Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 25, 2013
Show brings established Maine craftsmen to Blue Hill
Christine Leith of Eggemoggin Textile Studio was one of 50 hand-selected vendors who participated in the fifth annual Blue Hill Fine Craft show.
by Noah Dow
A diverse collection of craftsmen from around the state assembled in Blue Hill this past weekend to exhibit and sell their wares.
The fifth annual Blue Hill Fine Craft show took place at the Blue Hill Consolidated School on Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21. Fifty vendors set up booths at the show. The work on display included wooden furniture, blown glass, ceramic pottery, jewelry, textiles, and, for the first time in the show’s five years, wooden boats.
Organizer and participating craftsman Stuart Loten conveyed that this particular show is unique in part because the vendors are brought to the show exclusively by invitation. When asked about the primary criteria for admission, Loten described it simply as “quality.”
The show was set up in different areas of the school, with booths set up outside of the school’s primary entrance and within the cafeteria and gymnasium. Vendors had to pay to rent their individual booths, but directly received any profits that they made.
Loten spoke about the importance of maintaining the right balance of vendors at the event in order to engage viewers’ interest and to afford each type of vendor the greatest chance to sell their wares. At this particular show, that meant, for example, six to eight potters and no more than four furniture makers.
A craft show, Loten said, is a “whole single piece made up of individual parts.”
Loten mentioned that, on average, there is an annual turnover of about eight to 10 artists at the show, which allows the content of the show to evolve.
According to Loten, Blue Hill possesses certain necessary attributes that lead to the success of a craft show. These include the town’s appeal as a summer destination and a general appreciation of art among the residents.
Local artists Kyra Alex of Stonington and Christine Leith of Sedgwick were among the exhibitors at the show.
Alex, who runs Lily’s House in Stonington, is a textile designer. She had hand-sewn quilts, pillows, napkins, pincushions and tote bags on display at the show.
Alex said that her artistic aesthetic is an attempt to combine older and more recent design sensibilities. She mentioned that she has used fabric made in the 19th century in her work. Her garden and the Maine outdoors were the primary sources of artistic inspiration that she made note of.
Leith is the proprietor of the Eggemoggin Textile Studio in Sedgwick. She described herself as a weaver and textile designer. This is her fifth year as a participant at the show.
At the event, she displayed a broad range of hand-dyed and hand-woven items.
Other notable vendors included a potter from Swanville who works in a traditional Japanese wood-fired pottery style called Anagama and the first two boat builders that the show has had, Ian Joseph Boatworks and Salt Pond Rowing, of Orland and Sedgwick, respectively.
More information about the event, including a complete list of this year’s exhibitors, is available on the show’s website, bluehillfinecraftshow.com.