Hilltown Artisans Guild

Representing the artists and craftspeople of the
Hilltown Region of Western Massachusetts


Our Heritage

The early settlers of our Hilltowns brought with them a spirit of self-sufficiency and a pride in working with their hands. Handwork arose out of necessity, but whether it was building a stone wall, hewing a house beam, or spinning and weaving flax and wool into cloth, they began a tradition.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the craftspeople began to establish small business ventures throughout the Hilltowns. One town or another had a blacksmith, a basketmaker, a woodworker or a tannery, a pottery works, an axe or edged tool shop or a woolen mill.

Vestiges of the handwork past are still visible today. Our simple classic New England churches, the stone walls that wander the fields, the stencilled wall in an old farmhouse, and the splint basket and patchwork quilt in a friend's house serve as gentle reminders to us of enduring handwork.

The tradition of artisans living in these Hilltowns working independently on fine crafts has never died. The Hilltown Artisans Guild is committed to continuing this tradition of excellence in workmanship and self reliance.

 Many Skills

The Guild brings together a wide variety of artisans working with diverse materials, from the fibres of a handmade broom to the highly polished silver of a pendant. The styles vary from those working in the folk art tradition to those gravitating towards more contempory design.

Like the original artisans of the region, members of the Guild apply their own personal visions to their hand craft. Thus, a painstakingly hand-stitched quilt may take on a very modern design, and a sleek, finely finished wooden box can combine traditional joinery with a functional simplicity of line.

While we each have our own unique art form, the members of the Hilltown Artisans Guild are bound together by common roots - integrity in craftsmanship and the desire to renew the economic independence of our rural community.

We hope you will explore the diversity of our hilltown artisans and that you will revive the tradition of using handcrafted items in your home.