Galleries : Artisans Festival bigger than ever
Three years ago, Whitney Moody was laid off from her job - so she took up knitting. "I couldn't stop," says the West Tisbury resident who will display Whitknits, her new line of hand-knit handbags at this summer's Vineyard Artisans Festivals. A participant since last year, she calls it the best of the Island's arts and crafts fairs and enjoys the sense of community.
"Working on your own all winter, you can't wait to talk to people," Ms. Moody says. "People appreciate you." She finds more of an exchange with customers at the festival than in other settings.
Boasting its largest number of vendors yet, the Vineyard Artisans Festival opens for the summer season on Sunday, June 14, at the West Tisbury Grange Hall. More than 60 of the Island's year-round artists and craftspeople will offer Islanders and visitors handmade collectibles ranging from children's beds to knitted purses to fine art photography.
Jamie Rogers, who assists her mother, Andrea Rogers, in running the festival, attributes its growing popularity in part to the Island trend toward supporting local products. "The downtrend in the economy also means more people are supplementing their income through their artistic endeavors," she says.
The 12th annual Summer Festival will continue every Sunday through September from 10 am to 2 pm. Food will be provided by Slice of Life, since Lola's, the previous caterer, closed its doors.
On Labor Day weekend, September 5 and 6, the show will move to the West Tisbury Agricultural Hall for its 14th annual Labor Day Festival from 10 am to 5 pm. Fairs will also take place Columbus Day weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, and once in December at either the Grange Hall or the Agricultural Hall.
Although the weather was cool on May 22, the opening day of the festival's Memorial Day weekend launch, by the next day sunshine was plentiful and so were the crowds. Jamie Rogers, a silversmith and a blacksmith, was pleased with the interest in her products - silver jewelry that incorporates crystals, stones, minerals, and fossils - and made additional sales to customers after the weekend ended.