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Susquehanna Life

Meet the Minds Behind the Beautiful Craft of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen

Nov 03, 2014 09:17AM ● By Erica Shames

Why buy handmade craft? Does it matter whether you meet the person who makes your mugs? Can craft change your relationship to the world?

John Sterling, one of nearly 120 members of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen exhibiting Nov. 8 - 9 at the Lancaster County Convention Center, knows that handmade matters. “I believe your furniture should be a beautiful work of art that connects you to nature and to the future generations that will inherit your investment,” he says.

 His materials reflect these values, too. Most of the wood Sterling uses comes from sustainably managed Pennsylvania State forests, and he works directly with a few family-run mills. That’s one secret to the unique and beautifully figured lumber patrons see in his work. Craft lovers will also see the emphasis on balance between straight and natural lines in his work, as well as a blend of influences ranging from feng-shui to the American Arts and Crafts movement. “According to feng-shui philosophy, wood is the element that is most refreshing and adaptable for your home,” he says. “By surrounding yourself with wood, you ground yourself to nature. With that connection, you will make your home a sanctuary of peace.”

“Fine craft demands that we slow down and look at it carefully to appreciate the workmanship and vision that went into it,” says Brandi Clark, executive director of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. “That kind of connection is hard to find in a fast-paced world.” 

Alongside Sterling’s work, visitors will see meticulously created pottery, jewelry, clothing, weaving, scherenschnitte, woodcarving, painting, drawing, and more. 

Fair hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 

 Admission is $8, and free for Guild members and children 17 and under. Directions, parking information, discounted tickets and more are available at or by calling 717-431-8706. The Guild’s headquarters at 335 N. Queen St. is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 pm and Sundays 12 – 4 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Guild of Fine Craft Fair is open Friday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lancaster Convention Center, Lancaster.  Garage and street parking is available, and garage parking will be discounted with presentation of receipt.  Admission to the show is $8, or free for members and children 16 and under. Discounted tickets available if purchased online before November 6. Join as a supporter of craft at today. The home of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen is at 335 N. Queen St. For more information, call 717-431-8706.  


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