NH Craftsmen Keep it Interesting
by Linda Chestney
Experts like to talk about how often people change careers during their lifetime. This figure usually ranges between three and seven times, according to the United States Department of Labor. (The number of job changes tends to average around 12.)
So it’s fascinating to learn that artists/artisans seriously skew that number downward. The extremely accomplished, award-winning, fine craftspeople I interviewed for this article have decades of experience in their work — anywhere from a couple of decades to over four. And it shows.
When artscope’s managing editor, Brian Goslow, approached me with the assignment to cover the 83rd annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair, I asked what he had in mind. “Do as you wish.” Not sure that was well-defined enough, I queried further, “Do you have certain categories in mind? Certain craftspeople?” He simply said to select three or four and run them past him to ensure we hadn’t covered them recently in the magazine. Done! So I am the jury of one! And we’re talking 750 juried league members (300 of whom will be displaying at the fair). So I selected the categories — glassblowing, woodworking, surface design and jewelry design. Then I visited the websites of various artists and chose those whose work spoke to me.
Arbitrarily I found an interesting cross-section. Two women, two men. Two live in New Hampshire, one in Maine, one in Vermont. (The League allows members to be within 10 miles of the New Hampshire state line.) And all of them are seasoned, experienced and recognized professionals in their chosen area, truly masters of their art/craft. What is most fascinating to me is how long they’ve stayed interested in their selected work — from 25 to 40 years and counting.