The warm sun was beating through the windows of my car as my friend Sheila—a fellow arts and crafts lover—and I hit the road for Bennington, Vermont, and the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival. This annual event has occurred in Bennington during the first weekend in August for five years. The crowning jewel of the annual, three-day Bennington Arts Weekend, the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival (put on by Craftproducers) is a vibrant event that draws locals and visitors alike to the gateway of Vermont.
Painter Tracy Lévesque was born in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts and credits her rural childhood for her abiding love of nature and its prominence in her artwork. Lévesque studied Graphic Design at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA and received a double BA in Theater Arts and English and American Literature from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. While her early work depicted realistic scenes, she “quickly abandoned realism,” she writes, “for a more impressionistic, symbolic style that spoke more to the psychological realities of human existence rather than the more conventional interpretations of them.”
Lévesque will return to Craftproducers Stowe Foliage Arts Festival in October, 2017. Come to the Festival at Topnotch Field on Mountain Road in Stowe to meet this incredible Artist and see her paintings in person. Besides original paintings, she will also have prints and gifts featuring her work available for sale.
As a child growing up on his father’s 165-acre dairy farm in Whitinsville, MA, Rick Libbey learned to appreciate nature and all living things. In 1981, after moving to New Hampshire, he had his first encounter with moose – ironically in the wilderness of Maine, where he had been invited to a friend’s remote cabin. The encounter would prove to be life-changing. For thirty-five years, Rick has returned twice yearly to that remote lake in Maine, dropped by float plane, to photograph moose from a kayak. Due to the frequency of his visits, he has come to know some of the bulls and a cow moose and their calves, watching them grow to adulthood. Every encounter is documented with a photograph as well as notes Rick takes in his log book.
Rick started his business, MooseMan Nature Photography in 2003. His love of wildlife and photography has expanded to include eagles, loons, fox, bears, and all animals of the woods and waters. It is with a great deal of respect that he approaches any of his subjects, studying them from a distance and slowly working his way closer, studying their behavior and earning their trust. By reading the animal’s body language, Rick knows when to not approach or back away if necessary. This is key for capturing some of these remarkable images. In these photographs, one can feel and appreciate the sense of calm and trust in the subjects.
Rick will only be Exhibiting at Craftproducers summer show – the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival in Bennington – this year, as the Autumn will find him back in Alaska searching out more incredible scenes of the wild.
One of the most important messages Rick wishes to share is that of gratitude. To be out in the quietness of early morning watching as the sun rises, or later, as it sets, is at the same time grounding and uplifting. Humbling, and awe-inspiring. He considers himself a very lucky man to be among nature doing what he does. He hopes you enjoy his labor of love.
“I like sharing with people,” says Jeffrey Gale, “its why I’m a basket maker – to keep the old craft alive to people so they know how it was done. Because I think it matters that a human being knows how to go in the woods, without any machinery taking the wood, and knowing how to work it to make […] something purely out of wood that is completely functional and beautiful at the same time.”
Jeffrey Gale, from Strafford, Vermont, demonstrated his traditional wood splint basket making techniques at our 2016 Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival. His dedication to the craft has earned his work a place in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection.
When autumn approaches, that’s when the craft festival season begins in earnest. The 34th Annual Stowe Foliage Arts Festival is the absolute apex of American Craft Week in Vermont. The Festival will be held October 7 through 9 at the Topnotch Field about four miles north of the Routes 100 and 108 intersection in the Village of Stowe.
According to organizers of American Craft Week, “While other industry associations have long touted their products, the craft industry has lacked a single way to be highly visible. Along with craft organizations across the USA, Vermont is a leader in supporting American Craft Week. American Craft Week is held 16 days in October and the hope is to educate more people about the importance of American craftsmen and women. Crafts enrich our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. The crafts industry contributes to our nation’s economy and the fabric of our national history. Craftwork is original, beautiful and enduring.”
Attending the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival is an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of American Craft. Every day thousands of American artists share their vision and talent by producing amazing hand-made decorative and functional objects. Craft show patrons demonstrate their love of these items by coming to the shows, meeting the artists, and buying handmade products. As one craft artist put it, “this is the creative economy!”
The Stowe show features 150 artists and artisans displaying and selling traditional and contemporary crafts and original art as well as a specialty food tent. Exhibitors are housed in large Camelot tents, tents transformed into veritable cathedrals of creativity. Works include pottery, leather, blown and stained glass, clothing, graphics, original art, photography, and specialty food products including wines and spirits.
Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, in the heart of Stowe, Vermont — where over 30 shops and restaurants await — and with easy proximity to the Stowe ski area and the historic village, invites families and friends to relax and reconnect while enjoying all the year-round resort and Stowe have to offer. Stoweflake’s world-class spa offers wellness programs, therapeutic treatments, and salon services. Delicious dining awaits at Charlie B’s Pub & Restaurant, where the menu is inspired by the fresh flavors of Vermont.
While craft shopping, customers are delighted with culinary choices served by local restaurants and food trucks. The Culinary Court will feature local vendors serving a wide range of delicious treats, many prepared with Vermont products. This year Idletyme Brewing Company from Stowe, VT will showcase its craft beers. Live music will be played here too with The Spencer Lewis Trio featuring Chuck Eller on Friday, Two Cents In the Till on Saturday, and the Storm Cats on Sunday.
Besides savoring Vermont food and drink, there are many craft demos, a Vermont Cheese and Sausage Tent, and a wacky comic juggler, Brent McCoy, whose show is called the Real McCoy, He will dazzle his audience with his physical prowess and bring a few smiles and chuckles to those watching. The craft demos will feature Harry Besset, a glass blower from Hardwick, VT and Richard Foye, a Raku potter from Newfane, VT. Their intriguing demos showcase not only their immense talent but also their subtle wit.
Quality wood bowls make wonderful gifts and great additions to any kitchen.
Edwards Smith Fine Woodworking creates beautiful wood bowls, utensils, furniture pieces, jewelry boxes and more. Smith began working with wood at a young age and over time working with wood called him more and more. Crafting artisan wood bowls is Smith’s specialty, he produces each item with American hardwood usually gathered from felled trees locally.
Come to the 28th Annual Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival and stop by Edwards Smith Fine Woodworking’s booth to see the incredible way he is able to manipulate native hardwoods into beautiful, quality items. You can also preview his work at www.edwardssmithfinewoodworking.com
When autumn approaches, that’s when the craft festival season begins in earnest. The 28th Annual Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival kicks off American Craft Week in Vermont. The Festival will be held September 30, October 1 & 2 at the Practice Tee on Route 7A, a mile and a half north of the roundabout in downtown Manchester, Vermont.
According to organizers of American Craft Week, “While other industry associations have long touted their products, the craft industry has lacked a single way to be highly visible. Along with craft organizations across the USA, Vermont is a leader in supporting American Craft Week. American Craft Week is held 10 days in October and the hope is to educate more people about the importance of American craftsmen and women. Crafts enrich our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. The crafts industry contributes to our nation’s economy and the fabric of our national history. Craftwork is original, beautiful and enduring.”
Attending the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival is an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of American Craft. Every day thousands of American artists share their vision and talent by producing amazing hand-made decorative and functional pieces. Craft show patrons demonstrate their love of these items by coming to the shows, meeting the artists, and buying handmade products. As one craft artist put it, “this is the creative economy!”
The Manchester show features 150 artists and artisans displaying and selling traditional and contemporary crafts and original art, as well as a specialty food tent. While craft shopping, customers are delighted with culinary choices served by local restaurants and food trucks. The Dining Tent, which is heated, offers tables and chairs with a relaxed ambience. Vermont craft beers are served to accompany the luncheon plates. There will be live entertainment each day.
Besides savoring Vermont food and drink, there are many craft demos. They are informative as well as entertaining. Jeffrey Gale, of Strafford, VT, will showcase his traditional basketmaking skills all three days. His baskets are made of white ash trees. He pounds the wood until it is the desired thickness and then weaves each new piece until ultimately there is a basket. He is widely collected by private individuals and Museums including the Smithsonian. Add Jonathan Woodward, a potter from Clinton, NY to the mix, with his Raku pottery demo and there are all the necessary ingredients for a lively afternoon. This year the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester will be there offering demos of fly tying to participants through any level of fly tying-from basic to advanced. Additionally, casting instruction will be presented, ranging from beginner lessons to a specific course that teaches the nuances of casting with classic bamboo and fiberglass rods. Why there’s even something for the kids: an interactive class tying clown flies.
As part of the American Craft Week celebration in Vermont, the Vermont Craft Council is planning its Fall Open Studio Weekend on October 1 and 2. Maps will be available at the Festival so craft show patrons may also visit those studios local to Manchester. For more details about the Open Studio Weekend, visit VermontCrafts.com. Interestingly enough American Craft Week has been expanded; it’s now October 1 – 16. The Vermont Crafts Council is following suit and has added a second weekend of “Open House” October 8 & 9 to its Fall Studio Tour.
Once again, the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival will be held September 30, October 1 & 2 at the Practice Tee in Manchester. Hours are 10-5 daily, Friday through Sunday. Adult admission is $10, children are free. Rain or shine-under tents. Plenty of free parking. No pets, please.
Handcrafted to display the natural beauty of North America, the Arctic, and the Rainforest, every single piece created at Log Cabin Leather by Jan is unique. From books to belts to bags, each piece is designed and crafted by the artist, including the intricate stamped designs and carved pictures. Jan says her accessories are “designed to inspire” and are “created with purpose built to endure life’s greatest adventures.”
A self-taught leather artist since 1977, Jan Stewart-Hibbard hand tools a wide range of leather accessories. Included in Jan’s collections are photo albums, journals, notepads, book covers, wallets, belts and guitar straps. Each item is individually crafted making no two just the same.
Preview the collections from Log Cabin Leather by Jan on her website and remember to visit Jan’s booth at the 28th Annual Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival.
Vermont Signature Sauces is home to the delicious LeMaison Gourmet Sauce brand. These gourmet finishing sauces are available in flavors including Marsala with Wild Mushrooms, Coconut Curry, and Pesto Cream.
Vermont Signature Sauces is a woman-owned business that produced its first sauce in 2011 at their Saxton River, VT location. President and Co-Founder, Karen Whitman and her business partner, Vice-President, Nancy Bazin, pride themselves on producing quality, flavorful sauces and even provide recipes on their website!
Visit Vermont Signature Sauces at the the 28th Annual Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival and let your pallet decide which one to bring home!
Beautiful and surreal, oil works by Brian Hewitt Kind Art are mesmerizing.
The brightly colored scenes are eye-catching and are done in what has been described as a “fish-eye” perspective. Hewitt, a self-taught artist from North Bennington, says “mostly I was trying to do something a little different and found that this unique style resonates with art lovers. Many say it gives the painting movement.”
Come and discover the wonderful, vibrant world of Brian Hewitt Kind Art at the 28th Annual Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival. And preview Brian’s work and learn more about the artist on his website.