MANY of the crafts created by artists in the Shenandoah Valley, eastern Virginia and western Maryland are for show and sale at small or faraway exhibits. If you find that half the fun is getting there, take the open road to craft shows in nearby suburbs and towns.
Begin the journey just outside the Beltway with a demonstration of how oriental rugs are made inIndia, at White Flint Mall this weekend. Then stop by the Montgomery Fairgrounds for Sugarloaf Mountain Works' annual spring arts and crafts fair. Or take the southern route to Richmond for a selection of strictly country-style handcrafted items at the state fairgrounds. SPRING FAIR -- Friday, noon to 6, Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 6. Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St., Gaithersburg. Sugarloaf Mountain Works' show and sale of 350 artists' works: handcrafted jewelry, sculptured brass and pewter, soaps, lampshades, woven crafts, mahogany and wood furnishings, grandfather clocks, decoys, handmade pipes, baskets. Demonstrations: raku oriental ceramics, furnace glass-blowing and pot-throwing. Adults $3.50; children under 12 free. 330-6180 or 301/831-9191. COUNTRY STYLE -- Saturday, noon to 8, Sunday, noon to 6. Virginia State Fairgrounds, 600 E. Laburnum, exit 17 off I-95 south, Richmond. A show and sale of crafts including quilts, pillows, ceramics, wooden furnishings reproduced from primitive country styles, crafted jewelry and hand-woven baskets is part of the Big Flea Market event. Adults $1; kids ages 12 and under, free. 804/422-9500. ORIENTAL CARPET SHOW -- Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, 10 to 9:30, Sunday, noon to 6. White Flint Mall, 11301 Rockville Pike., N. Bethesda. An exhibit only of India-crafted Oriental rugs features a rug-making demonstration by four weavers, tips on how to shop, carpet maintenance and decorating. Use Via Rialto shops entrance for display on first level. 468-5777. MARYLAND CRAFTS -- Friday, May 2, noon to 6, Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4, 10 to 6. Maryland State Fairgrounds, York and Timonium roads, Timonium. A craft show and sale highlighting silk and satin boudoir boxes, etched glass, soapstone sculpture, leather game boards and more; arranged by Sugarloaf Mountain Works. Adults $3.50; children under 12 free. 301/831-9191. CRAFT FESTIVAL -- Saturday, May 3, noon to 5. George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Dr., Ellicott City. One component of the May Arts Festival features 85 exhibits selling juried crafts in needlepoint, wood carvings, children's toys, dried and silk flower work and cloth accessories; rain date is May 4, noon to 5. 301/992-2483. FAIR AT HARMONY HALL -- Saturday, May 3, 10 to 4. Harmony Hall Regional Center, 10701 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington. Arts and crafts fair offers a selection of handicrafts, ceramics, natural crafts, jewelry, children's accessories and patio furniture for show and sale. 292-9006. HAGERSTOWN ARTISANS -- Sunday, May 4, 10 to 5. Best Western Venice Inn Ballroom, 431 Dual Highway, U.S. 40, Hagerstown. The Hagerstown Artisans Craft Guild presents a juried craft show and sale with pottery, fabric, woodworking, stained glass, tole painting, furniture, jewelry, dried-flower arrangements, baskets and teddy bears. 301/824-7859. CRAFTS AND FOLK MUSIC -- Friday, May 16, Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18, 10 to 6. Frederick Fairgrounds, at the junction of I-270 and I-70, Frederick. Music by John Sebastian and Dave Bromberg fills the air at the Frederick Craft Fair featuring ceramics and concrete sculpture, furniture, leather, musical instruments, jewelry and rugs. Demonstrations: sheep shearing, basket making, stone and wood carving, Shiloh pottery. Adults $4; kids ages 11 and under with a parent, free. 301/432-8438. NEEDLEWORK DISPLAY -- Saturday, May 31, Monday, June 2 through Saturday, June 7, 10 to 4; Sundays, June 1 and 8, 1 to 5. Belle Grove Historic Site, on U.S. 11 one mile south of Middletown, Va. Show only of juried needle crafts includes a display of quilting, smocking, knitting, crewel and counted thread items, personal and home accessories. Adults $3; seniors $2.50; kids ages six to 16, $1.50. 703/869-2028. SUMMER HANDICRAFTS -- Friday, June 13, noon to 6, Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, 10 to 6. Prince William County Fairgrounds, Va. 234 south of I-66, Manassas. Exhibits of fused glass jewelry, rattlesnake skin crafts, hardwood chairs and Bonsai plants. Demonstrations: weaving hammocks, pottery and glassblowing; arranged by Sugarloaf Mountain Works. Adults $3.50; children under 12 free. 301/831-9191. FAIRFAX FAIR -- Saturday, June 14, 10 to 8, and Sunday, June 15, noon to 5. George Mason University main campus, Chain Bridge and Braddock roads, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax. The Fairfax Fair hosts a juried crafts show including ceramics, fiber art, country crafts, handmade dolls and baskets with demonstrations of crafts made in 18th-century Fairfax County and Virginia. Adults $1; kids ages 12 and under, free. 691-3247.