BY LENNIE BENNETT
Times Art Critic
The first weekend in December has for years heralded a major craft show in Sarasota sponsored by the American Craft Council that drew national fine craft artists.
For economic reasons, the council decided to forego several of its national venues, including Sarasota, but the show will still go on Friday through Sunday, organized by veteran craft show guru, gallery owner and artist Richard Rothbard of Slate Hill, N.Y.
The lineup of 140 craft artists from around the country as well as our area is smaller than in past years, but the work, which you can preview at sarasotacraftshow.com, still looks terrific.
I was especially taken with the leather category featuring some lovely handbags like the dreamy green number shown here. They're unique and beautifully made without a screaming, annoying designer logo. But in other media — ceramics, jewelry, fiber, wood, furniture, for example — I found lots of choice works. Most are typical of fine crafts, "useful" yet elevated to a higher aesthetic plane.
New this year is a kids' Build-A-Birdhouse hands-on workshop Saturday sponsored by Home Depot. It's free but space is limited to the first 25 children in line 15 minutes before sessions at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m.
Also new is a preview brunch sponsored by Whole Foods from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. that gives patrons a look at the show before the public opening. You must purchase tickets in advance, meaning today, if available. Go to the site listed earlier or call toll-free 1-800-834-9437.
This show, as always, charges admission, unlike many of the outdoor arts festivals in the area. The organizers' rationale is that it's designed for serious shoppers looking for things out of the ordinary.
I doubt you'll be disappointed.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8293.