Pennsylvania Guild at Rittenhouse Square

At long last, fine craft is coming to the tree-lined boulevards of Rittenhouse Square.

Through a partnership with the Friends of Rittenhouse Square and in conjunction with the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen will bring its signature premier Fine Craft Fair, featuring 140 of its very finest craft artists, to downtown Philadelphia on May 11, 12 & 13, 2012. This is believed to be the first professional fine craft fair at the Square.

Founded in 1944 at the recommendation of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Pennsylvania Guild is one of the nation’s largest and most recognized craft guilds, specializing in the advocacy and support of more than 1,400 members whose handwork is known for its unparalleled skill and artistry.  Fine craft is often defined as the hand and mind transformation of raw materials into inspired works of art. The finished products may be either traditional or contemporary in style and design.

Paula Brown-Steedly

“Our craftsmen and women pair the aesthetics of fine art with the technical precision of craftsmanship.” says Executive Director Sherrie Boyer. “This balance creates work that is visually unique yet often fully functional. Imagine a bowl or chair. Our artisans elevate these everyday objects into works of art with style and design so that using them daily is both delightful and practical.”

The Guild’s Fine Craft Fair is the fine craft equivalent of the much-loved Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show (held bi-annually at the same site). Both shows feature exclusively artisans who are the makers of the original work shown in each booth. Both events “circle” the square with canopies and both are part of a larger urban setting with cafes, and local eateries.

In recognition of each other’s specialties, the Fine Craft Fair will focus on hand-crafted jewelry, contemporary furniture, functional and decorative pottery, designer clothing, fine porcelain, and other interpretive works including blown glass, limited edition photography and sculpture. The Fine Art Show will continue its long tradition of exceptional two-dimensional fine art such as paintings, watercolors, oils, graphite and pastels.

The Pennsylvania Guild is known for its premier events; the Guild’s largest is in Wilmington at Chase Center on the Riverfront (early August) and in Lancaster at downtown’s new Convention Center (mid-November). Both of these shows feature 140 to 200 artisans.

Fair hours are 11 am to 7 pm Friday & Saturday, and 11 am to 5 pm Sunday. Admission is free. Street and garage parking is plentiful.

For more information, go to pacrafts.org/may.  Call (717) 431-8706 or e-mail handmade@pacrafts.org with any questions.