Your Year-Round Craft Show & Gift Shop
By: Karen Bowes
Artisans United, Inc., (AU) was officially established in 1988. As a creative forum where craftspeople may exchange ideas, experiences, and materials, AU offers instruction in the visual arts and crafts and provides public service programs for groups and institutions. AU serves as a community resource through its demonstrations, displays, and classes. We are pleased to share our love of crafts with the public, school groups, social clubs, scouting groups, and with those who are just interesting in learning something new and fun.
Today this non-profit organization consists of individual crafts people and members of the following local Guilds: Northern Virginia Carvers, Potomac Polymer Clay Guild, Capital Area Woodturners, Potomac Fiber Arts Guild, Waterford Weavers, Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild, National Capital Art Glass Guild, Quilters Unlimited, High Country Basketry Guild, and Knitting Artists of Northern Virginia. Each of these Guilds seeks to promote its craft and attract new members, and in many instances they reach out into the community to do good. For example, the Capital Area Woodturners make canes for the Wounded Warriors project; the Knitting Artists of Northern Virginia make items for homeless women in the area; and the High Country Basketry Guild is participating in a program with the Vanderbilt Hospital for Children in Nashville by making Angel Baskets.
The Craft Gallery of Artisans United functions as a space for artists to display and sell their works and to educate the public about quality crafts. This facility is located just inside the front door of the Fred M. Packard Center, which is nestled in the Annandale Community Park on Hummer Road in Annandale. The Gallery is a cooperative, staffed and run by member artists. Oftentimes these artisans will be working on their projects as they man the sitter’s desk. They are delighted to share their artistic passion with you and answer any questions you might have.
Throughout the year, The Craft Gallery of Artisans United stages six shows, each of which is two-months long. We have an open house or reception to celebrate the beginning of each new show at which we serve light refreshments. Many times some of the artists attend the opening during which they talk with the public about their newly-created craft inventory: what inspired them, what colors/themes ‘spoke’ to them, what they were trying to accomplish. On occasion, a particular Guild will be highlighted for the show. Currently the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild is being featured at the Gallery. Its show will run through April. The Potomac Polymer Clay Guild is on schedule to be feted during the July/August show. And, we continue to work with the other Guilds to see if we can coordinate their timetables with ours so that they can have their talents recognized.
We continue our tradition with the ‘Moms, Dads, and Grads’ theme for the May/June show. Our reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 7; it will be held from 1-3pm. Every effort is being made by the artists to create the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Bride and Groom, or the new Grad. It should be said, too, that many of these items are one of a kind.
And, this year we are celebrating ‘Christmas in July’ during the July/August show. We are hosting a holiday ornament making party. We invite members of the public to join us in creating something special to hang on the Christmas tree or adorn a holiday gift. In the past we have donated our ornaments to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (those who adopted a pet were able to select a holiday ornament), to the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter in Fairfax County, and to the Patrick Henry Family Shelter at Seven Corners. In each case, we hoped that our creations would brighten someone’s holiday.
The Craft Gallery of Artisans United continues to look for new craftspeople. If you are interested in joining as a craftsman, we suggest you take a look at the items currently on display in the Gallery; see if you ‘fit’. Then you must be juried into the Gallery by a review board. The membership packet at the Gallery sitter’s desk will walk you through what’s required of you for this process. It will also explain what is required of you as a Gallery member should you decide to join.
We continue to look for new areas in which to share our love and knowledge of crafts. By holding classes, workshops and shows for both adults and children relating to arts and crafts and artistic development, we strive to fulfill the mandate imposed upon us. If you, or someone in your organization, is interested in having us bring the arts to you, please contact us.
The Craft Gallery of Artisans United is located in the Fred M. Packard Center, located in the Annandale Community Park at 4022-C Hummer Road, Annandale, Va.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. We can be reached at 703-941-0202, or at our website at www.augallery.org.
ARTISANS UNITED GALLERY