June 2, 2007

"A League of Our Own" -- Movie about the League

In my last post to this blog, about the League's 75th anniversary, I briefly mentioned the movie that the League has commissioned. Now allow me to expand on this subject.

This movie was created by Ken Browne Productions, from NY City, and has been in production for two year. It is an hour long, and will be shown on NH Public TV on July 18, and probably other times during the summer. The style is basically in the Ken Burns vein (he made the Civil Wars, Baseball, and Jazz documentaries for national public TV). The movie is called "A League of Our Own," and it does an incredible job of capturing the history of the League, as well as explaining what is important to the League, and what makes fine craftsmanship important in our culture. I can't speak too highly about the production values and the dedication that Ken put in to this effort.

And I am happy to note that I have some presence in the movie. Ken interviewed me about a year ago, and there are three places in the movie where my voice is used to explain some aspect of the League or of fine crafts. Those sections are accompanied with images and video of my lamps and of me doing some work on the lathe. At the very end of the movie, there is a section about how craftspeople are moving forward in to the future, including the internet...., and you will hear me talking about this very blog that you are now reading.

As I said, the movie will be shown on NHPTV on July 18, and it is being pitched for national public tv distribution as well. It is also available as a DVD from the League http://www.nhcrafts.org/pdf/DVD-Order.pdf or by calling 603-224-3375. If you have any interest in the meaning of fine craft, or in the League, this DVD is well worth owning.

League Turns 75!!!

The League of NH Craftsmen is the oldest state-specific craft organization in the country, and almost the oldest craft organization of any kind. And this year the League celebrates it's 75th anniversary. In May, the League had a wonderful party at the Grappone Center in Concord. I was hugely impressed by this event. There were 300 people on hand, including Governor Lynch. Laura Knoy, the well known voice of The Exchange on NH public radio, was the host, and she did a great job. The speeches were fascinating and well deserved awards were given to a couple of long time ((and world renowned) craftpeople in the League. A silent auction was held that raised $9000 for the scholarship fund.

Many of the people in attendance had significant historical connection to the League, and many of them I have not run across for a long long time, so there was a lot of reminiscing. And a lot of self-congratulating for the huge strides the League has made in the past 10 years under the leadership of Susie Lowe-Stockwell, the Executive Director. In terms of financial stability, reputation, the tightening of jurying standards, and the overall well-being of craftspeople, the League has never been in better shape.

The party was more than simply a one time event. To me it represented a deep well of support for the League, and a high level of morale and goodwill towards the organization. That speaks so well for the future prospects of the League of NH Craftsmen.

One wonderful way that the League is celebrating this anniversary is thru the creation of a fantastic hour long video. That movie had it's world premiere at the party, and I think every single person in the room was newly informed and emotionally affected by seeing this production. I will talk more about the movie in another blog entry.

This picture is of myself and Gary Kalagian, who is chairperson of the hugely important Standards Committee of the League.