typical) in December we were finally able to get into the space with Ted to measure, only to discover that the interior walls were still not up, windows that were to be here ended up there and unexpected beams crossed overhead. Thus a new set of layout plans were needed. Word to the wise; changes always happen in construction so never cast your plans in stone until the final interior walls are up.
The choice was made to have our fixtures built in maple. Very blond when first milled, maple will age with UV light to become quite golden. Since these fixtures will be housing a myriad of colors and tones I decided to choose a laminate—for the pieces that needed a counter top—in a grayed sand-beige. The cool tone of the “gray” compliments the yellow-orange tone of the wood to make a balanced backdrop. And like any project, my first choice was not available thus the opportunity to practice staying fluid and zen. 🙂
Other decisions by the team that were finalized during this time period:
- The point of purchase sales system nailed down.
- The over-head lighting issues; to track or not to track.
- Interviews began for the sales staff.
- Searched and found ready-made display shelves for walls.
- Put out a call to artist’s to stock the store.
Color choices in the next post…..
It began with a simple idea; bring the hidden work of craftsmen to the public eye. During the Great Depression this was the mission of the League of NH Craftsmen; to support and expose the great craftsmen here in New Hampshire. In 2015 the League continues their mission by opening another gallery to showcase craft which I am proud to have had a part in. Follow this blog series to see some of my design ideas and for the final unveiling of this new gallery around the first of February!
In the mid-1920’s of rural New Hampshire when crafting what you needed by hand was a home art, this form of functional beauty was recognized and a store was opened to showcase the work. A league of craftsmen was formed which eventually became todays League of NH Craftsmen that hosts seven galleries, craft education centers and an internationally acclaimed craftsmen’s faire. Their newest gallery is being planned to open at the Hooksett visitors rest area along I93 and I had the pleasure of designing the space.
I follow the traditions of those early craftsmen as you may have noticed throughout the history of this blog. In the same scrappy way, I exercise my artistic expression through many avenues, crafting what I see in my mind’s eye with the use of my hands and limited tools. (My arthritis will testify to that!) So as a juried member of the League when presented with the opportunity to design the interior of this new LNHC store, my old-fashioned ways were embraced. No Autocad; just sketches and discussions and visual representations. This is the League at it’s best; recognizing the quirky craftsmen’s mind and letting us execute our ideas in our individual way. [this sounds like another topic for a blog post!]
The back story: The League was approached by the builder of the new visitors rest stop in Hooksett, NH to be part of his retail vision; a sampling of NH-made goods in a microcosm representation of New Hampshire for visitors entering the state on I93. LNHC embraced the idea for this new type of craftsmen’s gallery; a microcosm of its own self as a way to further educate the public to our nationally known fine craft. So committee was formed who worked diligently for months on end to make this vision become reality.
The store space presented a design challenge; only 300 square feet to represent not only the 800+ juried members but the existing larger galleries. The negotiations began long ago in the spring of 2014 when there was no store space even framed yet; architectural plans were subject to change, actual measurements were unclear, lighting and windows were unknown and there was no way to visualize.
But these were our guiding design principles:
- Educate and entice the eye of the customer with carry-home sized craft while showcasing larger craft as a backdrop to lead them to the larger gallery spaces.
- Showcase all the forms of craft that the League supports; jewelry, metal, glass, clay, wood, paper and fiber.
- Have the fixtures support the feel of a hand-crafted studio while still allowing for modern technology that allows us to bring the work to the public.
- Have the colors used enhance the many varieties of work that will be displayed.
Terri Wiltse, the League’s operation manager, and myself on one of our first trips to the site.
Watch for the next posts to see how the plans developed.