Contemporary NH Folk Art, featuring the work of League of NH Craftsmen

2019 Contemporary NH Folk Art Exhibition, League of NH Craftsmen

Friday, April 5 – Sunday, September 29, 2019
9:30am-5:00pm Open 7 days
upstairs at Discover Portsmouth

This exhibition is free and open to the public

Portsmouth Historical Society is proud to display in our balcony gallery works of art made by members of the League of NH Craftsmen.

Our historically-oriented exhibitions are accompanied by a complementary look at contemporary work in a related vein. Although these artists and craftsmen are trained academically in many instances, their work often reflects an emphasis on the “handmade.” The choice of traditional methods and materials, and preference for strong forms and bold colors, are attributes that they share in common with much folk art from earlier centuries. Together, our exhibitions provide an opportunity to see a snapshot of the trajectory of folk art, broadly conceived, over time.

Jane Balshaw, Aggregate

Jane Balshaw, “Aggregate”

Contemporary NH Folk Art is the companion exhibition to the concurrent New Hampshire Folk Art: By the People, For the People exhibition opening in Discover Portsmouth’s Academy Gallery on April 5th.

The Contemporary NH Folk Art exhibition features the work of League of NH Craftsmen juried members including Art Anderson, Jane Balshaw, Misty Batchelder, David Bridgewater, Loring Cheney, Grace Collette, Jeffrey Cooper, Kathleen Dustin, Don Felix, Linda Jacque, Kate Kilgus, Fred Kretchman, Jim Lambert, Kristina Logan, Douglas Alan Masury, Adam Nudd-Homeyer, Diane Louise Paul, Stephen Proctor, Anne Sherman, Teresa Taylor, William Taylor, Michael Updike, Maureen Mills, and Steven Zoldak.

Medallion Jar, Steven Zoldak

Medallion Jar, Steven Zoldak

A wide variety of media will be on exhibition including ceramic, mixed media, leather, furniture, quilts, hooked rugs, glass, and weaving. Each master craftsman has interpreted the theme of Contemporary Folk Art in their own signature style.

Mission and History of the League

The League’s mission is to encourage, nurture and promote the creation, use and preservation of fine contemporary and traditional craft through the inspiration and education of artists and the broader community.

The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen is one of the oldest and most recognized craft organizations in the country. Throughout its more than 85 year history, the League has helped craftspeople sell their work, hone their skills, and generate income. More than 750 juried craftspeople produce exceptional contemporary and traditional craft in a wide range of media, including calligraphy, botanicals, baskets, clay, leather, printmaking, metal, wood, glass, non-metal jewelry, fiber, polymer clay, photography and mixed media.

The League’s story begins in the mid-1920s when Mrs. Mary Coolidge and A. Cooper Ballentine joined forces to promote craft in New Hampshire. By 1932, The League of New Hampshire Arts and Crafts had been established, and the first official League shop was opened in Wolfeboro. The following year, the first Craftsmen’s Fair was held, making it the oldest craft fair in the country. Rebranded as the League of NH Craftsmen in 1968, the League is recognized today as one of the country’s foremost fine arts organizations.

Don Felix, Copper Swallow Weathervane

Don Felix, “Copper Swallow Weathervane”


While thousands attend the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair each August, many more find the work of the craftsmen year-round through our network of Fine Craft Galleries located in North Conway, Littleton, Hanover, Meredith, Center Sandwich, Concord, Nashua and Hooksett. The Grodin Permanent Collection Museum, located at the League’s Headquarters in Concord, provides visitors with an incomparable journey through the history of fine craft in New Hampshire, from 1932 to the present. In addition, the Headquarters Exhibition Gallery provides a showcase for the current work of juried members in fine gallery setting.

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