Woodburning art depicting serene Vermont scenes by Cannistraci Woodworks.
Photo Credit : Cathryn McCann
For three days in late November, the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington, Vermont is transformed into two floors, full hallways, and multiple rooms worth of colorful, unique, and appealing – not to mention local and handmade – crafts, artwork, food, and goodies that are perfect for the holiday season. Craft Vermont, presented by Vermont Hand Crafters, is a premier three day, annual event held at the Sheraton Hotel Burlington. Much larger and diverse than a traditional holiday art show, Craft Vermont is a worthy destination for locals and visitors alike, with many making it a yearly tradition. It’s also a great excuse to spend a late fall weekend enjoying Burlington – Vermont’s largest city, and a fun place for both urban and outdoorsy adventures and entertainment. Below are just a sampling of the many one-of-a-kind items I found at Craft Vermont, but each and every booth is worth checking out! For a full list of vendors and their art click here.
CRAFT VERMONT HIGHLIGHTS
Although easily mistaken for a photo from a distance, these woodburnings are intricately hand drawn – not traced – and burned with a wood burner, then filled in with oil pencils for a slight tinge of color. Artist Heather Cannistraci said she takes her inspiration for each scene from her country home in rural Vermont. These pictures would make a great gift, as they are a unique alternative to traditional wall hangings or framed photos.
Dancing Ear Design
Nearly impossible to avoid are the eye-catching, whimsical designs made by Jill Listzwan. The lightweight jewelry is made by cutting a metallic foiled plastic base into usable segments and melting them together, then adding stones, pearls, wires, or beads. Jill has been creating “wearable art” for 25 years!
Vermont Glass Workshop
Harry and Wendy Besett of the Vermont Glass Workshop have been making “functional and decorative” studio art glass since 1980. The colorful, shiny, and delicate glass tree ornaments are real showstoppers, and could certainly add some flair to any Christmas tree. All of the glass is designed and blown in Hardwick, Vermont.
Ruelle Fine Art
Looking to tap into Vermont nostalgia, Kevin Ruelle recreates quintessential Vermont scenes with watercolors and an airbrush in the style of faux vintage travel posters. His inspiration is 1930s Art Deco – or the “golden poster era.” Kevin started with six Vermont scenes, and now he continues to create lovely, memorable paintings from all over the state. A perfect gift for any true Green Mountain State lover!
Su Chi PotterySusan Shannon’s porcelain-stoneware is not only cute and colorful, but microwave, dishwasher, and oven-safe. Hard to miss, Susan’s booth was filled with bright pottery in shades of blue, green, orange, yellow, and red. Every piece is painted by hand, and Susan said she hasn’t yet met a color she doesn’t like. Her collection of pottery and dishes would make a great pop of color to any kitchen or dining table.
For an unusual jewelry product, turn to Elisabetta Studio. Artist Anya Byam makes purses, accessories, and jewelry out of Portuguese flat and round cork cording with zinc slides, spacers, and clasps free of lead, nickel, and cadmium. Looking to combine art and utility, Anya said cork fabric is an environmentally friendly alternative to leather. A great gift for the environmentally conscious fashionista in your family!
More than meets the eye, these adorable ornaments are made from small gourds. Delicate, unique and painstakingly hand-painted by artist Julia Emilo, the ornaments would make a cute addition to any tree.
Don’t be fooled – those fluffy, delectable cupcakes aren’t edible. Amelia Chapman of Sweet Retreat, a bath boutique, creates a variety of dessert-inspired soaps, bath shakes, lip balm, sugar scrubs, and bath balms. Her sweet and fun products would certainly elevate a long, warm, luxurious bath. Not to be forgotten, Amelia also makes products for men, such as her “man soap” called “Beard.”
Beverley Shevis of Bev’s Enamels sells everything from outlet covers to dishes, all made by enameling – fusing powdered glass to copper, gold, or silver metals. Beverley inherited the art form from her late mother-in-law, and has kept the enameling tradition going since her passing at age 101. She uses colored glass powders to create designs in kilns heated to temperatures ranging from 1350 to 1550 degrees, ultimately giving her art a shiny, glassy luster.
The Silver Spoon
Follow the sound of spoons! As the name suggests, The Silver Spoon specializes in using antique silverware to make fun, distinctive artwork. This wind chime could be a great addition to either the patio or kitchen, and is loved by foodies, chefs, and artists alike.
With over 100 vendors from around the state, there’s a lot to take in at Craft Vermont. Fortunately, it’s a three day extravaganza, so making the rounds multiple times and returning for a second or third trip are viable and worthwhile options. Many of the crafts found at the show are quintessentially New England, and would make a great, treasurable holiday gift. Crafts not featured above include hats, photography, lotions, wooden furniture, wool blankets, rugs, fiber and metal sculptures, hand woven baskets, terrariums, wines, shawls, hand-dyed clothing, sheepskin slippers, maple syrup, Scottish shortbread, teas, jams, fudge, chocolates, and other seasonal goodies and treats. It would be impossible to describe all the unique and wonderful art at Craft Vermont, so you’ll just have to pencil it into your calendar and check it out for yourself!
Have you ever attended Craft Vermont?
Craft Vermont. Sheraton Conference Center, South Burlington, Vermont. 802-872-8600. vermonthandcrafters.com