BENNINGTON — For the rest of the week, the Hawkins House is celebrating American Craft Week, for the first time, with sales and featured local artisans.
While Vermont is home to entrepreneurs and homemade products, this national event encourages crafters everywhere from Oct. 1 to 16 to boast about their high quality products.
According to the event site, the craft industry struggles to maintain a seat under the spotlight compared to other industry associations.
"This is more of a celebration as part of our heritage in Vermont," Jonah Spivak, co-owner of Hawkins House said. "We have good claims to something of the birth place to the craft movement and it's appropriate to celebrate that."
Spivak's father was an architect and his mother was a weaver. They sold everything to open a craft store in Vermont in the early 1970s. The Hawkins House was originally in Shaftsbury for three years, but relocated to North Street after the construction of the Route 7 bypass. A well known local jewelry maker, Ed Levin, sold the current retail space to Spivak's father at that time, he said.
"He liked the idea of moving to Bennington in a location that has always been known for American handmade crafts," Spivak said. "It's right down the street from Bennington Potters and was the start of a craft cluster that we had on four corners north."
Spivak now owns the store with his wife, Elizabeth Ganger.
The Northeast Regional Craft Fair was held at Mount Anthony High School in the early 1970s, according to This is Vermont. It showcased "very high caliber" craft work made from a range of materials such as wood, metal, cardboard and plastic. Some vendors set up under tents or tepees and others set up a blanket and laid out their products, the site stated.
Eventually the fair relocated to Rhinebeck, N.Y., and left Bennington hanging until 2012 when Craftproducers brought back the craft fair. This is what Spivak means when he says Bennington was the birthplace and it came around full circle.
The Craftproducers consisted of Riki Moss, Bob Burnell, The Stone Soldier, John McCloud, and Charley Dooley.
Craft Retailers & Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT) organizes the craft week, according to the American Craft Week site. CRAFT is a non-profit trade organization supporting handmade American crafts.
In addition to the celebration, Hawkins House will feature six local artists: MaryJane Artwear & Infinity Silks, Jeff Gray Jewelry, Pat Wright painted glass, Odie Stout glass, Nancy Nardone Pottery, and Marcella Anderson jewelry. There's also sales, promotions and an opportunity to win a $50 gift card.
For more information visit americancraftweek.com.
Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.