Design New England

Connecting with Craftboston Spring 2012

For aficionados of fine crafts, taking a stroll through Craftboston at the Seaport World Trade Center is akin to walking into a candy store as a child — only instead of edible candy, there is eye candy galore. Back for it’s 11th anniversary, the show, which is open through Sunday, March 25, features more than 200 artists and artisans. Many are exhibiting wearable art such as clothing, hats, jewelry, and even shoes, but, no surprise, it was the furnishings, accessories, and art for the home that had us mesmerized. Here we highlight just a few of our favorites.


Silk Impressions
At first glance, the silk embroideries created by Out of Paradise Hand Embroidery Gallery, run by a mother and son artist team, trick the eye with their detailed precision. Though all are three dimensional, some appear as paintings or line drawings. Each offers a refined “wow” factor as they draw the curious viewer in to make a closer examination. Verne Yan, who learned the art and technique of silk embroidery from his mother, Linying Wang, a well-known embroidery artist, when he was a teenager, has been designing and embroidering for 20 years. “The impression” is most important, says Yan, and what an impression he has made. “We see him at every show we go to,” said one couple who stopped at his booth. “He’s amazing.”

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Verne Yan carefully pulls silk threads through a silk screen with a needle to stich his beautiful creations.

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Hand silk embroidery is a traditional Chinese craft. Above, every detail of the dog’s features are apparent through Yan’s fine embroidery craftsmanship.

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Burly Bags
A few booths down, wooden purses full of character and charm caught our eye. Lightweight and sleek, the purses are a product of Hammill/Diebolt Studio, run by Mark Titus Diebolt and Sharon Hammill Diebolt. Exotic woods make up the body of the purses, while double-dyed box elder burl, a very soft wood that absorbs dye to create a pressurized plastic material, creates a unique touch to the clasp area.

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Pommele bubinga wood from Africa with double-dyed box elder burl makes for a striking combination.

Racking It Up
A returning exhibitor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, lived up to expectation with extraordinary work from the students in its artistry program.

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Ge Yang, 26, exhibited his first piece of furniture, made after only half a year in the artistry program. Mahogany, maple, and oak make up this delightful coat rack complete with wooden hangers. Yang felt strongly about not using metal, so the pieces are held together with wooden dowels for a more traditional look.

Maine Woods
The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, is a different kind of school, with a broad spectrum of students from varying backgrounds, ages, and abilities, and interests. All pieces exhibited were student work and participating in shows such as Craftboston is part of the lesson plan.

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Display stands of veneer, walnut, and lacquer by Michael Danchak of Danchak Woodworks LLC appear to be draped with tablecloths. However, the illusion is created by a process of bending wood and then applying a paper veneer. “It really makes it look like material,” says Danchak. The tables average $500 a piece.

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A close-up of the textured paper veneer on top of one of the stands.

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A hall table by Jerry Wilkins, fine furniture maker, made of macassar ebony, gabon ebony, satin wood, and lacquer priced at $4,200.

Agrarian Redux
Rural looking ceramics colored in muted tones by Jeremy Randall from Tully, New York, caught our attention. The rustic appearance of the vases, jars, and platters, many modeled on old-fashioned farm tinware containers, were inspired by Randall’s love of “rural American architecture.”

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The yellow ceramic vase, $140, and the blue jar, $300, would be perfect accessories for farmhouse or a fun addition to a sleek city loft.

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Cast from plastic ware, these whimsical cups are not only imaginative but microwave and dishwasher safe.

Toy Story
We are never disappointed in what Boston’s North Bennet Street School brings to the show. The venerable 127-year-old trade school displays student work in disciplines from fine furniture and violin making to bookbinding. This year, a surprise “sleeper” were the yo-yo’s by Sean Lohmar.

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Yo-yo’s by Sean Lohmar made of walnut, cherry, white oak, yellowheart, bubinga, pedauk, and polyurethane sit atop a cherry tripod corner table, also by Lohmar, a junior at North Bennet Street.

(We) Love Notes
Melissa Chao, owner and artist at To Boldly Fold, showcased beautifully crafted, and locally made, hand-sewn books and paper goods.

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‘Follow Your Heart’ cards were our personal favorite. For $12, the set comes with four blank cards with a hand-sewn heart that has been cut from a real map. A hand- cut heart is featured on each envelope as well — talk about coming from the heart.

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Craftboston, craftboston.org, is open March 24 Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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