Women Artists’ Guild setting up for the holidays
Sept. 22, 2011
By Adam White
Aisles full of Halloween candy in local stores warn that the holiday season is fast approaching. But shoppers will have some new gift-buying opportunities this year, thanks to a group of local artists taking over an old space in Williston.
The Women Artists’ Guild (WAG) of Richmond will set up a “pop-up market” for arts and crafts at the site of the former driving range adjacent to Maple Tree Place. Beginning on Oct. 12, the group will offer a wide variety of goods ranging from jewelry, handbags and wallets to linens, pillows and quilts, with the dual purpose of supporting their artistic endeavors and helping local charities in the process.
The market will run through Dec. 22, giving even the worst procrastinators a chance to put handcrafted gifts beneath the holiday tree.
“For all crafters and artists, the holiday season is the busiest time there is,” said Alyson Chase, a founder of WAG and organizer of the market. “A lot of the artists have done holiday craft shows, but this is easier – you don’t have to break everything down and set it back up again.”
Chase said that WAG came about at the end of last year, out of local artists’ need to “network and support each other.” After hosting a small holiday craft fair at her studio in Richmond, Chase started looking for a local space in which to establish a pop-up market.
“Part of WAG, for me, is doing events to showcase and sell our products,” said Chase, who is the wife of Williston Public Works Director Bruce Hoar. “I had been looking for a space, and had just about given up when I talked with Al Senecal about the driving range. The building there is perfect for us.”
Chase’s art centers on an antique house ware called a floor cloth. A type of floor covering akin to a heavy canvas rug, the floor cloth was popular in the 1700s, when it was traditionally fashioned from recycled ship sails.
“My first floor cloth was a 9-by-9 (foot) piece that I made when we remodeled our home,” she said. “Later on, I taught a class in how to make them.”
One of the students in that class was Mary Claire Carroll. After 25 years working as a portrait photographer, Carroll was interested in branching out with her artistic expression.
“Last year, I decided to take some of my personal work and get it out into the public eye,” said Carroll, who will feature photo cards at the market as well as enlargements. She is interested to see how her work fares alongside the more traditional items at the market.
“It’s really intriguing to me, because everyone else has hand painting, or hand-crafted jewelry,” Carroll said. “I create, but it’s a different kind of art. It’s not done by hand, it’s done by eye.”
Other artists featured at the market include Carol Maguire Home (table linens, pillows, quilts), Lori Yarrow of Copper Creations (copper, silver and brass jewelry), Janet Auman of Shiny Things (fused glass jewelry) and Laura Hale of Found Beauty Studio (art made with recycled and repurposed items). The market will be co-operative, meaning that WAG members involved will share the duties of operations.
Chase said other artists not involved with WAG will be allowed to include their work on consignment, provided it fits within the scope of the inventory.
“We are jurying the work that comes in, because we want to have a variety of things in the store,” Chase said. “We don’t want to have too many multiple things, like jewelry.”
Community service is also a component of the artists’ market. One day per month will be designated as a fundraising day for a local charity, and a percentage of all proceeds from sales will go to causes like the United Way’s Vermont Disaster Relief Fund, Hunger Free Vermont and the Williston and Richmond community food shelves.
“When we first started WAG, we felt it was important to make community service a key part of our organization,” Carroll said. “Being able to give back to the community is a key part of what artists and craftspeople do.”
The WAG Holiday Craft Market will run from Oct. 12 through Dec. 22, on the following schedule: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit WAG’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/WAG-Women-Artists-Guild-of-Richmond-Vermont/113676992053338.