The Gifted Hand
CRAFT OF MAINE-October 2010
by Rebecca Falzano
A craft show with humble beginnings earns statewide recognition
Ellsworth’s premier winter craft event, the Gifted Hand Fine Art, Craft, and Gift Show no doubt had modest beginnings. It started four years ago, when artist and art teacher Christina Heiniger of Fern House Studio received a call from a volunteer at a local nonprofit who was looking for help raising funds for DTA Center for Learning & Growing in Ellsworth. As an art educator, Heiniger was committed to bringing the arts to Ellsworth. She had just seen the large downstairs space at the newly opened Maine Grind cafe and coffee lounge in downtown Ellsworth and thought to herself: “We could put on a great craft show here.” And so Heiniger, with the help of volunteer Diane Vreeland, got to work. That first year, the one-day show featured about twenty artisans and raised almost $2,000. By the following November, Heiniger had left her teaching job to create and sell her artwork full time. In 2008, the show moved to a larger space at the Ramada Inn, where it is now held every year. Last year more than 1,200 people attended.
Heiniger now organizes and promotes the show herself, and every year a different local nonprofit benefits. This year’s show features the work of approximately fifty-five juried artisans, and a portion of the admission fee will benefit Schoodic Arts for All in Winter Harbor. “I’m thrilled to see this grassroots creative economy effort grow from humble beginnings to a show with statewide recognition,” says Heiniger.
On the following pages, we bring you a sneak peek of three of the artisans who are part of next month’s show.