Niagara Gazette — “Craft as Art. It’s what we’re made of,” is the slogan of the Kenan Center’s 43rd annual 100 American Craftsmen show, but planners say it’s also the heart of its success for more than four decades.
Over the span of 43 years, the event has showcased— as exhibitors and demonstrators—a veritable “who’s who” of craft artisans who went on to prominent careers as artists and educators, including enamel artist Shirley Rosenthal, Wendell Castle — known as the “father of the art furniture movement”; fiber artist Nancy Belfer (mother of author Lauren Belfer); master woodworker Doug Sigler; and Harold B. “Bill” Helwig, a leader in 20th century enameling, just to name a few.
While some of the artists are from the Niagara region, artisans primarily come from north eastern United States and Mid-Atlantic, with some coming from as far as Texas and California. Twelve of the artisans received automatic acceptance as master craftsmen or previous Best of Show winners including: Richard Aerni, Sally Danforth, Bryan Hopkins, and Jim & Pat Reno, all clay artisans; Julia Skop, jewelry; and Chris Stangler, paper. Previous Best of Show awardees who will be returning are: Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz, clay; Andrea Geer, wearable fiber; Robert Hessler, clay; Cheryl and Don Olney, wood; Scott Sober, wood; and Joann Vanderheite, mixed media.
In addition to the craft artisans, visitors to 100 American Craftsmen can enjoy a variety of special amenities including live music throughout the weekend. This year’s line-up includes: the Ralph Fava Trio on Friday night; Jackie Davis & Friends, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday; John & Mary, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday; and Doug Yeomans & Mountain Run 3-6 p.m. Saturday. Pocket Change Trio will perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and the Mark Mazur Trio will close the show from 2-5 p.m. Sunday.