Brookline artist recognized at Old Deerfield Fair

The Old Deerfield Craft Fair in Deerfield, Mass., marked its 40th celebration in September by presenting four $250 Founders Awards to artisans who, in the opinion of the show founder, best reflected the spirit and traditions of the Old Deerfield Craft Fairs while also incorporating a contemporary vision for the fair’s future.

Diana Boyle, of Gourd in Hand in Brookline, was presented a Founders Award. Boyle grew up in California, relocated to Maine and now resides in Brookline with her husband of 45 years and her firefighter son.

"As a self-taught artist I am open to experiment, and having discovered gourds, I have discovered an unending canvas," Boyle said. "Their organic quality and adaptability offer possibilities for every type of art. The longer I work with them, the more intrigued I am.

"I started working with gourds after successfully growing them several years ago. I exhibit at art shows and fairs in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts."

The event features more than 150 artisans, locally and nationally recognized, offering crafts in a broad number of categories, including pottery, fiber arts, fine arts, glass, jewelry, leather, wood, metal and more.

"While many arts and crafts fairs celebrate design and human handiwork, fairs like ours associated with a museum have an extra obligation to focus on authentic, natural materials worked with traditional skills," said Tim Neumann, founder of the Old Deerfield Fairs and executive director of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, a history museum that benefits from the fair.

"In addition, here in Deerfield, which led one of the major arts and crafts movements of the early 20th century, we purposely do not focus on reproduction crafts, as important as they are, but on work that adds a new contemporary twist to traditional design.

"Over the decades, more than 5,000 crafters have exhibited with us – among them some very talented artisans. This year’s fair was no exception, and it was difficult for me to choose four to represent our future."