Looming on the horizon (pun intended) – Vermont’s Open Studio Weekend – is in its 21st year – and represents long hours of hard work and preparation for everyone involved – especially the dedicated board members and staff at the Vermont Crafts Council . These folks deserve special thanks for attending to a myriad of details that go largely unnoticed. (You know who you are – thank you, thank you, – thank you!)
On Memorial Day weekend, visitors will come to our studios from all over Vermont, parts of New York, New England, Canada and beyond. Craft and art enthusiasts show their support – and satisfy their curiosity – by making Open Studio Weekend part of their holiday plans.
Some people get a copy of the map and choose their route ahead of time – eager to see particular types of work, and meet certain artisans.
Some people just hop in their cars and look for our strategically placed (?) yellow signs.
And some people see the signs – have no idea what it’s all about – but are brave, (curious? adventurous?) enough to come in and find out.
Whether you’re from “away” or just up the road the effort you make to stop in, say hi, look around, ask questions and generally take an interest in what we do – that’s what it’s all about.
Open Studio Weekend is an opportunity to share our enthusiasm for craft and art – from both sides of the loom – or lathe, or quilting frame or easel or wheel or camera or kiln.
It’s when we explain a process and see someone’s face light up. It’s when we hear people say “I can’t believe you do that” or ” I never knew that’s what happened”.
It’s when we demonstrate our tools and equipment – and (maybe, if it’s safe) let people try it for themselves. It’s when someone says “I’ve always wanted to do that” – and they can.
For some of us, getting ready for Open Studio Weekend means sending email to each of the 242 participants with reminders to:
- pick up your materials
- keep your dog(s) occupied elsewhere
- weatherproof your signs
- put your signs out just before the event (and take them down immediately after!)
It means spending money for ads in local papers and on public radio.
It means asking local shop owners for permission to put up posters and leave a few maps.
It means sending invitations to people on our contact lists, and maybe including a first look at what we’ll be offering in a special weekend sale.
It means cleaning up and clearing out – to make a space that’s “visitor-friendly”.
It means having examples of our work available to bring outside and show to someone in their car if they’re unable to come into the studio space.
It means a lot.
I think it means there are a lot of people who care about art and craft.
People with a profound belief in the value of craft and art education.
People who are willing to actively support events like Open Studio Weekend.
People who are willing to show up.
I gotta go get ready.