Best of Boston

1986 Best The Artful Hand

<p>”Everyone who walks in here goes, ‘Wow!'” says general manager Kate Fergusson. And—self-interest notwithstanding—she’s not overstating the case. Just one month shy of a year old, the Artful Hand, in Copley Place, has been quietly wowing people ever since it opened last September.</p> <p>The magic begins at the entrance: large windows reveal a peaceful, almost ethereal environment filled with softly lighted gallerylike displays of top-quality contemporary American crafts. The store does not carry folksy handmade items such as rag rugs, stenciled stools, and macramé plant hangers. What it does carry—delicate hand-painted silk scarves, hand-blown glass sculptures dancing with color, jewelry, whimsical ceramic dishware, and baskets—shimmers with sophistication.</p> <p>Merchandise such as this would seem to fetch astronomical prices. But not all of it does. In fact, buyers Joe Porcari and Terry Weschler make a point of stocking items that appeal to all budgets.</p> <p>”Other countries tend to be more aware and supportive of their crafts people than we are here,” says Fergusson. “In the United States, more people are just now beginning to realize that much of American craftwork is really important.”</p> <p>And the Artful Hand is a worthy vehicle for that message.</p>