The League of NH Craftsmen presents Celebrating 85 – The Stevens Collection, a fine craft exhibition to honor Norman Stevens’ 85th birthday and the League’s 85th Annual Craftsmen’s Fair.
This exhibition is open to the public from June 29th to September 21st in the Exhibition Gallery at the League of NH Craftsmen Headquarters, 49 South Main Street, Concord, NH. The Gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10am to 4pm during exhibitions.
Norman and his wife Nora are longtime League supporters and have been donating work to the League’s Permanent Collection since 1973. Celebrating 85 will feature 94 pieces of fine craft donated by the Stevens’ in the following media: jewelry, dolls, metal, baskets, ceramic, wood, fiber, glass, prints, and calligraphy.
“We have had a strong attraction to many of the items in this exhibit,” Nora and Norman Stevens explained. “Above all, we have had strong memories not just of the work we have donated, but also of our personal relationships with so many of the League’s past and present members and staff.”
An opening reception for Celebrating 85 – The Stevens Collection will be held on Friday, June 29th from 5 – 7 pm. This reception is held in conjunction with the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association and their exhibition On the Street – Works from the NH & Maine Prison Outreach Program, which is on display across the lobby from the League Exhibition Gallery.
We invite you to join us for this free, public reception which provides a great opportunity to interact with some of the craftsmen whose work is represented in this exhibition. This collection is not to be missed!
Join us for a Gallery Talk Wednesday, May 30, 2018!
Craftsmen take chances! They have chosen work with no guarantee of success or reward but they do it anyway.
Join us Wednesday, May 30th from 5:00 to 7:00 for a Gallery Talk featuring exhibitors who are participating in the exhibition. The panelists are Art Anderson, Jack Dokus, Kimberly Leach, and Connie Turin.
Hear and interact as our panelists give you insights into why and how they have chosen to become craftsmen. What challenges have they faced, what pitfalls have they had to overcome to get to the place they are today! And their advice to others about taking chances. There will be talk of flying witches, rainbows, dragons, and alien life forms as we explore their work in our Fairy Tales and Fantasies exhibition.
Fairy Tales and Fantasies, a fine craft exhibition presented by the League of NH Craftsmen, showcases surprising new work from our juried members influenced by their personal take on this whimsical theme. The exhibition is open to the public from April 6th to June 15th in the Exhibition Gallery at the League of NH Craftsmen Headquarters, 49 South Main Street in Concord, NH. The Gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10am to 4pm during the run of the show.
“Each piece in this exhibition tells a distinct story drawn from the imagination of the craftsperson,” explains League Standards Manager Catherine Green. “Fairy Tales & Fantasies is an opportunity for gallery visitors to enjoy the unexpected, and our juried members to explore their own interpretation of the theme.
The Smithsonian Craft Show is April 26 -29 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. We asked all of our League members who are participating in this year’s show to respond to this prompt:
In a world where many are attached to technology 24/7, and ordering online in the middle of the night is the norm for many people – why is fine hand craft important? And why should people go to craft shows to purchase craftsmen work?
Kathleen Dustin’s response:
In our busy lives where everything seems to be done vicariously on our devices, it is ever more important to have a relationship with the people and things around us. We go to museums to see the things humankind has made throughout millennia. Humans engage and express ourselves through the things we make, and what better way to do that than through going to a fine craft show and purchasing something handmade by a master craftsman. We then continue daily to engage with this finely handmade thing and express ourselves through it.
I make purses and will be exhibiting them for sale at the Smithsonian Craft Show. A purse is personal: you engage with it. Every time you open your handbag to pull out your lipstick or phone, your life is enhanced by this exquisite, finely crafted container. Plus, it shows others what a marvelous person you are.
Molly Grant’s response:
Many people enjoy making crafts, but not all people can make crafts to the high standard that is acceptable to Smithsonian craft patrons…
Being a Smithsonian artist is an honor….something I dreamed of decades ago before working with Master Cordwainer Paul Mathews. Now, because of his dedication to craft and quality and teaching me his skills, this has enabled me to reach for more…
Discovering, holding, visually taking in the beauty of something that is made by hand, is a joy to behold.
Blair LaBella’s response:
We live in interesting times with so many options available from all over the world. It really is quite amazing and impressive that you can find absolutely anything that you are looking for with the click of a button. It seems the latest rage always gets top attention, but when the dust settles, there are two types of purchases, those that are easily done on line, the mass produced functional and impersonal objects where you know exactly what you are getting. The other, the more one of a kind or small batch made purchases that are meant to be experienced in person. Having the up close and tactile interaction of handmade objects along with meeting the makers is a completely different and personal experience. Pick the piece up, turn it over, take in the details that aren’t so obvious with on line shopping. We have moved towards a more “experience based” place in time. Going to craft fairs, seeing and touching the work in person and having conversations with such a wide variety of craftspeople is an experience in itself. I am more likely to make a purchase from someone that I have made a positive connection with, which in turn also gives the piece more meaning for me. Being able to look at handmade objects and compare the quality and uniqueness of the pieces is something done only in person. We live in a time where everything moves so fast that we look for experiences to slow things down. Hand made is one way to accomplish that. What you see is what you get and we the craftspeople are there to stand with our work, one person and one object at a time. Online sales for craftspeople can be a huge benefit to one’s business, but having the in-person initial introduction solidifies a meaningful connection.
Hideaki Miyamura’s response:
Especially in the digital age, where our focus is often on our screens and our possessions are often disposable, we are nourished by things that are beautiful, special, and tactile. I want each object I make to feel in balance with its environment and stand in harmony with what is around it. This is in contrast to the digital experience, which can be isolating. A close relationship is formed between me, the maker, and the person who decides to buy and live with one of my works.
Irina Okula’s response:
In a digital world of instant gratification, how does a traditional craft compete? I do ceramics because I feel a need to express and create. It is relaxing and challenging and it gets me up in the morning and excited about working. I love to make things for people to use knowing that my work becomes part of their lives. There is something magical about handmade work because it reveals the spirit of the artist. Part of me goes into my work. Each work is one of a kind and sometimes a piece of art, which I am always striving for.
It is important for people to come to the fair so they can support the artist and be able to meet the artist. It gives the people an opportunity to talk to the artist about their work. Because the work is handmade, the customer can pick it up, touch and be able to feel the piece. Art is what makes us human and reveals much about us as a people and a culture. These human experiences cannot be found by ordering a mug on eBay, or simply visiting an artist’s web page.
For more details about this year’s Smithsonian Craft Show, visit smithsoniancraftshow.org. Look for more information on the League’s upcoming 85th Annual Craftsmen’s Fair in our next E-News!
The League is in the final days of its Annual Fund Campaign. The Annual Fund is vitally important to the League and its mission. Last year we surpassed our goal and raised $53K. This year we set our goal even higher hoping to reach $65K. At this time we are at a respectable $40K and we still have a little over two weeks to go before we end our fiscal year.
The staff and I do our best to keep our juried and supporting members informed on all of the activities at the League. Most notably our Exhibitions, Fine craft galleries and Craftsmen’s Fair make up a large part of our communications. Needless to say there is never a lack of work to be done at Headquarters. It dawned on me that in the midst of our Annual Fund Campaign it would be appropriate to share with you what is happening behind the scenes on behalf of our organization.
The League was accepted and is participating in this program offered by the NH Center for Nonprofits. This program will help us identify how we can secure our position in the nonprofit world. Divided into a series of webinars, in-person workshops, and phone coaching sessions, the six-month program will take participating organizations through processes to:
Develop a clearer understanding of their own dual bottom line – financial viability and mission impact
Identify strategic imperatives for sustainability
Receive professional advice and coaching to bring innovation and change to their nonprofit
Offer an opportunity for advanced leadership development to board and staff
Build capacity to fulfill their mission
We are about 1/3 of the way through the process and we are already beginning to see the benefits of this program.
Our database has been a challenge to our fundraising, development and outreach projects which affects every aspect in the business of operating a successful nonprofit. At this time, we estimate that we are approximately 40% through our data base update. This is revealing many opportunities to modernize the way we work in the office such as streamlining our application for the Fair, exhibitions and other events. We are also able to refine our data for grant applications and development (fundraising) efforts. We are looking forward to working with the new data base which is being tailored to support the unique needs of our organization and will save a tremendous amount of staff time.
Plans for our new website are well underway. We are now in the midst of the process to design and build the new website focusing on the needs of the organization and current website operating standards such as use on mobile devices. We are aiming to launch the new website in May.
As a self-employed artist and entrepreneur for over 30 years I am keenly aware of the cost of doing business and the needless waste which can occur with a lack of oversight. The staff at Headquarters makes every attempt possible to make efficiency one of our greatest priorities. We are regularly applying for grants and searching for funders for specific projects. The Annual Craftsmen’s Fair takes the majority of our attention and we strive to create a very well run and well promoted event which serves our juried members and the organization at large. However, the need for more revenue is constant and the Annual Fund plays an important part in our success.
I hope that these insights encourage you to support what we do on a daily basis to maintain and promote the importance of one of New Hampshire’s most iconic organizations, and the craftsmen we serve.
Thank you for your interest in and support of the League. We appreciate any contribution you are able to make to our Annual Fund – and if you have already donated, thank you again.
With your help we can reach our goal!