The Hippo


May 25, 2020








NH Open Doors 

Where: Locations statewide 
When: Saturday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 5
More info:
A full list of participating artists and craftspeople is available on the website. Stops include retail shops selling NH made goods, farm stands, a distiller, a winery and more.

Door to door
Statewide artisan tour returns

By Angie Sykeny

 Now in its 12th year, NH Open Doors, a statewide self-guided tour, will feature more than 100 stops — the most it has ever had — as artists, craftspeople and business owners open their doors to the public and offer handmade items for sale, special activities, demonstrations, food and drink tastings and more. 

It’s happening Saturday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 5; to help you plan your route, a list of participating businesses and their hours and activities can be found at  The website also has suggested itineraries developed by Open Doors participants. 
“It’s a great way and a beautiful time of year to tour the state, meet the talented people who live and work here and visit all sorts of businesses that enrich the quality of life in New Hampshire,” said Miriam Carter, executive director of the League of NH Craftsmen, which hosts the event. 
Fine arts, furniture, jewelry, metalwork, photography, pottery, fabric arts and sculpture are just some of the arts and crafts that will be represented on the tour.
One of this year’s featured artists, Adele Sanborn, has been a part of NH Open Doors every year since its inception. Her work includes mixed media pieces that combine calligraphy and lettering with watercolors and photography. 
“I love to talk about my work, demonstrate my techniques and explain to people how I come up with my ideas and how I get the visual parts and the word parts to work together as one whole image,” Sanborn said. “A lot of artists and craftsmen love to share how they create their pieces, and I think it’s important for the public to see how they work.” 
During Open Doors, Sanborn will be showing, selling and demonstrating her work along with five other artists at her gallery and studio, Twiggs Gallery at Cornerstone Design in Boscawen. Those artists will include a bead artist, book artist, mixed media artist, spinner and metalworker. In addition to ongoing demonstrations by the artists, Sanborn will do a special demonstration and free leaf book make-and-take activity on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. 
For many artists and craftspeople, she said, NH Open Doors is the only time during the year that they open their personal studios to the public. 
“We artists and craftsmen often work by ourselves, so it’s a lot of fun to have people come see where we work and show interest in our work and respond to it and and ask questions about it,” Sanborn said. 
Another artist participating this year is Linda Dessaint, who will open the doors of her studio and gallery in Antrim. Dessaint does primarily impressionistic pastels and oil paintings, which include landscapes and nature imagery, figurative works, still life and pet portraits. For Open Doors, she will have a variety of works for sale, art in different stages of completion on display and demonstrations throughout the weekend.  
“People will get to see my work from start to finish. They’ll get to see the materials I use, how I started a piece and where I’m going with it,” Dessaint said. “I love to show people what [creating art] is all about because they don’t always get that exposure.” 
NH Open Doors is a unique event, she said, and highly anticipated by local artists and craftspeople like herself who work in smaller towns because it allows them to attract visitors who may not have discovered them otherwise. 
“There are a lot of beautiful galleries and stores and artists in the country that people don’t know about,” Dessaint said. “It can be fun finding all these different artists who are off to the wayside. It’s like a treasure hunt.” 
Open Doors comes just in time for holiday shopping, Carter said, and offers a wide selection of unique handmade gifts along with the chance to see how the items are made. 
“Handmade, local products are important to people now more than ever. People appreciate creativity, but a lot of them still have no idea how something is actually produced by the artist’s hands,” Carter said. “This is an opportunity for them to not just buy something from a store, but to go to the artist’s intimate studio and actually see and learn about the work that goes into creating something.” 
New this year, Open Doors will feature a social media contest in which tourists can post photos of their visits on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #NHOpenDoors2017 for a chance to win one of five League of NH Craftsmen gift certificates, which can be used at any of the eight League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Galleries located statewide or at the League headquarters gallery in Concord. Another way to earn a chance to win is to download the NH Open Doors passport form on the website to take on the tour and obtain signatures at each location visited. A minimum of five signatures is required to qualify, and passports must be scanned and emailed or mailed to the League by Nov. 27. 
Carter has some advice for tourists looking to make the most of their Open Doors experience. 
“Be flexible and adaptable. It’s amazing how much time it takes up. People plan it out and say they’re going to visit 10 places, but they only end up doing four or five because they get really involved with it and enjoy stopping to talk with the artists,” she said. “So just go where the day takes you. It’s all about the journey.”

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