Are you familiar with tramp art and whirligigs? Searching for the perfect ornament to add to your collection? How about wearable, functional art, or a custom-made dollhouse? Come and peruse a bounty of fine hand-made work at the American Artisan Show!

The Wilton Historical Society will host the 31st annual American Artisan Show on Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6. With 40 diverse artisans, this popular show highlights arts, crafts and designs that have been part of fine American handwork since the 18th and 19th centuries, including:  Shaker-style furniture, pottery, glass, kitchen wares, Nantucket-style baskets, hand-woven scarves, quilts, rugs, floor cloths, art, tavern signs, soap, jewelry, beautifully crafted cutting boards, plus much more

Fittingly, the show is set in the Society’s charming 18th and 19th century buildings at 224 Danbury Rd./Rte. 7 in Wilton. The American Artisan Show’s hours on Saturday, Nov. 5 are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; the show is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6. Admission is $10 per person.

Preview and Auction

The American Artisan Show kicks off with a festive Preview and Auction Gala on Friday, Nov. 4 from 6-9 p.m., giving guests the first opportunity to browse and buy while enjoying fine hors d’oeuvres provided by Wilton’s The Schoolhouse Restaurant at Cannondale. A Silent Auction will feature pieces contributed by the artisans and other generous friends of the Society.

“All proceeds will directly benefit the Historical Society and its efforts to preserve Wilton’s history,” says E. Bulkeley Griswold, president of the Board of Trustees of the Wilton Historical Society. Tickets to the Nov. 4 Gala are $100. The Preview Party Committee is chaired by Meaghan Donovan and Nancy Perez, trustees of the Society.

An Expanded Show

Leslie Nolan, executive director of the Wilton Historical Society, says one of the most important changes to the event this year involves the 1772 Fitch House.

“We have made the Artisan Show even more of a great experience by increasing the number of artisans we can accommodate.  We literally expanded the space we have for exhibitors by taking over the Rockwell Dining Room and the Tavern Room in the Fitch House. This year we have 40 artisans,” she said.

Lynda Campbell, Moira Craw, Kim Mellin and Catherine Romer, volunteers and trustees, are co-chairs of the Exhibitor Committee.

“We have a truly amazing range of artisans and the objects they create. We are thrilled to welcome Mills & Zoldak Potters, phenomenal artists who create teapots, boxes, vases, plates, lidded jars and mugs which are full of personality and spirit,” said Campbell. “Kami Watson is another fine example of the very high level of quality we present at the show. She combines castoff-antique silk saris, recycled clothing fabric, and her own hand-dyed fabrics and fibers to create her wearable works of art. Quite extraordinary.”

New this year is Faith Fellows, who makes beaded leather accessories. Faith said she was “…fascinated by American Indian beadwork, and studied the earliest forms and bead and quill work and the various tribal influences,” which inform the designs of her meticulously embroidered bags. Jason Curtis of Easton is making his debut with a striking collection of unusual and whimsical art glass pieces including paperweights, vases, lamps, and other objects. Peggy Teich, who makes hooked rugs in the American primitive style, is traveling all the way from Wisconsin to be in the show.

Another artisan new to the show is redware potter Selinda Kennedy, who specializes in featuring 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century motifs inspired by early folk art found on frakturs, band boxes, coverlets, quilts, inn signs, rugs, paintings, and bride’s boxes. “We are thrilled to have Selinda join us,” says Craw. “Her work is a wonderful addition. And then there is one of our most unusual discoveries, Tiny Teacups.”  Tiny Teacups of Wilton, a first-timer at the Artisan Show, is dedicated to creating and building beautiful, custom-made dollhouses for miniature enthusiasts young and old.

New “pop-up” exhibitors include photographer and artist Leo Ortiz of Redding, who makes small tree sculptures from metal wire; Jana O’Connor’s Love Is Kind Design will be offering a selection of her handmade sterling silver jewelry;  ceramic vases and sculptural objects, made by Diana Chamberlain, based on timeless subjects like houses and even wedding dresses; and the boutique floral design studio Truffles & James of Wilton, which will add a new dimension of interest and beauty for visitors.  A full list of artisans and complete show information can be found on the Wilton Historical Society’s website.

During the weekend show, lunch and snacks will be available on-site from the Boothbay Lobster Company and Nosh Hound Global Cuisine food trucks.

Many community organizations and generous friends are supporting the American Artisan Show. Lead sponsors include:  the Davatzes Family Foundation, Fairfield County Bank, Faesy Smith Architects, Granite Group Advisors, Historical Christmas Barn, Orem’s Diner, Servco, Stamford Tent and Event Services, TD Bank, and the Village Market. Town Vibe is the media sponsor.

Past Wilton Historical Society president Dr. Greg Chann is co-chairing the American Artisan Show, along with trustees Donovan and Perez.