Memorial Day weekend is usually a time when most New Englanders open their swimming pools, break out the barbecues and attend parades and memorials honoring those that have served our country. Many organizations use this time to open their doors to travelers during the three-day weekend. If you will be traveling May 25th or 26th, one event that is a must-see is the Vermont Craft Councils Open Studio Weekend Tour. This is a bi-annual event, held once in the spring and once in the fall, and is a great time for anyone who enjoys arts and crafting.
If you are an avid art lover, this open studio weekend is a great opportunity to not only take in various art but you’ll also be able to see the places where artists work and be able to buy or order work directly from the studio and speak to the artist directly. The Vermont Craft Council strives to make this an educational and enriching event for all who participate.
Here you can find a map of all participating artists and what they’ll have on display. Also check out their 10 Ways to Plan your Open Studio Tour, which is full of great tips for scheduling your weekend.
The weather is supposed to be beautiful for being out and about during the holiday weekend, so why not venture to a few southern Vermont galleries for some art enrichment and education. Let us know what you plan to do this weekend here in the comments or on our facebook.
I don’t know how to describe for you how beautiful Karen Kamenetzky’s fiber art is. It really has to be seen to be appreciated, but I thought I’d make an attempt by posting this screen shot I derived from a Google image search for “Karen Kamenetzky”. Wow. The image above is just my random sampling of Karen’s body of work but look how coherent it is! How can dozens of works, over years (maybe decades?) of time be placed together so randomly and look so integrated? I love Karen’s choice of colors and shapes and the illusion of movement. It’s remarkable, don’t you think?
You don’t see that much fiber art anymore. I’m so happy it’s making a comeback in the vibrant, contemporary works of Karen Kamenetzky. A little bit about the artist:
Karen works out of a typical Southern Vermont studio tucked into the woods of West Brattleboro. “I dye, paint and stitch cottons and silks to create boldly colored wallhangings inspired by microscopic/cellular imagery – a kind of visual invented biology with textiles. I find this imagery metaphorically rich since all change fundamentally happens on this infinitesimal level.” Karen shares information and inside scoops about her work, techniques, philosophy, inspiration and gallery exhibits on her fiber arts blog and on her Facebook.
If you love it as much as I do, you might want to consider attending the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center Apple Blossom Gala on May 10th at 7pm at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, NH where Karen’s “Cellscape II” is up for auction. You could be the lucky bidder and end up taking this piece of fine art home. But even if you’re not you’ll still find “lots of wonderful, innovative art for auction, a good cause, great people, delicious food and a raucous wine tasting!” Hope to see you there.
Dorset is one of the prettiest hamlets in all of Vermont, so Dennis and I were happy to make the trek to Dorset Custom Furniture last Friday. For us, the main attraction wasn’t the quaint New England Village architecture or the view of the Green Mountain Forest. It was to meet with Dan Mosheim and three more of Dorset’s famous custom furniture makers. I guess it’s no coincidence that four of the country’s finest craftsmen have set up shop in this idyllic spot. Dorset is quintessential Vermont at it’s finest and it’s natural beauty inspires artists and craftspeople from all walks of life.
Once we found our way to the slice of paradise that’s home to Dorset Custom Furniture we caught up with Dan, his wife Kit, and their sons Will and Sam. The whole family is involved in the arts, creating not only furniture but also jewelry, musical instruments and sculpture.
Dan had invited three other powerhouses in custom furniture to meet with us: Steve Holman of Holman Studios, Bob Gasperetti and Bill Laberge. We were brainstorming ways to collaborate in shining a light on Vermont’s long legacy of creating sustainable, high end, custom furniture. Dennis and I extended an invitation to the Dorset crowd to show their furniture at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture gallery so we will be working with them to make that happen before our grand opening this summer.
If you’re wandering around the world of Vermont arts and crafts before that, be sure to drop by Dorset and visit these fine furniture craftsmen in their studios. I think you’ll find that in commissioning a piece of their custom furniture, you are acquiring much more that a functional piece of art. I’m not sure how to describe but it has to do with getting in touch with a level of authenticity that is often missing in our lives. I think you’ll just have to go to Dorset and check it out for yourself. Then tell us about your experience on Facebook. Happy travels!
Vermont woodworkers: the 10th Annual Vermont Fine Furniture Festival is upon us. Hard to believe it’s been ten years since VWMA (the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association) first led the initiative to share Vermont’s exquisitely beautiful handmade wood furniture with the rest of the world. Kathleen Wanner and a number of other visionaries in the Vermont wood working community began work in 2003 on what is now one of the Top 10 Fall Events in New England. It’s the Vermont Fine Furniture and Woodworking Festival and woodworkers throughout the Green Mountain State are encouraged to participate.
This year the Fine Furniture Festival is being held September 28-29 in Woodstock, Vermont at the Union Arena. Woodworkers can contact Erin Lorentz at VWMA to register for the show and/or the annual design competition (more about that later). Just to let fellow Vermont woodworkers know… the show really has an expansive reach. In addition to hundreds of craftsmanship fans from New England you may well meet customers from across America, Canada and beyond. We had a couple from California come to visit us at the festival a few years ago and we’ve run into shoppers from Alberta, UK and Germany as well. Vermont fine furniture has a good reputation and a far reach!
The woodworking festival is paired with the Forest Festival at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park on the same weekend and free shuttle buses run between the two locations. This gives visitors a chance to see and experience the sustainable forests of Vermont that supply the wood our furniture is made of. I can’t think of a better way for visitors to spend a sunny Autumn day, than taking in these two quintessential Vermont festivals. Be a part of it!
If you’re in Brattleboro this weekend for the Harris Hill Ski Jumping events and you need an escape from the cold, why not head downtown and wander around Main Street? You’ll find lots of little independent shops and art galleries to duck into– my favorite being Vermont Artisans Designs at 106 Main.
Owners Suzy and Greg Worden always have an eclectic mix of handcrafted artwork by some of the most talented artisans in Vermont and New England. You’ll find paintings, sculpture, pottery, hand-painted silk, carefully turned salad bowls; exquisitely finished furniture, lamps and other wonderful items crafted by well-established and emerging artisans.
This month, Vermont Artisan Designs Gallery is featuring the portraits of Juan Jr. Ramirez, and paintings by a variety of artists including Deborah Lazar, Carol Gobin, Paul Stone, Jeanette Staley, Jim Murphy and Dane Tilghman.
If this weekend doesn’t give you enough time to take in all the art Vermont Artisans has to offer, come back for Brattleboro’s monthly Gallery Walk. It’s held on the first Friday of each month. You’ll see why Brattleboro was named the No. 11 Best Small Town in America by Smithsonian Magazine and has consistently been in the Top 25 Best Arts Towns with populations of 100,000 or fewer.
Enjoy your weekend in Brattleboro– inside and out!