Discover a hidden talent: Craft class aims to inspire participants to submit their works to the Franklin County Fair showcase

Participants separate strands for the next knot in a macrame class hosted by The Roundhouse Craft Series in the Greenfield Public Library.

Participants separate strands for the next knot in a macrame class hosted by The Roundhouse Craft Series in the Greenfield Public Library. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Nicole Zaccari of Springfiel, left, helps Clarita Shaffer of Greenfield start her macrame project during the first event of the The Roundhouse Craft Series.

Nicole Zaccari of Springfiel, left, helps Clarita Shaffer of Greenfield start her macrame project during the first event of the The Roundhouse Craft Series. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Nicole Zaccari of Springfield taight a macrame class as part of The Roundhouse Craft Series, held at the Greenfield Public Library on Tuesday.

Nicole Zaccari of Springfield taight a macrame class as part of The Roundhouse Craft Series, held at the Greenfield Public Library on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Crafters at The Roundhouse Craft Series follow Nicole Zaccari of Springfiel, center, as she demonstrates macrame knots.

Crafters at The Roundhouse Craft Series follow Nicole Zaccari of Springfiel, center, as she demonstrates macrame knots. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By SAM FERLAND

For the Recorder

Published: 07-05-2024 1:53 PM

The Roundhouse Craft Series, a class made for residents to learn crafting skills at the Greenfield Public Library, began on Tuesday, hoping to encourage and inspire participants to submit their crafts to the craft showcase at the Franklin County Fair starting on September 5.

“I just love doing community collaboration,” said teen librarian and facilitator of the Roundhouse Craft Series, Francesca Passiglia. “Every time I go to the Roundhouse, I walk around to look at the fabulous art projects and I always think, ‘Oh my gosh I wish I made something.’”

The Roundhouse Craft Series was conceived by Passiglia with the help of the library and the Franklin County Agricultural Society (FCAS) which manages the Franklin County Fair. Registration spots filled quickly for the five free classes taking place this summer, welcoming beginners to experts with each class teaching a different crafting skill with an experienced instructor.

Tuesday’s class hosted instructor Nicole Zaccari, who taught participants how to macrame plant holders. Macrame is a crafting technique by which knotting threads create various textiles, including plant holders, artwork, jewelry and more.

Other crafting skills being taught at the classes include knitting, crocheting, sculpting miniatures and sewing.

“It’s exciting to be involved in the community like this,” Zaccari said. “To hear [that] people were interested in learning provides such a relaxation for me, so I’m kind of excited to share it with other people.”

The Franklin County Fair has attracted residents and tourists from near and far, bringing the Franklin County community together since its creation in 1848. The Roundhouse building was constructed in 1899 and is celebrating its 125-year anniversary at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. The location has hosted a craft showcase every year, displaying a wide variety of residents’ creations, including rugs, jewelry, dolls, sculptures, soaps, fruits, vegetables, jams and more. First, second and third place ribbons are awarded to the best product in each category along with a small monetary check depending on each category.

“I love the idea,” said member on the Board of Directors of the Franklin County Agricultural Society, Jennifer Breuer, who helped Pissiglia create the class. “We’re always looking, hoping new people will come try out the fair and bring something. We have some exhibitors that have been coming for 40 years and some people that are just trying it now.”

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Registration must be completed before Monday, Aug. 26, at 9 a.m., to submit products for the showcase. Registration can be completed through an online form on the Franklin County Agricultural Society website or through a paper application found at the library that can be mailed to the FCAS at P.O. Box 564, Greenfield, MA, 01302.

Drop-off times for crafts at the Roundhouse building are on Tuesday, Sep. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m., and Wednesday Sep. 4, from 3 to 9 p.m.

“I like all sorts of textile arts,” said class participant Tabatha Martinelli who has submitted various crafts to the fair since the 1990s. “I like everything from sewing to kitting to textiles and have a lot of fun doing it.”

Additionally, Passiglia hopes to make the craft classes a year-round program at some point in the future. The Makerspace room on the second floor of the library will be open Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to noon until the start of the fair, giving people the opportunity to work on fair projects in an area with extra space and lighting.

“I think this is the perfect marriage between the library and the Franklin County Fair,” Passiglia said. “Libraries are all about knowledge, learning new things and feeling confident and inspired to learn something new. Then the fair is the embodiment of our community so to have somebody create something that they’ve learned how to make at the library and bring to the fair is a really good companionship.”