Maine has a rich history of craft and a bustling contemporary scene. Since incorporating the state, Mainers have been working with their hands on a variety of projects. Maine’s natural beauty and resources have been inspiring artists for centuries, and painters, weavers, carpenters, and construction professionals continue to call the Pine Tree State their home.
A craft is a skill, art, or occupation that requires specialized skill and practice, and it can be anything from sewing a costume or knitting a sweater to sanding a chair or repairing furniture. Our state celebrates local craftsmen perhaps more than any other. The Center for Maine Craft in West Gardiner, for example, hosts more than 300 local craft artists’ work for sale and display. The Haystack School of Craft on Deer Isle continues to be a keystone for the craft community. Similarly, the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship provides Mainers the opportunity to take weekend-long workshops or commit to nine-month-long apprenticeships. These institutions have been around for a long time, and they contribute to a culture that celebrates local craftsmen more than any other state in the country.
That said, we take a slightly different and more inclusive view of what a craftsman can be. We think that every Mainer who works in a craft, be it occupational or artistic, is deserving of that title. This includes everyone from lobstermen to fishermen, carpenters to brewers. Your art doesn’t have to be, well, artistic. It just has to be high-quality work.
Maine Craftsmen is a space devoted to highlighting the history of overlooked crafts in the great state of Maine. We also write profiles for craftspeople doing especially exciting things in the state. We want to change the opinion on what a craftsperson can be; we hope this site’s content makes you think a little more about what that means.