Setting the Standard

The latest exhibition at League Headquarters in Concord, NH celebrates both the skill and dedication of the League’s jurors. Experts in their areas of craft, they donate their time to not only critique the work of those who are new to the organization, but also to offer direction, guidance and inspiration to them.

Being a League juror is both a validation of what I’ve learned in my 40 year career, and a marvelous learning opportunity in and of itself. There’s as much to be leigh-english-4learned from each new applicant as there is excitement in seeing what he or she has done with the same basic information and tools that all calligraphers start out with. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be part of the process of encouraging potential new members to continue to explore their creativity within the nurturing framework of the League.”
– Leigh English

The public reception for this exhibition will be held from 5 – 7 PM on Friday, January 13th. All are invited to join us. Read the press release here.

Spotlight on a Craftsman – Michael Crocker

michael-crockerMichael Crocker lives in Loudon, New Hampshire. Hand shaping and carving one-of-a-kind walking sticks has been his craft for more than twenty years. He is a New England native who acquired his love for nature and woodworking from his grandfather, a Maine hunting and fishing guide and well known fly rod maker.

Michael is a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, a member of the New England Woodcarvers and the Affiliated Wood Carvers, Ltd. Michael plans to compete at the upcoming International Woodcarvers Congress which will be held in Iowa this summer.

Michael’s creations start by shaping and sanding a hardwood blank. Using a variety of tools including carving knives and small gouges, he begins the creative process of meticulously carving the piece. A careful and gradual refining of the design is accomplished with smaller and more precise tools. The piece then undergoes several grades of finish sanding until the surface is flawless. A stain or protective finish may be added depending on the particular needs of the wood. To complete the process, a metal tip and rubber boot are firmly installed and the stick is ready for sale or competition. The result is an exquisitely crafted heirloom piece that can be enjoyed for years and handed down for generations.

Always inspired by the natural beauty of the incredible hardwoods he obtains, Michael strives to blend and highlight the very best of each hardwood’s attributes. The luminous tones, figured patterns and rich colors are beautifully enhanced to form elegant and intriguing walking sticks that are a statement of the artist’s craft and life.

Michael Crocker won Best In Show Overall at the New England Woodcarver’s Spirit of Wood Show and Competition in October 2016. The winning piece was a Wenge Octopus cane.

Spotlight on a Gallery – North Conway

north-conwayThe North Conway gallery has gone through some big changes over the last two years. With 10 years experience as the manager/owner, Karissa Masse Jacobs is now running the show on her own. The glassblowing facility has been removed, and renovations to the gallery are currently in progress. These changes will include two new artist studios which will become available for craftsmen to rent, one right on the gallery’s main floor, and one in the loft above the gallery. These studios will be a fantastic way to educate the public about the art of fine craft making, as well as generating great exposure for the craftsmen in residence there.

Additionally, the gallery has expanded in size by about 30%. This spacious new gallery, with beautiful granite floors, features additional jewelry cases, furniture, photography, prints, and shelves full of colorful blown glass. Customers are thrilled to see the changes and enjoy perusing the new gallery space. With the holiday season upon us, Karissa reports that a mountain of new inventory is arriving daily to the gallery from craftsmen around the state. Happily, with the addition of this new space there is more than enough room to accommodate! The generous fine craft displays in the gallery, as always, are lovingly considered and beautifully presented, to showcase each item at its very best.

Below the craft gallery, on the first floor, pottery classes have been running full tilt. League juried member, Jennie Blair, has taken the pottery studio into her skilled and experienced hands for the last 2 years, teaching classes, offering open studios for pottery students, maintaining and managing the studio and firing schedules, and even offering pottery demonstrations to gallery patrons. The demand for pottery classes has been so strong as to keep them running virtually without a break week after week. You can view the current class listing on the North Conway website, and be sure to check back again, as new class offerings appear regularly.

In addition to the changes on the main floor Karissa also intends to renovate an additional classroom on the lower level, adjacent to the pottery studio. This new classroom will create a perfect environment to accommodate other craft mediums. Hopefully by the spring there will be a variety of additional craft class offerings, such as basket weaving, jewelry making, and stained glass.

The North Conway League Gallery has been in operation since 1932. With positive energy, exciting changes, and a long history of beautiful fine craft, the North Conway Fine Craft Gallery certainly has a lot going on. Come and see for yourself!

Juried and Supporting Membership

Curious about becoming a juried member of the League? What is a critique? What happens at a jury? If you are a craftsman and have these questions, 2017 could be the year you find out! Contact Catherine, Standards and Gallery Manager, cgreen@nhcrafts.org with any questions. She is also a juried member and has been through the process herself.

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Join us January 13, 2017 5:00 -7:00 pm for the reception of our new exhibition, Setting the Standard, the work of the jurors, and meet Catherine and the League’s jurors. More information about jurying will be available.

Not ready to consider juried membership, but want to become more involved?
Become a supporting member of our organization and enjoy news of events and classes – as well as tickets to the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair! Already a member? Consider upgrading to a higher level and receive additional Fair tickets to bring a friend or family member with you!