BANGOR, Maine — A high-quality crafts show at Husson University on Saturday attracted early holiday shoppers while raising cash for a good cause.
The statewide Designing Women organization brought together more than a dozen juried exhibitors, including jewelry makers, quilters, paper designers, weavers, stained-glass designers and more. The event was held in partnership with the nonprofit group Women, Work & Community, which provides training, support and assistance to women seeking to build careers and improve their economic security.
Designing Women, founded in 1991, organizes shows around the state featuring female artisans from Maine and New Hampshire. Each show pairs with a local nonprofit group that supports women, girls and families.
Recent Designing Women partnership events in the Bangor area have helped raise money for the Spruce Run Domestic Violence Project, the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, the American Association of University Women, and breast cancer research and support groups.
“It’s always a partnership,” said Maryann Ingalls of the Bangor area Designing Women group. “They get to have a fundraiser on the back of our shows, and in return they are supporting women in the arts.”
Ingalls is a Bangor artist whose handmade and hand-colored papers were on display Saturday in the form of note cards, coin purses and small, intricately folded books.
At a nearby table, Winterport goldsmith Pamela Hitchcock displayed a wealth of finely wrought earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more. A potential customer swooned over a wide matte silver cuff bracelet, inlaid with 18-karat gold vines and leaves, and studded with tiny, flashing, flush-mounted diamonds. The price was $1,600 — one of the higher-priced items available at the sale.
Women, Work & Community has been helping Maine women enter the work force and build meaningful careers for 30 years. Originally called the Displaced Homemakers project, the organization has expanded to serve women at all stages in their work lives, and also provides support to men in career transition, said regional manager Jane Searles.
The program helps participants explore career options, manage money and develop leadership skills, Searles said. The $2 charge to enter Saturday’s craft show, along with sales of baked goods and raffle tickets for items donated by featured artisans, went to help the program serve its mission.
Searles said Sunday that Women, Work & Community raised about $2,500.
Designing Women has pre-holiday shows scheduled in Freeport, Portland, and Portsmouth, N.H.