Farmers Market Finds recently visited the Sugarloaf Craft Festival, held at the beautiful Montgomery County Fairgrounds conveniently located in the Maryland suburbs outside of Washington DC. Maryland is the home of Sugarloaf Mountain Works. They have held shows there for over 30 years! The show attracts art enthusiasts from all over the nation. Rated as one of the top craft experiences in the country, last year more than 175,000 visitors attended Sugarloaf Craft Festivals and enjoyed the work of thousands of juried artisans.
The fairgrounds house large open barn structures where over 250 artisans set up their booths. Each building featured talented craft designers and fine artists and featured a huge variety of crafts from blown glass and sculpture to designer bags, clothing and pottery to handmade jewelry and more.
One of the artists we had the pleasure of speaking with was Elaine from Elaine Thompson Art from New York. Her whimsical and meaningful oil-on-canvas paintings were truly unique. These adorable foxes, bears, raccoon’s and other animals captivate you in different scenarios drawing you in to see more.
Following the amazing sounds of church bells, ships bells and chimes I came across Doug Hain from Old Town Wind Bells. Old fashioned sand casting methods are kept alive in the Old Town Wind Bells’ studio workshop where craftsmanship and quality are shown in every piece. Each bell has its own unique mottled patina consisting of black, blues and shades of green. Each shape and size gives them their own distinct sound and can be enjoyed outdoors year round.
These artists are generous, allowing shoppers to sample products. When visiting the ladies room it was a pleasure to use the strawberry sugar scrub left by Mountain Mist for patrons to try with a sign showing patrons where to find them. Now that’s good marketing!
Which brings us to another great creator, Rochel Roland from Joyful Bath Co. She had many different salts that you can buy by the pound and scoop by scooping your own but she was generous enough to give everyone a sample of her Oatsy Floatsie Lavender Mix. I may just keep it in my purse a bit longer because it smells amazing!
The festival also featured many interactive demonstrations with master craftspeople. Many of the talented artists at the show will show you how they create their art; demonstrations include wheel thrown pottery, wood turning and metal spinning. The demonstrations gave you a deeper insight into the work that is involved. One of them was Broom Making by Jeff Heilman. Aside from offering a wide variety of brooms, from the husky barn broom to a tiny veggie scrubber he also offers decorative brooms. Jeff provides entertaining and educational demonstration of the art while using antique, human powered equipment.
Ending on a sweet note, we stopped by Honey Comb Heroes where they are making the world sweeter, one sting at a time! Fresh from the hives are candles, lotions, lip balms, skin care products and of course delicious honey.
If you are a lover of fine crafts and art put this on your event calendar and enjoy the unique creations these artisans have to offer. See you next time at the market!