BRATTLEBORO -- This fall, Americans in all 50 states will be celebrating the art of handmade craft. From Oct. 4-13, American Craft Week will feature hundreds of diverse events in galleries and artist studios, museums and schools, as well as at fairs and festivals.

Vermont is a major sponsor with participating activities and events, including the Vermont Crafts Council's annual Fall Open Studio Weekend, held this Saturday and Sunday.

More than 120 glassblowers, weavers, sculptors, potters, woodworkers, printmakers, jewelers, furniture makers, painters, quilters and other craftspeople and artisans in Vermont will open their studios. The goal is to foster an appreciation for the creative process and the role that artists and craftspeople play in the vitality of Vermont's communities. For information and a map of Open Studio tour stops, visit www.vermontcrafts.com, call 802-223-3380 or e-mail vt1crafts@aol.com.

Local participants in the Fall Open Studio Tour include:

* Vermont Artisan Designs & Gallery 2,106 Main St., Brattleboro, 802- 257-7044. Regional Information Center for Vermont Open Studio Weekend.

* Windmill Hill Alpaca Farm and Artisanry (Laura Solomon). Alpaca handspun, handknit, natural colors. 842 Grassy Brook Road, Brookline, 802-348-9300.

* Simi Berman. Paintings, prints, collages, photo montage, cards. 139 Main St, Room 609, Brattleboro, 802-257-3002.

* Ron Karpius. Metalwork and paintings, copper, brass, weathervanes. 259 Greenleaf St., Brattleboro, 802-258-2364.

* The Art of Humor Gallery (Skip Morrow). Seriously funny fine art gallery. PO Box 123, 30 Not-A Road, Wilmington, 802-464-5523.

* Stonepuddles (Frank Sprague). Garden art, birdbaths, benches, metals. 22 Stowe Hill Road, Wilmington, 802-380-4398.

* Green Mountain Pressed Flowers (Ellie Roden). Pressed flower creations; originals, prints, cards and bookmarks. 32 Ray Hill Road, Wilmington, 802-464-5265.

* Eric Sprenger Fine Woodwork. Handmade, original, contemporary furniture. 72 Castle Hill Road, Wilmington, 802-464-8392.

* Town Hill Pottery (Aysha Peltz and Todd Wahlstrom). Wheel thrown porcelain and stoneware pottery. 612 Town Hill Road, Whitingham, 802-368-2807.

* Readsboro Glassworks (Mary Angus and K. William LeQuier). Handblown glass and glass sculpture. 6954 Main St., Readsboro. 802-423-7706.

Vermont's Fall Open Studio weekend is one event of American Craft Week, a nationwide celebration of American craft that runs from Oct, 4-13.

"American craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. It contributes to our nation's economy, our balance of trade and the fabric of our national history," says Diane Sulg, co-chair of American Craft Week. "By taking part in the celebration, people are joining in on the trend of buying artisan and locally made products."

Four years ago, the American craft industry decided it was time to do something to bring more visibility to the industry that was facing challenges as the global market and advanced technology brought more competition for the consumer's dollar.

Sulg, a board member of the Craft Retailers & Artists for Tomorrow, hatched the idea to have a national weeklong celebration to promote the wonders, value, innovations and traditions of American made craft. She says, "Other industries tout their products ... now it's time to showcase the American craft industry with a nationwide celebration."

For information, visit www.Americancraftweek.com.

Making and selling American craft employs thousands and contributes to national and local economies. Craft embodies our national history and heritage, it is the American story. It makes our homes, offices and public spaces beautiful. We love wearing it, using it and displaying it.

American craft is all about small, local businesses that contribute energy, vitality and income to our communities. Efforts to improve the national economy show that by supporting small, local businesses and buying "made in America," we all profit.