On September 28, 2022

Crafts shows reveal the talents of our neighbors, friends

When buying local art, you get more than just the thing It was a classic Vermont autumn morning, with just enough chill in the air to remind you to stand in the sunshine to soak up the warmth.

After an almost frosty evening, the perfectly blue sky was a welcome sight and the few trees that had begun to turn were glistening in the sunlight. As the leaves turn brown, the grass is finally turning a plush dark green.

It has been a totally weird summer. But this week marks the beginning of fall, the start of the Jewish New Year and the commencement of craft fair season! Over the next few weeks, craft fairs will be popping up on village greens around Vermont as local Vermonters descend from their homes with baskets of goodies to share with each other and the visiting leaf peepers. Local musicians will gift us with their beautiful sound from the gazebos, a beautiful background to the noises of the fair itself.

We attended the Pittsfield Arts & Craft Bazaar this past weekend and it was more a family reunion fair than a public one. Mothers and daughters of all ages walked around through the booths, chatting with the vendors — who also happened to be their neighbors. There were older couples exploring the uniqueness of this little Vermont town, only stopping by because they saw a sign on Route 100 on their foliage drive. A father and son stopped by to walk around after soccer practice and another family was looking to see if there were any yard sale type items for their ski season. My friends were there, sharing their talents with the community and it was simply beautiful. Photographs, tie-dye, massages, and more jams and jellies than one could eat in a lifetime. There were tables of toys and games for kids to pick through, ones that had been loved by local children who now have children of their own, but each piece lovingly tended to and cherished only to be shared with new children and loved again.

Neighbors sharing their love with the community and each other and strangers. It amazes me how much courage these folks must have to take something so special and oftentimes personal to them and share it with the world, putting themselves out there for all to see. I have always seen crafting as a quiet, individual activity done in your own home, perhaps with family or close friends, but not really a public sport like mountain biking or skiing. Crafting can be so personal that sometimes even your closest friends have no idea of your talents. But here, at the fair, those talents are on display for all to see and judge and even available for purchase. These fairs give us a chance not only to purchase beautiful and delicious items, but also to get to know our neighbors a little bit better. Here we can find out what inspires them to take that particular photograph or how they made tie-dyeing into an awesome business. And we become even better friends. Or we make new ones.

I bought a painting from a friend a few months ago, and the whole process has turned into a friendship. Not only because I am so excited to have this beautiful piece of art in my home, but because I have a piece of the artist. Ever see those pictures where the photographer snaps a photo before and after telling someone they are beautiful? Now imagine how they feel when you tell them their art is beautiful. That what they created is beautiful. By purchasing a piece of art, you are telling the artist that you love their soul. I was at a listing appointment early in my real estate career where the seller was explaining his art collection to me. He did not talk about the technique of the painting or the style in which it was done. He did not analyze the brush strokes or discuss the multi-media experience. Instead, he told me the stories of the artists themselves and how the creation of that particular piece was a personal struggle or a success. He wasn’t proud of the painting, he was proud of the artists themselves.

Artists who he had met and become friends with because of the art they created. And that one appointment changed me. I began to relook at the art that I had purchased in my own home and the stories behind the pieces. Each one represents a gift, a story, a friendship. Even as I sit alone in my home, I am surrounded by love. And with that realization, not only have I become an art collector, I think I might have been one all along.

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