We labor all year on our arts and crafts preparing for an Open Studio in the hope that someone will come and recognize our inspired process. We hope that our souls will be seen through our work, that the spark that drives us will be showcased and that the viewer will be touched. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of deadlines. But it’s a labor of love.
In this past month in preparation for my 11/4 & 5 Open Studio I have updated my website, designed & mailed a postcard, designed & published an email newsletter, uploaded pictures to Facebook & Instagram, personally invited past patrons and reorganized my studio. It’s a lot of work but it’s a labor of love.
Today I am photographing and writing a blog post. It’s a lot of work but it’s a labor love.
In this next week I will be completing several new works, adding a new artistic touch to my road sign and posting more to Facebook and Instagram. It’s a lot of work but it’s a labor of love.
In the last week before Open Studio I will be completing more new work, hanging the show, making refreshments, cleaning up my yard & entrance way and keeping my fingers crossed that people will come. It’s a lot of work but it’s a labor of love.
Why do we make art? Why do we put ourselves through this intensive process? It’s a big topic and there are many inspirations, but, basically it’s love.
In this troubled world we need art and artists to comfort ourselves and remind us what love feels like and to rekindle the fire in our own soul. So rule of thumb; if you ever see an Open Studio sign any time, any place or any where; stop. It means the world to those who have gone through this process and you just might feel good yourself.
Come to my Open Studio and visit all my fellow Canterbury Artisans that will be open on the same days, November 4th and 5th. We are part of the state-wide NH Open Doors Tour in association with the League of NH Craftsmen, supporting and encouraging artisans since 1932.
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.
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.
I have just completed a new quilted artwork inspired by the Call to Entry from the League of NH Craftsmen HOT STUFF exhibit that opens on January 10th in Concord, New Hampshire. “Shadows and Flame” is a throw back to my original roots in textile art; it is a true quilt, not stretched as I have done in the recent past but instead stitched tightly with under-turned edges that reinforce a firm hanging format.
The quilt features hand painted, hand dyed and over-painted fabrics with microscopic piecing, fused reverse appliqued and detailed stitching which includes the wording for the color formulas used to make the paint colors.
Please join me on opening night of the exhibit to see this work and the other work of some other amazing artists that the League supports. Friday, January 10th 5:00 to 7:00. Wine tasting by LaBelle Winery. LNHC Gallery – 49 South Main Street suite 100 , Concord, NH 603-224-3375. Shows runs through March 21st.