August 12th, 2006

Crafts, mountains, friends

Yesterday I made one of favorite my annual treks to get away from it all, driving a few hours to the western part of New Hampshire to the Sunapee Crafts Fair.

That website doesn’t even begin to do it justice, nor do the words “Crafts Fair,” which conjure up macrame planters viewed by granola-chumping strollers in Birkenstocks.

No, not this one. The crafts are as sophisticated as they come, and as beautiful (also, alas, as expensive–I spent part of the day trying on the most spectacular suede coat in the world, priced at $1450, and then sadly bidding it adieu. A person can dream, right?).

The setting is a state park in the mountains near a lake. The weather was unusually glorious–and, just as unusual, somewhat chilly. The exhibitors (all 200+ of them) are set up in a series of huge tents: fiber artists and jewelers and printmakers and iron forgers and furniture artisans of indescribable flair and grace. One picture is worth a thousand words, but the photos at the website don’t express how stupendously and splendiferously beautiful these wares are.

There are also the usual overpriced sausage sandwiches and pizza slices, not all that lovely–I had one of the former. And I managed to purchase three gifts for others (wedding and two birthdays), all wonderful, all unique.

I noticed once again, as I’ve noticed many times before, that craftspeople at this level tend to look quite striking. Visually and artistically inclined, of course, as well as individualistic, they pay attention to colors and textures and uniqueness. Many of them have a calm and centered quality that must come from the Zen-like concentration required to work this way, day after day.

This is in contrast to what I’ve noticed when groups of writers get together (bloggers, of course, are in a different category altogether). About 20% of writers seem to be visual people, as well, and pay some attention to how they look (I count myself among their number). The other 80% appear to have emerged from their garrets resembling nothing more than a bunch of moles blinking from the unaccustomed light of day. Their clothes are thrown together from a ragtag grab bag–styleless and formless and shapeless; their bodies something only tentatively inhabited, poorly tended housing for their vast and overworked brains.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not really all that far off; I’ve been to a bunch of writers’ workshops in my time. And a more colorless-looking lot of people you’d be hard pressed to find.

But I digress; back to the Crafts Fair. Best of all, I always meet my old college roommate there (we always joke about that word “old,” too, especially as the years go by and we edge closer to being just that). She lives in western New Hampshire, and I don’t get to see her all that often, so the Fair is a good venue for a get-together.

There’s nothing, nothing, nothing like a friend for life, a best friend, a true friend. We’ve been there for each other through all the considerable ups and considerable downs of the last–well, who’s counting?–years, through sickness and health and through not-all-that-rich and poorer and through love and marriage and kids and even changes of politics.

Afterwards we ate in a dreadful restaurant with a beautiful view on the shores of Lake Sunapee, until the sun set and we went our respective ways, she to the northwest and me to the northeast. But the friendship remains.

10 Responses to “Crafts, mountains, friends”

  1. mizpants Says:

    What a welcome post, on a day when the news is both depressing and agitating.Wish I’d been there too.
    I can confirm what you say about writers. I like to think of myself as part of the 20% who try to pull themselves together visually, but I fear that whatever my intentions, the result may put me squarely in the ranks of the 80%.
    But philosophers (my husband is one) are the zhlubiest of them all. It’s a real treat to watch them at their professional meetings. They stumble around hotel lobbies like wasps whose nests have just been fumigated.You’ve never seen so much dandruff, so many amateurishly tied ties, so many grubby collars and popped buttons, so much evidence of color-blindness.
    At least this used to be true. Now the meetings are beginning to look more like the MLA. The young ones have that louche, fashionable all-in-black look.
    Well, enough of this pleasant respite. Now it’s back to glumly perusing the commentary on Olmert’s fold.

  2. senescentwasp Says:

    A true, old friend and something fun to do with the friend. Surely a recipe for a great day.

    I love craft that dances on the edges of art. Some of my most prized possessions come from that interface. What a great way to spend a day or three.

  3. Heyman Nationwide Says:

    I changed after watching LOOSE CHANGE FINAL CUT. You can watch the REALITY of the Neo-Conned agenda too!
    Go to In the search bar type in: loose change final cut. Or if you want a free download? Go to
    This administration is TRYING to scare everyone into their submission.
    Not this liberal. I’m voting Greens and third party from now on. The Republicrats have their own agenda. Pilfer, lie and submit to their corporate friends. At ANY cost.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, nice way to stay on topic Heyman Nationwide.

    And no, just cause you are a troll, I won’t click your links.

  5. nyomythus Says:

    I’m voting Greens and third party Yahooo for freedom! Split the ticket!

  6. Cappy Says:

    Yep, nothing like a troll like Heyman to feel the need to speak up where not invited. It reminds me of the day when we discussed liberal friends and relatives dropping us. That’s one of the reasons for blogs like this.

  7. Foobarista Says:

    I take it none of you have ever been to an ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) conference. Bad clothes goes with the territory, although one thankful thing is techies don’t even try to wear bad suits. With jeans, shorts, and T-shirts, there’s no need to worry about badly-tied ties, popped buttons, etc…

    The most interesting game at these conferences is to see how many people are wearing company T-shirts from companies that no longer exist. I have about two dozen of these…

  8. goesh Says:

    8/14/06: Three (3) orphans molested by masked gunmen in Tikrit

    I wanted to beat Pete to the punch…

  9. goesh Says:

    8/14/06: Five (5) elderly Sunni nursing home residents drug behind Shia cars through the streets to the cheers of vendors and shoppers in Sadr City.

    Sorry Pete for stealing your thunder-somebody has to….

  10. goesh Says:

    8/14/06: Sunni soccer team from the Ramadi high school sics starving dogs on Shi’ite quadripalegic.

    Sorry, Pete, I’m just faster than you are.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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