Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vermont Celebrates American Craft Week

Leaf peepers love Vermont in autumn, traveling the state to see the brilliant show of reds, oranges and yellows shimmering in the mountains and valleys. While looking for peak foliage, however, they also can take advantage of many special events during their stay, one of which is the Vermont Fall Open Studio Weekend, an integral part of the national American Craft Week celebration throughout the country in October

The state of Vermont recognizes the importance of hand-made in America – economically and aesthetically – and for the second year in a row is a major sponsor of American Craft Week, which runs from Oct. 4-13 this year.

Quality hand-crafted goods and design are so important to Vermont that the governor, Peter Shumlin, has again proclaimed the entire month of October as American Craft Month in the state.

Over October 5th and 6th, craftspeople and artists at 127 sites in every region of Vermont will open their studios to the public. Iconic bright yellow Open Studio signs are posted along the roads to guide visitors to the studios. Visitors are offered a behind-the-scenes look at the workspaces of glassblowers, weavers, sculptors, potters, woodworkers, printmakers, jewelers, furniture makers, painters, quilters, and other makers.

The Vermont Crafts Council, which organizes the event, is also a sponsor of American Craft Week. It publishes a free map booklet available at Vermont welcome centers, galleries, and community centers that gives people an easy way to plan an individualized tour route. Each studio is numbered with the location shown on the Open Studio map/guide. Directions, addresses and contact information are also listed. Regional information centers are highlighted in the guide as places to give studio explorers an overview of a particular area. A map can be requested on the Vermont Crafts Council website, where an online version is available as well. Maps can also be obtained by calling (802) 223-3380 or emailing

Once you have your Open Studio map, it is easy to plan a studio tour: Choose a section of the state that you want to explore and find studios along the way. Or maybe your destination is a classic Vermont village and you want to look for studios nearby. If you are fascinated by a specific medium like pottery or woodturning or photography, you can create a tour of just those studios. Or maybe you like spontaneity and prefer to just follow the yellow signs along the roads that direct people to studio locations.

Martha Fitch, Director of the Crafts Council, says Open Studio is a great event because people have the flexibility to spend as much time as they want, whether on an interesting activity for a few hours or two full days of exploration.

Vermont Open Studio Weekend is a statewide celebration of the visual arts and the creative process in which Vermont artists and craftspeople invite the public to visit them in their studios. Open Studio Weekend is also a featured event during American Craft Week, a nationwide celebration of American craft over ten days in early October.

The Vermont Open Studio Weekend is only one of the multi-faceted events celebrating American Craft Week. For more information, see the listings for Vermont in the participants’ pages!

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