In 1993, six women artisans living and working in the rural Delaware River Valley got together and brainstormed a way to showcase and sell their craft. Choosing their beloved Delaware Township’s covered bridge – the only existing covered bridge in New Jersey – as their symbol, Covered Bridge Artisans was born to bring visitors into the countryside to see high quality craft produced by artisans in their architecturally interesting studios. Joining forces and sharing the tasks of organizing the annual studio tour has nurtured lifelong friendships with each other and with all the folks who take the tour each year.
Over the years, the Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour expanded to studios in Lambertville and Stockton, NJ, as well as New Hope, PA. Throughout the years, some of the original artists moved or retired, and new artists have joined the group’s tour. We’ll always miss past studio artists Mary Schenck of Whiskey Run Herb Farm, Nancy Clarke of Castlegate Sheep Farm, Harriet Coleridge of Spindletop Studio, Tim Reese of Hairy Hound Studio, and Ty Hodanish of The Art Colony at the Prallsville Mill.
In 1996, Covered Bridge Artisans started a spring group exhibition at the historic Locktown Stone Church which suited the small exhibition for several years. Eventually the group decided to expand the holiday tour to artists without a dedicated open studio, with six additional artisans in the Church. The group venue was later moved to WDVR Radio Station’s Cultural Arts Center in downtown Sergeantsville, NJ. In 2019 the group venue will move to the Sergeantsville Firehouse Event Center which will allow thirteen artisans to participate in addition to seven artist studios.
Our original concept of diverse, high quality craft displayed in interesting environments along a pleasant scenic driving route continues to make the Covered Bridge Artisan Tour a much-anticipated event. Visiting artists in their studios and at our group venue offers the public a behind-the-scenes opportunity to see where creations are produced, and provides a first-hand understanding of the inspirations and techniques that go into each work of art. All of the Covered Bridge Artisans continue to evolve and expand our work and skills, so even the most seasoned visitors enjoy attending the tour year after year. It’s so much fun, especially during the Thanksgiving weekend when visitors can share the experience with their family members. We enjoy seeing the many good friends we’ve made over the years, and look forward to making new ones as we welcome all into our studios and exhibit spaces.