Piedmont Craftsmen’s 54th Fair will be held November 18 and 19 at the newly renovated Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, NC.
The one thing visitors to Piedmont Craftsmen’s annual Fair can expect is that their expectations will be seriously shaken. This is not your average craft fair. Those looking for fine functional craft will not be disappointed. Neither will those looking for fine art.
Piedmont Craftsmen’s first Fair was held more than fifty years ago in a building formerly occupied by Krispy Kreme, on the edge of Old Salem. Since its founding by a group of craft makers and craft collectors in 1963, this juried membership guild has consistently attracted the most respected artisans working in their craft media. And the founding principle, the “handshake” between makers and collectors, still makes Piedmont Craftsmen special. Artists participating in the show for the first time are sometimes surprised by the warmth, knowledge, and loyalty of those who attend the Fair as shoppers. And first time visitors to the Fair can’t help noticing the show’s welcoming feel.
A visitor shopping for a simple coffee mug will be hard pressed to choose from among more than 20 clay artists. Stoneware, porcelain, earthenware; brilliantly colored glazes, subtle earth tones, delicate graphic designs; no two are alike. The same holds true for jewelers, working in materials ranging from paper or colored porcelain to silver and copper, to gold and precious stones. Jewelry purchased from the goldsmith’s own hands is not just a statement piece, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, a connection between maker, materials, object and owner, quite unlike any other purchase.
Although guild membership does not include painters, those looking for art to hang on the wall will find photographs, limited edition engravings, mixed media pieces and fiber art. One-of-a-kind wearables may be woven, felted, knitted, or hand dyed. Glass is hot blown, kiln formed, leaded, fused, or even combined with other materials in totally unexpected ways. Wood finds more expressive qualities than one would have thought possible as carved birds, vessels and flowers, as well as furniture that invokes traditions from across the globe.
With education as a central part of Piedmont Craftsmen’s mission, visitors to the Fair can count on seeing artists demonstrating their techniques throughout the Fair. Some artists demonstrate in their booths. Other demonstrations, including clay wheelthrowing and handbuilding, indigo dyeing, metal forming, basketry, and traditional German papercutting, are scheduled at specific times at two separate education areas. A demonstration schedule will be available on Piedmont Craftsmen’s website before the Fair.
Admission is $7.00 for adults, $6.00 for senior citizens, students and groups, children under 12 free with an adult. Weekend passes are $10.00. Hours are Saturday, November 18, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, November 19, noon – 5:00 p.m. For information call (336)725-1516 or visit piedmontcraftsmen.org.