There are so many incredible artists at the League of NH Craftsmen Show in Sunapee, NH this week. I always leave the show feeling almost deliriously-desperate to get into my studio and MAKE STUFF!! If I could only actually create the stuff that I plan to, then I would become very famous and successful and then I'd have the money to buy all the pieces at the show that I crave. The other (lazier) option is to tour the grounds with an "arts patron" and get them to buy stuff. So, I took my mom. The drawback is that she stops and talks to absolutely everyone. My son, Alex, and I would leave a tent, look at each other and say, "Where is she? Wasn't she right behind us?" Then we would backtrack to the last place we remembered seeing her. 1. Luann Udell's booth drooling over "ancient" polymer clay pieces and mixed-media fiber wall hangings. 2. Adele Sanborn's demonstration tent.... oooo, nice paste papers! 3. The booth right next to Adele's - I didn't catch her name, but she has lovely, richly colored quilted bags. My mother convinced her to sell at Warner's Fall Foliage Festival! OK, where is she NOW? 4. Barbara Sperling's insanely detailed gorgeous flower and bird polymer clay jewelry. I kept nudging mom toward a necklace and a bracelet each made with polymer clay and precious metal clay (silver) 5. Nancy Nobis' beaded masterpieces... 6. Kathleen Dustin's polymer clay evening bags. Alex and I feel the urge to sing "oop-de-ooo, Audrey 2!" Don't stand too close, those bags look hungry! After lunch and some ice cream. Mom returns to Nancy's booth to buy the necklace she has been "testing" throughout lunch. And Alex and I plow through the remaining tents. Standing on the hill surveying a field of white tent tops, we wonder, "where is she now?" Yep, she is still at Nancy's booth, chatting. We finally tear her away and I redirect her back to one of my favorite booths.
This is Tom Burns, jeweler. Well, that's my mom and the guy is Tom Burns... ooo look, she's wearing the necklace she bought from Nancy Nobis. Anyway, these photos don't do Tom's booth justice. If you have been to the show, you will already know that there are A LOT! of jewelers there. I have a bad habit of letting my eyes glaze over and moving on. But Tom's booth stopped me dead in my tracks and even kept Alex engaged for almost half an hour. First of all, it is BRIGHT orange and there are no glass cases. In fact, there are little signs everywhere saying "Please Touch", "We Like to be touched" and, my favorite, "Please touch. Only one of the necklaces is electrified." Every necklace had a sign with funny commentary about the materials and Tom's interpretation of what the shapes suggest to him. The pieces are all beautiful, unusually cut stones and fossils. One piece had an unmessed-with piece of garnet still partially embedded in the stone in which it was found. This whole chunk was set in silver. Some stones looked like paintings of the southwest. The settings were very unusual too. Instead of just hanging down from a chain, many were canti-levered or had the silver decorations reaching around the side to hold the stones up from below. Hard to describe. I had a really hard time deciding between the ammonites and the trilobites. I finally decided on a mother and child pair of trilobites that still had the raw rock around them. Very cool! I still want the ammonite too though. My birthday is next month if anyone wants to get me a present... hint hint.
Oh, and most importantly, this artist is VERY funny! You probably have picked that up from the orange booth and the funny signs, but he is a lot of fun to chat with on all subjects. No, really, all subjects. I think my mom covered most of them.