The Hippo


Aug 24, 2019








Michelle Landry at Wild Salamander. Courtesy photo.

New Hampshire Open Doors

When: Saturday, Nov. 5, and Sunday, Nov. 6, all day
Where: Statewide
Contact:, where visitors will find participating vendors and maps, or

Doors are open
Self-led NH artisan tour returns

By Kelly Sennott

 This upcoming weekend is one of the best for art lovers in New Hampshire.

The League of NH Craftsmen presents the 11th annual Fall NH Open Doors Saturday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 6. The statewide self-led tour takes participants to art centers, galleries, studios, farms, retail shops and businesses that have opened their doors and are displaying locally made items, just in time for the holiday shopping season. There will be demonstrations, food samples, raffles, special sales and, most importantly, opportunities to talk with the state’s makers and growers. 
“For artists, it’s such a great way to network and meet new customers,” said Kate Sussman, operations manager at the League of NH Craftsmen, who also noted a spike in fine artists for 2016. “But it might not be about making a sale. It might be about showing their process and making that personal connection.”
Many artists, like James Chase in Manchester, are opening their own personal workshops to visitors. Some go all out, staging them like galleries, while others keep them as they are. Chase’s will look like a mix between a “gallery and a mad scientist’s workshop.” He’ll have a variety of collage and mixed-media work on view, plus four-inch by four-inch pieces accessible for smaller wallets. 
“But it’s not really about the selling. It’s about sharing that work,” Chase said via phone. “Often times, people only see the end results, the products, which are usually displayed in a store or the vacuum of a gallery. … You don’t get that opportunity to ask questions. An open studio — I view it as a low-pressure opportunity, where you don’t have to buy anything, but you can meet the artist and ask questions.”
The trick to making the most of the weekend is to plan routes beforehand, particularly since many New Hampshire artisans live in rural pockets with poor cell reception. The NH Open Doors website features an interactive map listing participants by region, plus recommended itineraries and information about its passport contest.
Many New Hampshire communities rally hard behind NH Open Doors. Littleton, for example, has a kick-off event Friday and is offering promotion cards with discounts to Littleton shops, restaurants and lodging this weekend through Dec. 18, according to a press release. A group of artists in Exeter, East Kingston, North Hampton and Hampton Falls have planned a fine art and sugar itinerary, with stops at studios, galleries and the Willow Creek Sugarhouse, where visitors will be treated with tours and maple and honey product samples.
Wild Salamander Art Center co-owner KC Morgan said via phone that the staff has created a map of  all NH Open Doors participants within a 10-minute drive of Hollis, complete with local eateries and other New Hampshire attractions. 
“Most people make a day of it,” Morgan said.
The art center has used the opportunity to open its annual show, “Good Things Come in Small Packages,” this weekend, and celebrates its newly-renovated Wild Little ArtShop with a grand opening Saturday, which will include kids’ activities, raffles and refreshments. She said there will be all kinds of locally made goodies for sale, including pottery, woodwork, stained and fused glass art, handmade stuffed animals and puppets, metalwork and jewelry made from recycled goods.
You might even be surprised to learn how many artists are living and working in your neighborhood, said Betsy Craumer, owner of Creative Ventures Gallery in Amherst, which will house a variety of artists demonstrating and showing their work this weekend as well.
“It allows artists to talk to the average collector or person interested in art and see what they’re looking for,” Craumer said. “And it allows people who are interested in art to get out and see what’s going on.” 

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