Oct 28, 2013
08:41 AM
Style & Shopping

Big-Box Holiday Blues? Artisans' Jewelry, Crafts in Westport, New Haven, Middletown, Guilford, Brookfield ...

Big-Box Holiday Blues? Artisans' Jewelry, Crafts in Westport, New Haven, Middletown, Guilford, Brookfield ...

An overview of the exhibit and sale at Wesleyan Potters.

These days, going out for dinner at a nice restaurant almost always means enjoying the talents of a chef who sources ingredients as locally as possible and creates menus based on seasons and micro-seasons. Why not take the same type of approach to holiday shopping and gift-giving?

In terms of dining, it’s fair to say that restaurants caught up to demand, but the opposite is true regarding gift-giving: Connecticut’s artists, artisans and fine craftsmen, and the arts-and-craft centers and events that give them an audience, have been offering beautiful locally-made items for a long, long time.

This season is the perfect time for shoppers who want to purchase special, unique gifts to strike a better balance—to complement online purchases that arrive almost instantly with more purchases of handmade items that bespeak style, individuality and integrity.

The ways and places to do so are many in Connecticut, and among them is the annual holiday sale at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, the show called Artistry: American Crafts for the Holidays at the Guilford Art Center (shown at left), and the holiday show at the troubled-but-rebounding Brookfield Craft Center.

Like the displays in New Haven and Guilford, the Brookfield venue’s annual show draws shoppers from across Connecticut and beyond, and despite the center’s operational difficulties, its Facebook page is promising that the show will go on this holiday season.

Another great option is the Wesleyan Potters 58th Annual Exhibit and Sale in Middletown.

Those sales have either opened or will debut in November. In terms of events, one of the big ones in Connecticut is CraftWestport, presented by the Westport Young Woman's League, which has been delighting collectors, art enthusiasts and discerning shoppers for 38 years with a display of contemporary fine craft from more than 170 artists and craftspeople from across the country.

This year’s show will be held Nov. 9 and 10 at Staples High School at 70 North Avenue in Westport. Show hours are Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10, $9 for senior citizens, and children under 12 are admitted for free. For more information call 845-331-7900 or see the CraftWestport website.

(Right, a work from annual holiday sale at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven by Marla Rudnick, who knits and weaves jewelry in silver and gold. Ralph Gabriner photo.)

CraftWestport, according to a release, is a national “fine craft show” featuring some of the country’s leading contemporary craft artists. In addition to these world-class craft artists, artisans from the region and across the country will be selling a diverse selection of works in all styles and prices. There will be something for everyone, from the discerning art collector to the holiday gift shopper. A raffle of artist-donated items will also be held daily.

New this year is a small pop-up marketplace of local artists selected by theWestport Young Woman’s League. They will provide a unique view of the local talent and will include some fun, budget-friendly items great for the holiday season. (Left, a work by Margaret Wozniak, who will be at CraftWestport.)

 

Big-Box Holiday Blues? Artisans' Jewelry, Crafts in Westport, New Haven, Middletown, Guilford, Brookfield ...

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