RISD Craft Fair

People outside at art vendors' stalls at the RISD Craft fair

People peruse art works on display at RISD Craft in Providence, R.I In the foreground are pieces by Dwo Wen Chen/Three Wheel Studio | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF  RISD

Vermont designer George Sawyer grew up “in the wood shavings in my father’s Windsor chair shop,” and now runs his own furniture-making studio. Using local wood, he explores “the interconnection of the natural world and human effort, those things that can and cannot be controlled within the framework of functional forms.”

See his elegant furniture—and hundreds of other handmade objects—at the RISD Craft fair on October 7 in Providence, Rhode Island. Some 130 artists—Rhode Island School of Design graduates, faculty members, and current students—will be on hand in stalls featuring their work. “People come from all over for the show,” says RISD’s alumni and family relations officer Deb Dormody. “They are shopping for the holidays, and we even see buyers from fancy shops who are looking for the latest, greatest artwork—including jewelry, ceramics, textiles, clothing, fine art, photographs, glass objects, home goods, books, and prints.”

Providence artist Jungil Hong, known for playful, psychedelic imagery, also weaves subtly colored wraps and is the founder and primary designer of the textile collective Namu Future, which presents at the fair. It sells innovative clothing, accessories, and home goods reflecting “manufacturing with faces and voices,” according to Hong. “This means production happens at the speed of life, and sometimes even inside our own homes. That is why our releases unfold at their own pace, departing from the breakneck speed of industrial fashion.”

 Ceramic works by Hosseinali Saheb Ekhtiari also counter uniformity expected in mass-produced goods. The simply geometric yet charming cups, tiles, vases, and bowls incorporate “imperfections,” and a sustainable, process-driven artistry: the works carry “the fingerprints and the ‘flaws’ with them,” Ekhtiari explains on his website, and the studio emphasizes reuse of all byproducts or waste.

RISD Craft takes place rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Benefit Street. The RISD Museum galleries will also be open, and meals and snacks can be bought from several local food trucks. “We have to keep our shoppers sustained,” says Dormody, “but the energy does come from the artisans themselves.” 

Read more articles by Nell Porter Brown

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