Oh dear, do I have to choose? Indeed, I must. Such are the restraints and parameters of writing for a magazine that demands excellence. Well, my assignment to cover the “Contemporary NH Folk Art” exhibition, featuring the work of the League of NH Craftsmen, is a gem! Located in the Discover Center in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this is a sliver of the annual, August, Mount Sunapee fair by the League without the crowds, tents and blistering heat. This show consists of approximately 50 works by 27 artisans and artists. It’s as tantalizing as being let loose in Calef’s Country Store, in Barrington, and discovering the penny (or so) candy. And, the exhibition is free.
Another bonus — if a piece on display speaks to you, and you must have it, it’s for sale. Just a bit of background about the League of NH Craftsmen: The League has been around for 85 years. It’s the oldest and most recognized craft organizations in the country. It’s comprised of more than 750 juried craftspeople who produce exceptional contemporary and traditional crafts in a wide range of media, from baskets, weaving, pottery, jewelry and woodworking to photography, quilts, fabric art and other creative expressions.
As a bonus to this exhibition in the upper gallery, the main gallery boasts a companion exhibition, “New Hampshire Folk Art: By the People, For the People.” I greatly dislike having to select just a handful of pieces to elaborate on. But alas — I’ve eliminated some artists as I’ve written about them before in this publication (Kathleen Dustin and Don Felix). I’ve ruled out others as it’s a duplication of media. Which doesn’t in the least diminish the beauty, value and creativity that emanates from these pieces.