Wednesday, November 7, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Celebrating 50 Years of Craft Festivals: Worcester Center for Crafts Unveils Line-Up

WORCESTER, MA - The Worcester Center for Crafts in Worcester announces its fiftieth year of organizing Craft Festivals by unveiling the artists participating in the 2018 Holiday Festival of Crafts which will occur at their 25 Sagamore Road facility on Friday, November 23, Saturday, November 24, and Sunday, November 25, 2018. 

Featuring sixty-one fine craft artists and their work, the Festival is held indoors and includes free parking and an on-site cafe provided by Bushel N Peck. The Festival is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM, and on Sunday 11 AM - 4 PM. Admission is a $5 donation to the Crafts Center with children 12 and under free.

Artists participating this year include: Marian Ives (Ives Weathervanes & Ornaments), Susan Garry (Felt Experience), Virginia Stevens (Virginia Stevens Designs), Ann Szerlip (Ann Szerlip Glass Designs), Mary Risley (Mary Risley Jewelry), Aron Leman (Aron Leaman Glass), Betty Barrett (B Barrett Jewelry), Laura Pierce (Iris Designs), Samir Dhamija (My Méz), Sibel Alpaslan (Ceramics by Sibel), Jan Franco (JMF Dezigns Exquisite Jewelry), Andy Osborne (Beaded Dragon Artisans), Janice Kissinger (Janice Kissinger), and Nancy Wolinski (Nancy Marland Jewelry). 

Also coming are Lora Wahl Kudisch (Many Colored Glass), Trish Kozub (Idazz Custom Designs), Frank Dobai (The Shade Tree, LLC), Michelle & Bill Champitto (Fresh Cut Glass), Reid Gilmore (Central New England Woodturners), Marcy Schepker (Pear Tree Studio), Peter Jones (Mountain Street Pottery), Doug Burritt  (Harbor Sweets), J. Ann Eldridge (Ann Eldridge Prints), Betsy Keeney (Centre Village Studio), Lauren Beaudoin (Creative Dexterity), Syd Milliken (Malabar Glass), Regina St John (Chena River Marblers), Carole Michelfelder (Taproot Threads), and Ania Davis (EPOCA).

Rounding out the artistic line-up are Tony Restivo (Wood Wonders), Brenda Morrison (Jasmine Keane), Deborah Kracht (ArtHead Studio), Michael Gadsby (Custom Wood Works), Linda Williams (Country Weaver Designs), Vartus Varadian (Vartus Design), Carol Joannidi & Dana Hunt (Little Cat Metals), Melissa Rioux (DAFNI greek Gourmet) David Pollock (Maggie's Farm), Elizabeth Ryan (Looka Jewelry), Renee Mallett (Amaranth & Rue), Nancy E. Burke (Quicksilver Glass), Dianna Beaulieu (D.J. Jewelry Designs), Kim Cutler (Kim Cutler Ceramics), Heather Bevilacqua (Grinns), Aisling Colleary (Horizon Line Ceramics), Lauren Blais (Lauren Blais design), Tracy Levesque (Tracy Levesque Fine Art), Hillary Hutton (Hutton Handwovens), Suzanne & Steven Rosendahl (Teagan and Ash), Marcia Press (Meshugenah Hat Company, llc), Marianne Janik (Calli B.), Mark Hutton (Hutton Studios), Patrick Zephyr (Patrick Zephyr Nature Photography), Jennifer Moran (Gracie's Gunnies), Nancy Engel (Goodness Remedies), Susan Swift (Swift Farms), Caroline Golden Kirkland (c.e. golden), Tomoko Sakai (Supercooled), and Heather Kidson (Heather Bell Designs). 

L to R: Blue Bowl - Supercooled, Tomo Sakai ; Jewelry - EPOCA , Ania Kowalska Davis ; Paper Frames - Teagan & Ash , Suzanne & Steven Rosendahl

Artists include ones who have been represented at the Festival in years past and new ones. “We love to give new artists a chance to expose our Festival audiences to their work,” said Candace Casey, WCC Gallery/Gallery Store Director and organizer of the Holiday Festival, “and to find artists in our own community who deserve a chance to shine and offer their work to the community.” 

Artists participating from the local area include Kim Cutler (ceramics, Worcester), Tomoko Sakai (Supercooled, glass, Worcester), Trish Kozub (IDAZZ Designs, jewelry, Hopkinton), Josh Swalec (blacksmith, Leicester), Lauren Beaudoin (Creative Dexterity, jewelry, Springfield), Elizabeth Ryan (Looka Jewelry, Spencer), and Tony Restivo (Wood Wonders, Springfield). Josh Swalec, Tomo Sakai, Lauren Beaudoin, and Liz Ryan have taught at the Worcester Center for Crafts.

LOCAL ARTISTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS. Kim Cutler’s work has elegant designs and simple decoration which she attributes to her years as a professional graphic designer. She is also involved with the Worcester Garden Club and has headed the WAM Flora in Winter program. Lauren Beaudoin spent many of her teen-aged years at the Craft Center working and experimenting with metals. She has been the Head of the Center’s Metals Department and now has a jewelry line called Creative Dexterity which features collections such as OCD, Bonjour Nino, and Repurposed. Elizabeth Ryan whose business is called Looka Jewelry was born into a family that embraced all of the arts and crafts but discovered her love of working in metals and the world of small objects and jewelry during her studies at Massachusetts College of Art.  Tomo Sakai and her husband Eric Cruze are setting up their studio in a historic home in Worcester. They pull glass cane which they use in their finished products at the Center’s New Street Glass Studio where they both served as Artists in Residence. Tomo teaches as well at Corning Glass Museum. Josh Swalec is one of the visionaries behind WorcShop, an industrial makers space in Worcester, and creates knives, implements, serving utensils and more. Trish Kozub is a return jewelry artist who has yearly customers who eagerly await each Festival to see what new designs she has. Tony Restivo specializes in custom wood work like jewelry boxes, keepsake boxes, and custom furniture.

 Contact Honee Hess at if you are interested in lining up interviews.

L to R: Ceramic - Mountain View Pottery, Peter Jones ; Josh Swalec hammering at Hot Night in the City 2018

The Holiday Festival of Crafts is the logical partner to the Buy Local and Eat Local movements of the last decade as it features hand-made work exclusively in an environment where you can meet the maker, you can take your time, and the artist can personally assist you. 

The Festival is part of the Craft Center’s mission to create and inspire a creative community by showcasing craft and artisan gifts for purchase - mobiles, wooden puzzles for adults and for children, glass and ceramic ornaments as well as wind chimes, wooden kitchen utensils, ceramics, soap and candles, wearables, jewelry, children’s toys and more—all handmade American work.

“It is amazing that the Center has maintained true to the creative community for this long by continuing to provide a delightful, safe, and interesting space for artists to display their work,” said Craft Center executive director Honee Hess. “Fifty years of emptying the studios, putting up tents, lining up volunteers, providing parking, and then opening the doors to a winter wonderland of creativity for the people of Worcester and surrounding areas—well, that’s a lot of passion for a small organization, its staff and volunteers—but the dividends for the artists and our audiences are well worth the fifty years of work!”

Sponsored by UniBank, the Festival continues the tradition of the Worcester Center for Crafts as an economic engine for artists.  “The Festival has become a tradition,” says Candace Casey. “It is our pleasure to promote the best of American handmade craft.”

The year-round Worcester Center for Crafts Gallery Store will also be open during the Festival making work available by over 300 other artisans from all over the country including fine glass work by Simon Pearce. 

The Festival is also an opportunity to give the Gift of Craft: Festival goers can buy gift cards for use in the Gallery Store and to sign up for a variety of classes and workshops. The Craft Center offers instruction for adults and for youth in both six-week classes and shorter workshops where you can learn the skills of making with glass, metal, enamels, clay and more. 


About the Worcester Center for Crafts:

The Worcester Center for Crafts (WCC) is one of the oldest non-profit institutions for craft study in the United States. Founded in 1856 as the Worcester Employment Society to help immigrant women produce and sell hand-crafted wares to support their families, the Center evolved over the past 155 years into New England’s leading center for craft education, exhibition and entrepreneurship. In 2004, the organization expanded and opened the New Street Glass Studio – an off-campus, 8,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, multi-studio glass facility. The WCC offers the only comprehensive glass studio program in New England available to the public. In 2009, WCC became partners with Worcester State University and now hosts WSU visual arts program in its studios. The Craft Center’s mission is “inspire and build a creative community through the promotion, appreciation and teaching of craft.” It accomplishes this by providing high-quality craft education and training, by supporting craft artists in their professions, and through advocacy and public education initiatives including adult education classes and workshops, youth education and outreach programs, exhibitions showcasing the work of established and emerging artists, artist residencies, lectures, family events, studio rentals, Gallery Store, and major events. The WCC is a member of the Worcester Cultural Coalition and receives funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


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