Somerset Craft Show Artists Demonstrate the Skill and Technique Behind Their Work

SOMERSET — Master craftspeople will display their talents during live demonstrations at the 16th annual Sugarloaf Crafts Festival in Somerset, Friday, Oct. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 31,  at the Garden State Exhibit Center.

Curious craft lovers will see many of the show’s 275 artists create art before their eyes, as the nationally-renown craftspeople share the skill, artistry, and precision that goes into each one-of-a-kind piece. Artist demonstrations will be continuous throughout the Festival and will showcase artists working in a wide range of mediums including iron forging, copper spinning, and wheel-thrown and Raku pottery.

In addition to the informative and entertaining demonstrations, visitors to the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival in Somerset will browse and buy unique contemporary crafts and artwork directly from the 275 jury-selected artists working in ceramics, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, furniture and home décor, fine art and photography. Visitors can also purchase work from Sugarloaf’s demonstrating artists.

Master craftspeople hosting demonstrations at the Festival include:

  • Don Shelton: Donning a heavy protective apron and thick gloves, Don will manipulate metal heated to over 2,000 degrees to create his contemporary furniture, sculpture, and historic restoration pieces. Using a hammer and chisel, he will pound red hot iron into elegant shapes, curls, and forms.
  • Helen and Allen Weichman: Clay spins on the Weichmans’ well-worn potters wheel as they demonstrate how a simple lump of clay can be transformed into functional stoneware, including bowls, plates, tea pots, mugs, and vases.
  • John Akkus: Metal shavings fly as John uses a metal spinning lathe to shape and stretch the metal into functional forms. He then etches intricate designs into the copper and brass jewelry, decorative plates and vases, candle holders, keepsake boxes, and ornaments.
  • Bud Scheffel: Bud’s kinetic metal sculptures are alive with motion, as they endlessly oscillate in the air. Bud will show visitors how he begins with a single sheet of metal, cutting and sculpting it to create a focal point. He then explains step by step as visitors watch how he builds a finished working mobile.
  • Marti Silverman: A master of the traditional craft of stone carving, Marti demonstrates using a hammer and chisel to carve contemporary designs from raw stone slabs. At the Festival, he will work on pieces in various stages of completion, including sculptures and fountains.
  • Alan Burslem: Alan creates oversized pots and vessels that tower over his potter’s wheel. His style ranges from classic to eclectic, creating work with traditional hand-painted details to abstract splatters of colored glazes to create a kaleidoscope effect.

In addition, Sugarloaf will showcase the culinary artistry of gourmet foods and seasonal favorites from more than a dozen specialty foods purveyors offering hearty soups, ciders and cocoa, jams, chutneys, and syrups – all available to sample and purchase.

The bustling Sugarloaf marketplace will also be complemented by a full schedule of live entertainment. Children will delight in being part of their favorite fairytales during dress up theatre performances with Middle Earth Studios, while adults will enjoy live music from new-age flutist David Young, smooth jazz by Ngu Mbandi, and original songs on acoustic guitar from Don Thomas.

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will be held Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Sunday, October 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Garden State Exhibit Center, located at 50 Atrium Drive in Somerset, NJ.

Adult admission to the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival is $7 when purchased online, $9 for adults at the door, and free for children under 12. Admission is good for all three days. Free parking is available.

To preview the work of the more than 275 artists participating in the show, and explore the full range of entertainment, visit Driving directions, offers for significant admission discounts and coupons are also available on the site. For more information call (800) 210-9900.

Additional show information, artist profiles, and special offers may be found on Sugarloaf’s Facebook page at

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