When the League of NH Craftsmen kicks off its annual nine-day fair on Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Mount Sunapee Resort, the only thing that will rival the diversity of products available is the stories of the craftspeople who create them.
Growing up in Bow, Anna Moskov dreamed about adventures in foreign lands. These dreams became reality when she joined the Peace Corps. Upon arriving in Bulgaria in 2005 two things happened that Anna had not anticipated: she really missed her home state and she met the love of her life.
Through mutual friends, Anna met Boyan Moskov. When Boyan was growing up, Bulgaria was still communist and students were tracked for high school. If you were good at math, you went to the math high school. Boyan was talented in art, according to his wife, and attended the prestigious Troyan Art School. Boyan always knew he would do art for a living, which is one of the reasons he was attracted to pottery, Anna said. His early work took him around Bulgaria and even to Sweden for a few years.
But when the two decided to get married and start a family, they returned to New Hampshire and Contoocook.
“Boyan doesn’t have a big family,” Anna said. “Also in Bulgaria it is not uncommon for one parent to live abroad, so he was more comfortable relocating.”
The two returned home, bought a house, started a business — Boyan Pottery — and had a baby. With so much going on the couple was looking for help. They found it in the League of Craftsmen.
“I grew up here and when we returned we didn’t know what else to do,” Anna said. “So I told him to join the League and over the years we’ve gradually gotten more involved.”
When talking about Boyan’s pottery, Anna often uses the word “we.” And she should, as she helps him with all of his correspondences and interacting with clients. She said the League of Craftsmen has been an invaluable resource for getting to know the area’s art community.
Dave Emerson of Canterbury has been a member of that community and of the League of Craftsmen for more than 25 years. But he has been working with wood since he was a child.
“I like to work with my hands and produce something,” Emerson said. “I love the variety of wood. I love hiking in the woods, chopping wood. I never get bored.”
Emerson specializes in Shaker and Country furniture and in his shop, Old Ways Traditions, he honors old-time machinery and traditional practices of wood working. With so much experience and knowledge of the industry, it is no surprise Emerson will teach Tools for Kids for the second year at the Fair.
“Tools for Kids may turn out to be the best thing we’ve done,” said Emerson, who used to be a Scout Master. “Kids are great. They pick up tools and their minds are fresh.”
Emerson said kids have more distractions these days than when he was young and so not as many have a basic knowledge of tools. But the class is more than that. Emerson hopes to make the kids more aware of their environment and get the whole picture of nature, trees and wood working.
Emerson has dedicated so much of his time to the League of Craftsmen because he believes it has given so much to him.
“The Fair is the top of the game,” Emerson said. “There is nothing else like it. A lot of us are in our own shops all year so it is good to see other people. It keeps you up and interested.”
While the Fair provides inspiration for craftspeople, Emerson said it is also a great event for interested buyers.
“You can go up there and see people actually making their work,” Emerson said. “The human connection makes it much more meaningful. These craftspeople put a lot of themselves into their work. It is their lives. That’s why I hope we can pass it on to some extent.”