Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

How to Evaluate Fine Handmade Objects

Monday, June 27th, 2022


By decorative fabric needle felting artist Juliana Boyd, South Hamilton, Mass.

Great Barrington-based potter Dan Bellow

Most people sell their time in addition to their service and/or skill. That goes for a chauffeur, bus driver, plumber, PR person, dentist, lawyer, babysitter, computer techie, physician, financial advisor, artisan or artist for starters.

So how do fine craft artists calculate the prices of objects they have designed and created?

I asked my client, Richard Rothbard, who with his wife Joanna Rothbard, has promoted the work of artists and artisans for over three decades in his galleries and at shows and festivals. He owns An American Craftsman Galleries in Lenox, Mass. and is days away from swinging open the gate on the 21st annual Berkshires Arts Festival, July 1, 2 and 3, in Great Barrington at scenic Ski Butternut.


Iva Kalikow, Fine Art in Glass, Beckett, MA

Artists shoulder the same skyrocketing costs as any business, he reminded. To exhibit their work there’s gas for hours-long trips via van and propane or oil to run a  kiln or furnace 24/7 for potters or glass blowers. Just as the price of commercial construction supplies have increased, so have fine woods–some quadrupling–for the vessels, sculptures and implements artisans fashion.


Designer Dahlia Popovits, Boston,
Mass.

The time to create one fine work precludes making a normal living said Rothbard. “It can take six hours for a glass artist to fabricate a piece for which he charges $400. If there were no expenses–such as the purchase and maintenance of a furnace, shears, paddles, tweezers, blowpipe and raw material, not to mention marketing and insurance costs–the artisan would make less than $60/hour. And consider the years it took to perfect the skill.”

Some of the exhibitors at the Berkshires Arts Festival who use furnaces or kilns are Michael Radigan, Pittsford, N.Y., creator of fused glass plates, bowls, pendants and sculptures and stained glass artist Iva Kalikow, Fine Art in Glass, Beckett, Mass.; potters Lynne Puhalla, North Attleboro, Mass.; Dan Bellows, master potter, Great Barrington and Jenna Cranna Cahalan, New Milford, Conn. as well as ceramicist Gail Markiewicz, Woodbridge, Conn.

Rothbard observed that if artisans paid themselves what their customers make an hour, few could afford their work. According to comparably.com, the average salary of a crafter in the U.S. in 2018 was $33,572, the median $30,720 with ranges from $18,680  to $59,750. In the “Quality of Life” section of the website: “With a take-home pay of roughly $2,478/month, and the median 2BR apartment rental price of $2,506/mo, a Crafter would pay 101.14% of their monthly take-home salary towards rent.”

Do you own and enjoy jewelry, ceramics, wood pieces, fashions, photographs, art glass, prints or paintings you bought in a craft boutique or art festival?


Sculpture by fine wood turning artist Paul Petrie, Gloversville, N.Y.

Service of Anger III

Monday, June 6th, 2022

Outside the Metropolitan Museum, NYC, May, 2022

I’ve covered the anger category in 15 posts since 2008, head-on in 2011 and 2016. The repercussions of anger have been in the news far too often between mass shootings–seven over the weekend killing 11–war in Ukraine, political primaries and the way some citizens attack others over anything they disagree about from masks to slogans on clothing and bumper stickers. One statistic claims 111 are killed by gunshot daily, some no doubt are as a result of anger.

Nor is the art world immune. Increasingly people take out their anger in public ways. You may have seen a video of the man in a wig in a wheelchair at the Louvre in Paris. He smeared cake on the glass that covers the Mona Lisa. He first tried to break the bulletproof protection, according to eyewitnesses, wrote Eileen Kinsella on artnet.com.

Her article focused on a destructive fit that happened closer to home. In “A Man Broke Into the Dallas Museum of Art and Smashed Ancient Greek Artifacts Because He Was ‘Mad at His Girl,’” she reported that the damage could exceed $5 million according to some estimates. The suspect, 21, was taken into custody. He got in by smashing a glass door with a steel chair, Kinsella reported. The damaged pieces were from the 5th and 6th centuries B.C.E. You’d think the destruction of the museum door might have been enough to cool off the perpetrator.

Museum director Agustin Arteaga told Kinsella “There was no intention, from what we can see, of stealing anything, of damaging any work of art in a deliberate way. It was just someone who was going through a moment of anger and found this as a way to express it.”

Do you think that media spotlight of each of these occurrences inspires other bad actors? Should there be an embargo on coverage of attacks on the public and of property? Do some people act out so violently because they are inarticulate due to poor education therefore they can’t express their anger in more appropriate ways?

Not Paris: Fifth Avenue NYC outside the Met Museum

Service of the Art of People Thinking They Can Get Away with Things

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

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I feel wonder when I read about a long-time super scammer and all the people bamboozled and harmed. And then there are those who think that they can whitewash dirty deeds with good ones. They’ve all been at work for centuries. How is it that each thinks they’ll be the ones to get away with their dastardly deeds?

Artful Theft
The incidence that triggered half this post involved a Canadian dealer who collected art on consignment or to appraise and instead of returning pictures or giving the original owner the sales proceeds he kept the money or a thousand works to the tune of tens of $millions, according to Jo Lawson-Tancred on artnet.com.

Police haven’t identified the thief, though he has been arrested and released. Lawson-Tancred postulates his name and his gallery based on other news sources.


Image by Kai Pilger from Pixabay

What a Pill
The Sackler family, whose marketing methods to promote painkiller Oxycontin for Purdue Pharma helped addict millions while making bucket loads of money, had for decades burnished the family name by supporting cultural institutions and initiatives here and abroad. Artist Nan Goldin, who once suffered from opioid addiction, founded an advocacy organization, Sackler P.A.I.N., to pressure museums to cut ties with them. As a result a few more have just erased the Sackler name from walls and websites according to Sarah Cascone, also with artnet.com.

She reported that although it took a while, The Guggenheim in NYC has finally removed Sackler from its Center for Arts Education and in London, the National Gallery made a similar move. About its Room 34 she wrote: “The name had been in place since 1993, when Mortimer and Theresa Sackler funded the renovation of the room, rehanging works by British masters in a space once dedicated to 18th-century Italian paintings, according to the London Times.”

Cascone further reported: “The latest draft of the bankruptcy settlement will allow institutions in the U.S. to remove the family name without penalty.” Yet there are a few dragging their feet. The Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics and Sackler Educational Laboratory remain in place at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A in London, “has been outspoken in his continued support of the family,” and its name remains on the Sackler Courtyard.

Artist Goldin told Cascone: “We hope that billionaires who shower institutions with their blood money watch the Sacklers’ cultural reckoning and take note that they can be next.”

Is the art world more vulnerable to scams than other industries? Have you heard about any skillful scammers of major proportions of late? Do you agree that the Sackler name and reminders of the family’s generosity from money made off opioid addiction should be removed from the museums it has supported?

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Service of a $200,000 Watch and Nowhere to Go

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Patek Philippe sports watch Photo: Luxury of Watches

Excess at a time when so many citizens suffer strikes a wrong note.

The pandemic opened eyes to hunger and financial distress in this country exacerbated by furloughs and firings. Sigal Samuel on vox.com wrote: “56 percent of US households gave to charity or volunteered in response to the pandemic, and the first half of 2020 saw a 12.6 percent increase in the number of new donors to charity compared to one year ago.”

Nevertheless spending on luxuries goes on more than usual. The capitalist in me says “That’s good–people are employed and businesses thrive” followed by a but….

Photo: bestbridalshop.com

A few days after I heard about a bride from a hardworking middle class family paying $6,000 for a wedding dress I saw Jacob Bernstein’s New York Times article “Here’s How Bored Rich People Are Spending Their Extra Cash.” I wondered if for every luxury buy the purchasers sent an equivalent amount to a charity. I did a hasty Google search to find articles about individual charitable donations in the $200,000 to $6 million range equal to some of the items identified below. I didn’t find any– which doesn’t mean none were given.

About the $6,000 wedding dress, a contemporary of mine said that the price tag is expected and only a starting point, though other friends knew of brides who looked heavenly and recently spent in the $1,500 range.

Bernstein reported that big spenders once called themselves collectors but now refer to themselves as investors. He wrote: “Rather than elbowing past each other for reservations at the latest restaurants from Marcus Samuelsson and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, or getting into bidding wars for apartments at 740 Park Avenue, they are one-upping each other in online auctions for jewelry, watches, furniture, sports cards, vintage cars, limited-edition Nikes and crypto art.”

740 Park Avenue. Photo: streeteasy.com

Retailers are sensitive to the situation. Some wouldn’t speak with him on the record about sales. One admitted almost selling out $90,000 earrings. A Patek Philippe sports watch that retails at $85,000 “can seldom be found on 47th Street for much less than $200,000.” [47th Street is the jewelry district in Manhattan.] An expert told Bernstein that demand for these watches remained as Switzerland closed down due to the pandemic. He said that the money spent on travel is directed to collectibles–uh, investments.

Bernstein reported a 1973 Porsche sold for $1.2 million last year when before the pandemic the same make and model sold for $560,000.

“In February, a digital artwork of Donald Trump facedown in the grass, covered in words like ‘loser,’ sold for $6.6 million, a record for a nonfungible token, or NFT, so called because there’s no physical piece for the buyer to take possession of.”

You get the gist. Bernstein shares many more examples.

Have you heard of record-breaking charitable donations during the pandemic?  As for collectors of pricey items calling themselves investors: Does paying outrageous prices during extraordinary circumstances sound like the makings of a very good investment to you? But what do I know? I think paying $6,000 for a wedding dress is over the top. And you?

Porsche 1973 Photo: opumo.com

 

Service of the Story Behind the Picture

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Norman Rockwell self portrait. Photo: painted.com

I love to read captions in museums with nuggets of information beside objects and pictures. It was from such a label by a pair of gloves at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y. that I learned, decades ago, that FDR’s father, James Roosevelt I, was considerably older than his mother Sara–26 years in fact. Captions of pictures with no information other than the artist’s name and date irritate me, especially if the picture goes by “Untitled.”

“Bright Future for Banking” Photo: theknow.denverpost.com

Stories behind pictures, an artist or illustrator are fun to read. James Barron wrote such a piece in The New York Times: “A Model and Her Norman Rockwell Meet Again.”

Charlotte Sorenson, an octogenarian living in Boulder, Colo., was 15 when she posed for a Rockwell illustration “Bright Future for Banking,” that he created in around 1955 for a bank ad. She is in a white cap and gown, front, right, in the photo at the right. The picture was published inside the Saturday Evening Post, not on its cover where his most iconic work appeared. Sorenson recently saw the illustration in a gallery ad because it is for sale–more about that shortly.

His models, regardless of the destination of the work, most often were his Stockbridge, Mass. neighbors. Sorenson told Barron “‘It was quite common to be sitting somewhere or walking somewhere, and he would spot you and in his mind he had some painting that he was thinking of, so he would ask you or send somebody to ask if you would come up to his studio.’” While she posed alone schoolmates surrounded her in the illustration. To name a few she identified “Carrots,” for her red hair and two Normans. She admitted she was disappointed that the art didn’t appear on a cover.

Barron wrote: “Rockwell’s studio on Main Street had a plate-glass window and was nicely situated for people-watching. Sorenson remembers that it was across the street from one important local hub, the drugstore, and next to another, the Western Union office.”

Photo: thebark.com

She doesn’t remember much about the sitting. Stephanie Plunkett, the deputy director and chief curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge said that a studio assistant took photographs of the models in the studio, one-by-one. Rockwell directed the shoots. “He thought of himself as a movie director casting a role,” she said. He gave the models a coke and paid them $5 to $10 for a 20 minute session, reported Barron.

Art critics were not kind to Rockwell in the day, their disdain vividly expressed by the word “treacly.” According to Barron, a Time Magazine critic wrote in 1943 about a series “The Four Freedoms”  that Rockwell “would probably be incapable of portraying a really evil human being, or even a really complex one — perhaps even a real one.”

However period magazine readers loved his work and today his fans pay dearly for originals. “Bright Future for Banking” is for sale for $885,000 at the M.S. Rau gallery in New Orleans. It was in a Rau ad that Sorenson saw it again. Barron quoted prices of other Rockwell originals from $46 and $8.45 million in 2013 to $15.4 million in 2006 and $1.9 million in 2017. Remember that the bank ad picture was not on a cover which is reflected in the price.

I always loved the American scenes and characters Rockwell depicted even though they were of a life far from mine growing up in NYC. The Pollyanna in me delights in happy endings. Life is complicated enough that I don’t feel everything must capture challenges and a sad side.

I enjoyed my visits to the Rockwell Museum in its original spot at Rockwell’s home and studio in midtown Stockbridge as well as in its new much larger location outside of town. Have you been? Do you read captions in museums? Do you have a story about a favorite picture, sculpture or artist? If funds were no issue, is there an artist whose work you’d enjoy buying for your home or office?

Photo: smithsonianmag.com

 

Service of One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Is Etsy Too Big?

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Photo: Greymount Paper & Press

I was in awe of the Etsy platform when it launched 15 years ago as “a virtual storefront for hipsters’ arts and crafts” as Taylor Majewski wrote in builtinnyc.com. It went public in 2015 and describes itself as “an American e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. These items fall under a wide range of categories, including jewelry, bags, clothing, home décor and furniture, toys, art, as well as craft supplies and tools.”

According to statista.com, last year it reported 2.5 million sellers and 39.4 million buyers around the world.

I’ve loved and bought crafts for decades, promoted one of the big east coast shows for years and was thrilled that talented artisans had another vital way to expand their customer bases and generate sales.

Something happened. Carlene Gleman founder, artist and owner of Greymount Paper & Press, described her predicament in a series of Facebook postings. If her name and company are familiar it’s because I featured her in “Service of Ordering Online During a Pandemic,” last month.

Gleman claims that Etsy’s new off-site advertising program has “directly led to our artwork being repeatedly stolen.”  She found over 20 instances of theft in three months. Before Etsy introduced this new program, it had only happened once in five years.

Photo: Greymount Paper & Press

While the platform appears to be helping promote some of its successful vendors’ products without repercussions, for a business like Greymount based on an artist’s creations, it is at huge cost. She said while the company’s new marketing approach should work for furniture makers, for example, “it creates trouble for shops whose artwork can be stolen with the click of a mouse.”

With a simple fix her work wouldn’t be in jeopardy, but in the last year, the brand has begun to insist on 2,000px high-resolution images for all listings. “A thief can download, copy, and easily remove watermarks from photos with this resolution,” said Gleman. “Lower resolution images, which Etsy allowed in the past, discourage theft by largely preventing enlargement and printing.”

Sellers who generate $10,000 gross profit according to Etsy’s calculations, [they include postage in the sales total!], must participate in Etsy’s new offsite marketing program, and, Gleman reports, are excluded from the platform’s internal search engine. [You know–the toolbar that helps you find “greeting cards” or “art featuring otters.”]

Upon learning about the new program, Gleman immediately turned off all advertising for her shop, to prevent her listing images from appearing on websites thought to be resources for copyright theft.

She checked her seller dashboard after she realized that her images were being stolen from her Etsy listings. She was incurring advertising fees. “Etsy was blasting my artwork across the web without my knowledge.”

She has hired a lawyer to fight the art thieves and has turned off her Etsy shop, permanently. She now sells her greeting cards, art prints, and gifts exclusively through her own website.

“See if an artist has a website and if it’s possible purchase through them directly,” Gleman recommends. She has decided to never again sell on a 3rd party platform that forces her to participate in advertising programs where she can’t control where her artwork appears.

The world of craft is diverse. The marketers at Etsy aren’t taking this into account. Do you know of other businesses that have tripped up when they haven’t recognized the differences in their clients?  Can you share other examples of copyright infringement?

Photo: Greymount Paper & Press

 

 

Service of Food as Art

Monday, June 1st, 2020

Food is missing from too many American tables and in the short-term, between record unemployment and Covid-19’s impact on prices, the appalling situation promises to get worse.

Simultaneously two gallerists attempting to keep an oar in the water while galleries are closed worldwide during the pandemic selected to promote a 1990 installation by Cuban-born visual artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres involving a cookie.

Hunger in America

According to Thomas Franck of cnbc.com writing in mid-May “The Labor Department reported Tuesday that prices U.S. consumers paid for groceries jumped 2.6% in April, the largest one-month pop since February 1974. The spike in supermarket prices was broad based and impacted items from broccoli and ham to oatmeal and tuna.

Photo: cannedfoodhx.com

“The price of the meats, poultry, fish and eggs category rose 4.3%, fruits and vegetables climbed 1.5%, cereals and bakery products advanced 2.9%, and dairy goods gained 1.5%.”

Lauren Bauer writing in the brookings.edu blog reported a 460 percent increase in mothers who said the children in their households 12 years and under “were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food.”

Interactive Cookie Installation

It is against this background that Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner),” is being installed at 1,000 sites around the globe. It is promoted/resurrected by Andrea Rosen, show curator and director of The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation who is partnering with German art dealer David Zwirner. Sarrah Cascone wrote about the exhibitions on artnet.com.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner)” Photo: artnet.com

The original installation had 10 thousand fortune cookies piled up in the corner of a room. Today there will be from 240 to 2,000 cookies featured in the homes, museums or public places that Rosen selected via her choice of participants. Viewers are encouraged to help themselves to a cookie.

Cascone wrote: “The owner needs to follow specific but open-ended parameters in manifesting the work, which can be installed in more than one place at a time—making it perfect for our current moment, when much of the world is under indefinite lockdown.”

The curators, artist’s friends and colleagues invited to participate supply their own cookies. Rosen said “halfway through, everyone has to regenerate it to the original size. So everyone has the opportunity to experience both the potential loss within the piece, and also the notions of rebuilding and regeneration that is a very important part of the work.”

Rosen, told Cascone: “This is one of the only works in the world that can travel and be accessible right now. There’s so many people right now trying to do incredible online projects. Felix can actually afford people a physical experience with an artwork—and not just looking at it, but thinking about it, and their involvement and what it means to them.”

My post isn’t about the validity of the installation: It passed the test within the art community. However the timing strikes a false note for me for involving food in a frivolous way at a time when it is missing from so many tables. What do you think?

Even if the piles were made up of basic comestibles accessible to people needing help, the fact that they would have to reach down on the floor for the food and take only one or two packages lacks respect for the situation’s severity. Your thoughts?

Photo: cannedfoodhx.com

Service of Food: Valuable to Some, Essential to Others

Monday, December 9th, 2019

By Maurizio Cattelan Photo: news.artnet.com

According to United States Department of Agriculture, 40 million Americans face hunger, including 12.5 million children. In this regard two headlines hit me last week.

The first: “Maurizio Cattelan Is Taping Bananas to a Wall at Art Basel Miami Beach and Selling Them for $120,000 Each.”

The second: “Trump administration moves to remove 700,000 people from food stamps.”

Photo: bally.com

Sarah Cascone wrote the first article on artnet.com. She added that the gallery repping Cattelan was upping the price to $150,000 because the banana, affixed with contact tape to the wall, already had two buyers at the original asking price. She also reported that her husband and his college dorm mates had done the same thing with a banana and that he still had what was left of the shriveled fruit somewhere in their home.

I couldn’t tell from the article whether the artist would affix the banana to the buyers’ walls.

Obviously these art buyers have no trouble feeding themselves or their families which isn’t the case for people who need food stamps.

Photo: cnn.com

Tom Polansek wrote on reuters.com: “President Donald Trump has argued that many Americans receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment. The program provides free food to 36 million Americans.”

Savings to the government over five years is estimated to be $5.5 billion.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio described the cutback as “an unacceptable escalation of the administration’s war on working families, and it comes during a time when too many are forced to stretch already-thin budgets.”

Polansek reported “The administration has sought to tighten requirements for food stamps without congressional approval after Congress blocked a Trump-backed effort to pass new restrictions through the Farm Bill last year.”

“For those impacted it will mean less nutritious meals, or meals that are skipped altogether,” said Cassie Ramos, policy associate for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group.

Good work if you can get it is my reaction to the $120,000-$150,000 banana with a dash of there’s a sucker born every day. I’m not one bit magnanimous about the food stamp cuts.  If we’re looking for ways to cut the budget why pick on the poorer members of our country who, without food, in addition to suffering, will become sick and cost more? Will taking away food stamps inspire people who need them to get a job when my bet is that many already have a few?

Photo: wgem.com

Service of Who Vets the Details for a Prince?

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

The characters in this post are Charles, Prince of Wales, a British businessman, James Stunt, and a convicted painting forger Tony Tetro.

Javier Pes covered the incident on artnet.com in “Prince Charles’s Charity Displayed Paintings by Picasso, Dalí, and Monet—Until a Convicted Forger Claimed Them as His Own.” He wrote that Stunt lent “works supposedly by Monet, Picasso, and Salvador Dalí to Dumfries House, the historic property in Scotland that is a cause close to the heart of the heir to the British throne.”

Dumfries House Photo: dumfries-house.org.UK

Stunt got them back after Tetro announced he’d painted them. He also said that Stunt knew they were fake because he’d ordered them for his home. The faux artist added that “there is no way that these paintings could pass even the lightest scrutiny. The canvases are new, paint is modern, stretcher bars are not correct or period.”

The coverage implied that the Prince should have known better and we don’t know if he’d ever seen the canvases. Pes wrote: “The British royal, who is a former trustee of London’s National Gallery and grew up surrounded by Old Masters, must have been delighted when the flamboyant British businessman James Stunt agreed to lend 17 works.”

“LE FERMIER ET SON ÉPOUSE” by Joan Miro Photo: joan-miro.net

Stunt was also on the griddle. Quoting the Daily Mail‘s account and what Stunt said, Pes reported: “ ‘What is the crime of lending them to a stately home, [to] the Prince of Wales and putting them on display for the public to enjoy?’ He stopped short of accepting that he knew they weren’t originals,” added Pes.

Pes wrote: “Tetro, who was found guilty of art forgery involving works by Dalí, Miro, Chagall, and Norman Rockwell in the past, now makes what he calls ’emulations’ of Modern masterworks. Stunt ‘knew with 100 percent certainty that these works were by me,’ Tetro said, a claim that Stunt denies. ‘We discussed the subject of the paintings and many of the particulars. These were decorative paintings that were purposely made by me as decorations for his home.'”

It’s hard to tell who was pulling the wool over whose eyes in this $136 million art scam. Was Stunt trying to gain provenance for fakes he knew were such? Did he really know what he bought from Tetro? Was the Prince of Wales, who was trying to generate funds for a historic Scottish property, taken to the cleaners by Stunt, whom, Pes notes at the end of the article, went bankrupt this summer? Should the Prince’s front people/handlers–or the folks in charge of fundraising for Dumfries House–have done a better job at vetting the background of the theoretically munificent businessman before accepting his offer? Or should the Prince have known better?

Photo: vootelecom.co.uk

Service of Color II

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Karen Morris, Dellwood, Minn.

Karen Morris, Dellwood, Minn.

On housebeautiful.com Lauren Smith wrote “Pantone Predicts the Colors That’ll Be Popular Next Spring–Let’s just say, next year is going to be bold and bright” and called out Flame, Island Paradise, Primrose Yellow and Niagara—the names Pantone gave coral, soft aqua, sunny yellow and denim blue. Pantone calls itself the “authority on color, provider of color systems and leading technology for accurate communication of color.”

Deborah Shedrick, Montgomery, Ala

Deborah Shedrick, Montgomery, Ala

What struck me about the work of some exhibitors at my client’s upcoming American Fine Craft Show at Brooklyn Museum this weekend, November 19-20, is the palpable importance of color—some of those Pantone identified as well as other luscious, succulent ones. Much of the jewelry is inspired by spirited, passionate hues; magical tints enhance ceramics and glass. 

Thomas Marrinson ceramics, Hinesburg, Vt.

Thomas Marrinson ceramics, Hinesburg, Vt.

Color isn’t for everyone and there will be many options for the more conservative shopper in every category. In addition to color, 26 jewelers reference travel, history, nature and their current or previous careers in far-flung industries as impacting their designs. Their expert work transforms precious stones and sheet metal, wire—even textiles and paper—into enchanting decorative enhancements and imaginative gifts.

Julie Shaw, Cocoa, FL.

Julie Shaw, Cocoa, FL.

For those bored by the mostly insipid fashion on today’s clothing racks, a fine craft fair such as this one is a treasure trove of both chic high-end classic and stylish casual wear. Fanciful accents and detailing punctuate one-of-a-kind coats and jackets designed and created by masters of leatherwork, weaving and expert tailoring. Exemplary millinery promises to be a show-stopper and versatile scarves and accessories in the hands of artists and expert fashion designers achieve elegant impact. 

Ethan Abramson, Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Ethan Abramson, Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Furniture artisans at the show speak about their pieces and the elements that go into them as though they are human or a three dimensional reflection of their lives.  Although most of them design and fabricate with wood, there are architectural, handsome steel and aluminum pieces as well.

The furniture makers aren’t alone in their mastery and appreciation of wood. Several exhibitors will sell handmade small decorative and/or functional and at times whimsical pieces that are impossible to bypass without touching.

In addition to furniture, wood objects, art glass and ceramics, there’s more to enhance a home: Fine artists and two sculptors join the artisans this year, achieving a tempting and visual feast just a few days before Thanksgiving.

If cost were no object, where would you look for special gifts for yourself or someone else? Do you value the fine work of artisans and artists and recognize the imagination, skill and time poured into each piece?

 

Jane Herzenberg, Northhampton, Mass.

Jane Herzenberg, Northhampton, Mass.

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