Craft in Vermont Timeline

1938 Vermont Handicraft Guild forms. Aileen Osborn Webb convenes a meeting to establish the first national organization of American craft artists under the name Handcraft Cooperative League of America, precursor to the American Crafts Council

1941 The Vermont legislature passes Act No. 68, establishing the Vermont Arts and Crafts Service within the State Department of Education

1945 Shelburne Craft School established by the Rev. J. Lynwood Smith with financial support from Aileen Webb

1947 The Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts opens in Proctorsville

1948 David Gil founds Bennington Potters; over the ensuing decades, it grows into a major ceramic industrial enterprise and wins design awards from the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Merchandise Mart, and the Academie Internationale de la Ceramique de Cannes

1950 Vermont Hand Crafters is founded to further develop crafts in Vermont

1956 Vermont Craft Market event in Shelburne established

1957 The Gables in Stowe offers a two-month Summer School of Handicraft with courses in jewelry making, painting, ceramics and enamel work

1959 Allied Craftsmen of Vermont forms

1960 Allied Craftsmen of Vermont organizes high-quality craft show in Stowe

1964 Peter Wendland the third director of the Arts & Crafts Service, shifts the focus to professional craftspeople and polished marketing campaigns

First year of the Stratton Arts Festival held every fall until 2002

1964 Bennington Potters collaborates with major American painters and sculptors (including sculptor David Smith) on a project commissioned by the magazine Art in America to make limited editions of ceramic objects

1965 Persuaded by Wendland and others, the American Craft Council (ACC) holds its first-ever craft fair at Stowe; the group is “kicked out” and has to find another home for the following year

1966 ACC fair is moved to Mt. Snow for two years

1968 ACC fair moved to Bennington for four years before outgrowing space and going to Rhinebeck, New York; admittance buttons become collectors’ items

Vermont Hand Crafters holds a wholesale show for two years in Brandon with support from the Arts & Crafts Service

Sheepbreeders Association initiates natural yarn marketing program with support from Ag Marketing Development Division

1969 D’Ann Fago becomes last director of the Arts & Crafts Service—shifts limited resources back to craft education in the public schools

First Burklyn Christmas Market is held at Burklyn Manor1970

Aileen Osborn Webb, the “grand dame” of American craft receives the coveted Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Vermont Council on the Arts

1971 Coca-Cola heir and self-described “black sheep” Alan Johnson along with Middlebury resident Dick Wissler founds the Frog Hollow Craft Center

Elizabeth Brouha officially founds Burklyn Arts Council

1972 L.J. Serkin Company opens in Bratt-leboro, one of the first fine craft stores in New England now Vermont Artisan Designs

The Arts & Crafts Service chooses Terry Faith Anderson Weihs to coordinate the Franklin County pilot project for revitalization through craft.

1973 Craftproducers is formed by Charley Dooley, John McCloud, Bob Burnell and Riki Moss to fill the void left when ACC moves their show from Bennington to Rhinebeck

Thomas Bloom, UVM Extension Researcher and Professor, produces comprehensive study on impact of crafts in the state, estimating 10 million in income from in-state sales

1974 The Interagency Crafts Council (IACC) is formed through the efforts of Ellen McCulloch-Lovell at the Vermont Council on the Arts (VCA)

Shelburne Handspinners Project begins, a Microbusiness Development Model Project that is an initiative of IACC.14 unemployed/underemployed women learn handspinning using Vermont grown wool. Success of this initiative spawned other local projects such as Kent Weavers

Vermont Council on the Arts Touring Aid Program supports residencies by craft artists in schools and community organizations; in l984, VCA eliminates craft artists from touring aid registry

David Gil of Bennington Potters is awarded Vermont Small Business “Person of the Year”

1975 Craft Professionals of Vermont (CPV) is created. CPV worked to develop marketing opportunities for craftspeople; CPV existed until 1982

First Craft Professionals of Vermont show debuts in Quechee. The show was held for another three years

Interagency Craft Council organizes the Northeast Regional Craft Fair in Stowe. The itinerant event lasted another 2 years

Frog Hollow Craft Center in Middlebury is designated as the first Vermont State Craft Center by executive order of Governor Thomas Salmon

1976 Windsor House Craft Center is designated as the second Vermont State Craft Center

Norman Kennedy, a traditional weaver from Scotland, founds Marshfield School of Weaving

The Vermont Council on the Arts (VCA) creates the Public Arts Program, a job creation and skill development initiative. The program ends in l982, when federal funding is eliminated

The VCA allocates funds for Craft Development Demonstration Initiatives; a $10,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts supports “Craftsmen in Schools”

1977 The Vermont Arts & Crafts Service ends, a victim of budget cuts in the Department of Education

UVM Extension Service & Agriculture Experiment Station conducts a survey to help craft producers place more merchandise in Vermont retail outlets

The Survey is presented to the Interagency Crafts Council

First Vermont Quilt Festival is held in Northfield

Twenty artisans get together in Plainfield and create the Artisans’ Hand

1978 The Artisans’ Hand Craft Cooperative opens on Langdon St. in Montpelier

First Craft Professionals of Vermont Juried Exhibition at the T.W. Wood Art Gallery in Montpelier

Thomas K. Bloom (UVM Extension Service) authors the publication, Business Management Skill for the Producer

First Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival presented by Craftproducers and held annually since

First Putney Artisans Festival takes place, spurred by Margot Torrey; the self-guided tour of artists studios was unique at the time and served as a model for craft tours by other organizations in the future; it is now called the Putney Craft Tour

1979 Thomas K. Bloom and Merle Schloff (UVM Extension Service) author the publication, Educational Opportunities: A Guide for the Crafts Community

1982 Craft Professionals of Vermont dissolves

First Stowe Foliage Arts Festival presented by Craftproducers and held annually ever since

Green Mountain Spinnery, a national business that processes and sells wool produced in the United States, opens in Putney

Bruce Baker does his first booth design workshop; the jewelry maker and store teaches hundreds of workshops on booth construction, marketing, sales, customer service and craft trends

1983 First Weston Craft Show of juried Vermont artisans is held in the Weston Playhouse; the annual show continues today and has been called “One of Vermont’s Top Ten Fall Events”

Vermont Lacers Guild becomes an official chapter of the International Old Lacers

1984 Vermont Council on the Arts (VCA) eliminates craft artists from touring aid registry

1985 Vermont Hand Crafters bestows Lifetime Memberships to Luella Schroeder, Katherine Dopp, Nina Eckley and Bessie Daily for their dedication to Vermont Crafts

1986 First Vermont State Craft Fair is held at Killington, organized by Vermont Department of Economic Development

Roberta MacDonald from the Vermont Department of Economic Development coordinates a showcase of Vermont furniture makers and craft for the home in a collective booth at the High Point Furniture Market and promotes Vermont furniture and craft at High Point for three years

Billings Farm & Museum holds first Windsor County Quilt Exhibition, an annual event ever since

1987 Vermonters at Their Craft is published, featuring the stories of 30 Vermont craftspeople, either native Vermonters or “sixties transplants in search of a craft dream”

1990 Vermont Crafts Council is formed for the promotion of Vermont crafts inside and outside the state

The Vermont Crafts Council and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen create an advanced level workshop program in New England; the first North Country Studio Conference is held three years later

1991 Executive Director Pamela Siers orchestrates an expansion of the Frog Hollow State Craft Center; on Church Street in Burlington, and a third location in Manchester Village

The Burlington Craft Fair moves from Memorial Auditorium to the Sheraton

1992 The Artisans’ Hand gallery on State Street burns — insurance did not cover the damage, but the members carried on; the gallery moved to Main Street above the flood plain

Marshfield School of Weaving closes, but is reborn as Eaton Hill Textiles and the School for Traditional Handweaving; recently it has again become the Marshfield School of Weaving

Frog Hollow State Craft Center opens a third location in Manchester Village across from the Equinox Hotel

Vermont Folklife Center inaugurates the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program

First Hildene Fall Arts Festival in Manchester is presented by Craftproducers

1993 Year of the American Craft is celebrated nationwide

First Open Studio Weekend sponsored by the Vermont Crafts Council

Michael Monroe of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, organizes a White House Collection of craft as part of the Year of American Craft with the support of President and Mrs. Bill Clinton; Vermont craftspeople whose work is selected for the collection are quilter Judy Dales and wood turner Alan Stirt

First North Country Studio Conference is held at the Shaker Village in Enfield, New Hampshire, the conference is moved to Bennington College in 1995, where it’s been held biennially ever since

The Woodchuck Turners of Northern Vermont is formed for the advancement of woodturning

Vermont Crafts 1993 is exhibited at the Fleming Museum in Burlington in conjunction with Year of the American Craft

Vermont Crafts Council takes over maintaining exhibit space at the “Big E”

Vermont Clay Studio is founded by Jeanne & Paul. The studio offers numerous ceramics workshops and exhibitions, but closes in 2003

1995 Vermont Crafts Council produces a display of Vermont crafts at the first new Welcome Center on I-91 in Bradford

President Bill Clinton stops at Frog Hollow Craft Center in Burlington

North Country Studio Conference is moved to Bennington College for its biennial master-level workshops

1996 Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) moves its national headquarters to Vermont

Vermont Clay Studio moves from Montpelier to Waterbury Center on Rte.100

1997 Vermont Furniture Makers Guild is organized

Seven local artisans found Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild as a cooperative craft shop in St. Johnsbury

Fred and Judi Danforth, of Danforth Pewter, are named as US Small Business Administration’s Vermont Small Business Persons of the Year

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund creates Cornerstone Fund to assist Vermont wood manufacturing businesses create markets for sustainable Vermont products and services

Agriculture Development Division organizes fiber producers (Vermont FiberWorks)

1998 Vermont FiberWorks receives USDA grant to expand fiber processing in Vermont

1999 Randolph warehouse becomes the White River Craft Center

Brandon craftspeople and artists form the Brandon Artists’ Guild under leadership of folk artist Warren Kimble

2002 Vermont Wood Products Marketing Council forms under the auspices of the Department of Economic Development

2003 First Vermont Fine Furniture and Woodworking Festival, an annual showcase thereafter in Woodstock

The Brandon Artists’ Guild blossoms with the advent of The Really Really Pig Show, repeated in subsequent years with other themes such as birdhouses, rocking chairs, and artist palettes

Vermont Clay Studio closes

2005 Southern Vermont Arts & Living magazine, an innovative fine arts, crafts and lifestyle print quarterly is founded to promote the arts in the southern Vermont and larger New England region

2006 Vermont Crafts Council begins work on State of Craft, a major cultural heritage initiative undertaken in anticipation of VCC’s 20th anniversary in 2010

2007 Vermont Crafts Council grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design to underwrite oral history interviews by the Vermont Folklife Center

Vermont Woodworking School is founded in a historic barn in Fairfax by Carina Driscoll, Blake Ewoldsen and Bob Fletcher

2008 Frog Hollow Craft Center closes in Manchester

2009 The original Frog Hollow Craft Center closes in Middlebury, a casualty of the economic downturn, leaving just one Frog Hollow location in Burlington

Two new Vermont State Craft Centers are designated, the first since the mid-70s, with the State imprimatur given to the Artisans’ Hand cooperative gallery in Montpelier and the Gallery at the V.A.U.L.T. in Springfield

2010 State of Craft is unveiled, with 25 showcase events across the state and a major exhibition at the Bennington Museum; the project’s goal is to document, preserve and interpret the history of the studio craft movement in Vermont from 1960-2010

Vermont Crafts Council celebrates its 20th anniversary

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