Area artisans show off their crafts outdoors

Apr 24, 2021

In a normal year, artists and crafters from around the region would showcase their work inside the Dartmouth Grange or the Quaker Meeting House in Westport for their local artisan shows.

With gathering limits reduced for the typical venues, shows were not allowed. So instead, South Dartmouth resident and ceramist Amy Thurber used her creativity to host the show from her front lawn.

“We usually have people at my pottery studio for the South Coast Artist Open Studio Tour and Art Drive,” she said. “So I’m pretty accustomed to opening up my space.”

On April 24, a dozen artists spent the sunny Saturday in spaced out tents and tables around Thurber’s garden to showcase crafts from paper-mâché animals and water colors to jewelry and jams.

Her neighbor, and painter/wood sculptor Lee Katzenbach, also took part in the show with a path pointing toward his studio and fellow woodworkers on Thurber’s property.

“Guests are pretty new there,” Thurber said. ‘It’s really wonderful to have that collaboration — we really just lucked out.” 

While it might have been more out of the way than a normal artisan show, attendees said they did not mind.

“It was a really nice day to spend a Saturday afternoon,” Hanson resident Arthur McLaughlan said. “It’s absolutely beautiful down here.”

Thurber noted that this was not the first time hosting an artisan show on her property. 

This past December, the South Dartmouth ceramist hosted the group's usual holiday sale on her lawn, noting that most shoppers told her they wouldn’t come down “unless it was outside.”

“It was a huge success,” she said, adding that the artisans “had so much fun that there had to be a spring show when the daffodils bloomed.” 

Westport textile artist Ruth Bourns said that despite the pandemic, the April 24 show was one of her favorite shows yet.

“I’ve done really good at this show — better than I’ve done for a long time,” she said. “But the best part will be post-pandemic.”