Creativity on Display

  • Visit North Central
  • Posted on May 8, 2015

From furniture-makers to silversmiths, talented artisans are in abundant supply in Johnny Appleseed Country. A visit to any community offers the opportunity to sample the tremendous talents of the region.

Begin your journey at the Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center on Route 2, where local artisans are showcased every day. Hand-crafted jewelry, alpaca wool hats and mittens, and more, are on display, and for sale, in the visitor center shop.

The Greater Gardner area is known for its furniture-manufacturing tradition, and although the days of major factories are in the past, the skills that made Gardner a household name linger. At Chair City Wayside Furniture in South Gardner, seats are still woven by hand, one at a time; at The Chair Shoppe in East Templeton, heirloom chairs are given new life, and new seats; and at furniture outlets throughout the area, you can still buy fine furniture produced in local factories.

To learn more about Gardner’s very talented history, stop by the Gardner Museum on Pearl Street, where furniture, handcrafted silverware and more are on display.
Stepping back further in the region’s past, Native American crafts — including ever-popular dreamcatchers and beaded wearables— are made by hand at the Silver Hawk shop in Winchendon.

Downtown Fitchburg has become a center for artistic endeavors, bolstered by the Fitchburg Art Museum, which hosts a Regional Exhibition of Arts and Crafts each summer, spotlighting local talent.

But beyond the museum walls, the area is alive with galleries and artists’ studios. And there’s more to come! The city received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a Main Street Arts Project that will feature public art installations in downtown buildings.

They really hammer the “talent” theme home at Fitchburg’s annual Forge-In, too. Held at the downtown Riverfront Park, the event features a blacksmith competition that’s sure to catch your attention.

Take a ride to Petersham to visit the Petersham Craft Center. where you’ll find locally created ceramics, textiles, glasswork and so much more! Its gallery is also home to changing exhibitions by area artists throughout the year.

Special events, too, highlight area talent. Shows like the Craft Festival at Fruitlands Museum in September and the October Horse Shed Fair in Lancaster bring together scores of local crafters to display their handwork.

Looking for talent? You’ll find it in every corner of Johnny Appleseed Country.