New England’s holiday craft fairs are a stellar source of beautifully designed wares–and unforgettable gifts.
Exploring a craft fair is like embarking on a treasure hunt in which the reward is a happy pile of perfectly chosen, quirky, unique gifts. At the best fairs, these gems are practically guaranteed. Here we’ve unearthed striking pieces of exceptional quality by artisans who will be appearing at some of our favorite seasonal bazaars.
1. The colors and patterns on Melinda Cox’s appliqued “Mona” pillow ($194) and canvas “Shade Check” pillow (hand-printed in an old Rhode Island textile mill; $85) are unquestionably eye-catching. Better yet, the materials are eco-friendly: organic cotton canvas and flannel covers, and inserts made from recycled bottles. Balanced Design, Providence, RI. 401-486-3589; balanced-design.com. Foundry Artists Association Holiday Show, Pawtucket, RI
2. Abby Berkson makes bowls ($24-$32), cups ($20-$24), and other pieces of “functional pottery”–glazed with whimsically sophisticated designs inspired by children’s illustration. Abby Berkson Ceramics, Northampton, MA. abbyberkson.com. Twist 7, Northampton, MA
3. Strong organic shapes distinguish this feather necklace ($120) and cuff, jewel, and dome rings ($62-$96) by A. G. Ambroult, who creates modern jewelry using classic metalsmithing techniques. A. G. Ambroult, Holbrook, MA. agambroult.com. Twist 7, Northampton, MA
4. Artist (and Harvard alum) Matt Brown is a self-taught printmaker; his clean-lined woodblock images ($80-$195) depict captivating New England landscapes that make you want to go where he’s been. Matt Brown Woodblock Prints, Lyme, NH. 603-795-4619; ooloopress.com. Harvard Square Holiday Craft Fair, Cambridge, MA
5. Lila Webb uses natural and recovered textiles to make playful kitchen linens, such as this “Chickie” hand towel ($24) and coordinating “Antique Rose” oven mitt ($16). Ruby Lu, Shelburne, VT. 802-999-3718; ruby-lu.com. Queen City Craft Bazaar, Burlington, VT
6. Bold typography and happy words characterize these letterpress cards ($5) and lunchbox notes ($4 per set of three). Kelly McMahon makes them herself on one of her four printing presses. May Day Studio, Montpelier, VT. 802-229-0639; maydaystudio.com. Queen City Craft Bazaar, Burlington, VT
7. These pinch bud vases ($38) by Rhode Island glassblower Suzanne Tanner make a colorful display–whether or not they’re holding flowers. Tanner Glass, Cranston, RI. 401-742-4066; suzannetanner.com. Twist 7, Northampton, MA
8. Craft albums ($78-$98), “brag books” ($29), and accordion photo books ($24) by RISD grad Ilira Steinman and self-taught bookbinder Jason Thompson are perfect for preserving family memories. Rag & Bone Bindery, Pawtucket, RI. 401-728-0762; ragandbonebindery.com. Foundry Artists Association Holiday Show, Pawtucket, RI
9. Moe O’Hara fuses together seven layers of recycled plastic grocery bags to create cheery and easy-to-clean bibs ($14). Her sweet “Waste Not” garland ($8) is made from old sheet music. Recycle Moe, Burlington, VT. recyclemoe.com. Queen City Craft Bazaar, Burlington, VT
10. Michele Hollick crafts durable, beautiful floorcloths ($93-$195) — works of art that are meant to be walked on–in the tradition of Colonial-era home furnishings. Stenciled Floorcloths by Michele, Hollis, NH. 603-465-3426; stenciledfloorclothsbymichele.com. Fine American Craftsman Show, Wilton, CT