The League at the Governor’s Inaugural Celebrations

inaugural-event-2In early December, the League of NH Craftsmen was approached by Catherine Sununu, Inauguration Celebration Chair, who was preparing inaugural events for her brother, Governor Chris Sununu. The Sununu family expressed a love for the state of NH and a desire to showcase the work of NH craftsmen and the heritage, culture and nature of the region. They asked for the work of our craftsmen to be placed on the tables of the inaugural events across the state, with League branding and the opportunity for the pieces to be seen by and possibly purchased by those in attendance.

Our Operations Manager, Kate Sussman, seized this tremendous opportunity to have the work of our craftsmen front and center at these events, and coordinated with craftsmen and our Hooksett and Concord Fine Craft Galleries to ensure we would have the needed number of pieces. Kate along with Denise Kirk (Hooksett Gallery Manager) and Robert Dorr (League Craftsman) brought the work to the inaugural dinners in Portsmouth, Nashua and Bretton Woods, and designed each table with an array of League craft. This was a great opportunity for craftsmen exposure at the state level. In addition, banners highlighting the League, its history and tradition were on display. All items were on loan from our craftsmen and organized by League staff with the ability to generate sales.

Setting the Standard – Gallery Exhibition

The opening reception of “Setting the Standard” at League Headquarters had a record breaking turnout, and we continue to see numerous visitors enjoying the work of the League’s jurors, as well as the updated display of permanent collection pieces. Of special note are the artist’s statements from the Jurors, which provide not only insight into their inspiration and techniques, but also a sense of the significance of the jury process. For all considering juried membership, this exhibition is truly a tremendous chance to view the work and words of these remarkable craftsmen.

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We hope you will stop in the next time you are in Concord. The Gallery at League Headquarters is located at 49 South Main Street, directly across the street from the Capitol Center for the Arts. The exhibition runs through March 24th.

Spotlight on a Gallery – Nashua

February at the Nashua LNHC Gallery will include our fabulous line-up of Saturday workshops, twice-weekly basket classes, and ongoing jewelry making classes.

We have a great selection of jewelry, glass, wood, scarves and hats, wall art and more to delight your “Valentine” this year. To make your shopping even more fun, come join us for Downtown Nashua’s Chocolate Stroll. This yummy event takes place on Saturday, February 11 from 10am – 5pm and allows you to choose your Valentine’s Day gifts while you enjoy some tasty chocolate treats, and then peruse the rest of the participating Main Street shops.

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Feel free to use the free parking behind our building for shopping or when you come to take a class. The League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Gallery in Nashua is your destination for fine craft and craft education in the Gate City. Visit our website for more information.

 

Spotlight on a Craftsman – Lauren Pollaro

lauren-pollaro-workMy mixed-media jewelry pieces represent my love for creating harmony with dissimilar materials. I am inspired to combine colors and textures, materials and techniques. My approach to working with mixed-media is an experimental and spontaneous process. It is my intention to create a piece that is unusual, dynamic and expressive as well as having the integrity of being well-made.

Being a juror, I not only look at work in terms of meeting standards, but also find it important to raise the question “does the work represent the spirit of the maker?” This is especially true in mixed media since there are so many different types of craft we see in this category. My role as juror is an honor as well as being personally rewarding. It gives me the opportunity to share my insights and knowledge in what will (hopefully) be taken constructively to enhance the process of another maker. In exchange, I often learn from another’s approach to their medium. I enjoy working collaboratively in the jurying process, sharing ideas with fellow craftspeople, especially since I work alone in my studio.

My home/studio is nestled in the woods on the southern coast of Maine. Work for me is more than a full-time job, but a lifestyle and I am grateful for the many quiet hours I spend involved in creating. Art has always been a part of my life as I come from a family of accomplished artists. I have degrees in Art and English from the University of New Hampshire and job experience in graphic design and magazine production. I am self taught in many aspects of my work and have otherwise taken courses and workshops to learn the technical skills required for metalsmithing and enameling. I have been working as a studio jeweler and mixed-media artist for over 25 years and market my work through fine craft shows and galleries.

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!