Robin’s been crafting beautiful fine wooden furniture for over 25 years and it’s always fun to visit his workshop in pastoral Calais, Vermont. Besides seeing all of his works in progress we got to tour the Maple Corner campus and meet the furry sentinels that guard and patrol the grounds (see photo).
It was a very productive meeting and it didn’t hurt that it was in a setting of Robin and Annie’s herbal gardens and central Vermont’s rolling hills.
I see Robin’s furniture as a reflection of his own demeanor: elegant,
refined and genuine. He’s a master at combining authentic Shaker sensibilities with modern, contemporary design. Check out his furniture creations on our website:
Calling all VT Woodworkers: it’s time to enter the 2013 Vermont Fine Furniture and Wood Products Design Competition. On it’s 10th year anniversary, this woodworking festival can boast of being a prestigious, well-respected venue for representing woodworkers and designers throughout the Green Mountain state.
Got a creative woodworking project you’d like to show off? Put it out there with the best Vermont has to offer and see how it stacks up. Entry forms are available online and fees start at just $15 (but the first one’s free for VWMA members). What have you got to lose? And who knows, you could be the next woodworking sensation!
Fine furniture and wooden accessories must be made in Vermont by Vermont woodworkers to be eligible. Judging will be held on September 28 from 10-4pm with an Awards Reception at 6pm at the Union Arena in Woodstock, VT. Previous press for winners has included articles in Fine Woodworking Magazine, Furniture World Magazine, Vermont Home Style Magazine and Design New England Magazine. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Check out the details on the Vermont Fine Furniture and Wood Products Design Competition website. See you at the awards reception!
Selling handmade furniture online is considered preposterous by many. Fine furniture must be seen in person for one to appreciate the quality and workmanship that goes into each piece. But at Vermont Woods Studios we’ve been hard at work making an exception to that rule for 8 years. Much of our success is due to the talented group of web development professionals we’ve managed to persuade to join our cause– and Martin Corbin is the newest among them.
Martin’s interest in computers and digital art began when he was a young boy. As an adult, he enrolled in a PC repair course and entered the IT field, first working for a local computer shop then going freelance. Martin enjoyed experimenting with digital art, and eventually combined his interests into designing websites. However he hasn’t left his creativity behind. On his personal website he shares a bit about his artistic side:
“I was raised in an artistic household and began drawing at an early age. My mother Rita Corbin was already an established artist before I was born. I watched her work daily and used what I learned to try to make my own drawing come to life…. My approach is simple: draw or paint what I want, when feel like it, and don’t worry about how it comes out. Simple as this is, not over thinking remains a challenge. I believe this relaxed approach makes the process more enjoyable while still allowing for great results.”
I want to know how to relax and get as much accomplished as Martin has. In addition to his expertise with computers, programming and art, he is also an accomplished musician. We know Martin as a die hard Phish phan but I’ve recently learned that he has a long history with music. During Brattleboro’s heyday, he was in a band called The Weld, playing acoustic, instrumental jazzgrass music at The Common Ground Restaurant and McNeill’s Brewery. You can check out his artwork and music on his website, MartinCorbin.com.
We feel very fortunate to have Martin working with us at Vermont Woods Studios. Stop by our fine furniture and art gallery at Stonehurst to see samples of his artwork. And help us welcome Martin to the Woods by giving him a thumbs up on Facebook!
Last week Dennis and Kelsey and I went to Mondo MediaWorks in downtown Brattleboro where owner, Luke Stafford was hosting a Vermont Life Magazine Pitch Party. Such a cool idea: Mary Hegarty Nowlan and her staff from Vermont Life were traveling around the state inviting people to pitch their artwork, businesses, personal stories and such– for possible inclusion in future magazine issues. So we pitched our Stonehurst Fine Furniture and Art Gallery story. But the best part of the evening (other than free pizza, beer and wine) was getting to meet and hear the stories of many unique, talented and fascinating Vermonters.
Susan Osgood was one of them. She creates beautiful, colorful oil paintings (on paper, canvas and wood) inspired by such muses as snakes, rivers, hands and maps. Susan showed us photos of many of her contemporary works and discussed the challenges of trying to make a living as an artist. As with most artists, Susan has a second job. Lucky for her (and the rest of us) it’s also in the art world. She works for the University of Chicago’s archaeological project in Luxor, Egypt and has spent the last 25 winters there drawing the carved and painted reliefs of ancient tombs and temples. Susan also worked on the KV 63 Tomb Project, (the first new tomb to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings since Tutankhamun’s in 1922) creating drawings of the coffins. Wow, can you imagine being entrusted to record and interpret these pieces of human history dating back 3500 years or more?
As I listened to Susan’s presentation and that of several other artists, I was thinking of an article* written earlier this year, by Dave Ackert of the LA Times and realizing how true his words are:
“Artists are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime…. Every day, artists face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every role, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life – the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because artists are willing to give their entire lives to a moment – to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Artists are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.”
Agree? Tell Susan thanks for all the hard work she’s put into touching our hearts, opening our minds and stirring our souls.
* Thanks to another Vermont artist, Linda Eaton-Marcille of Crow House Studio for re-posting Dave Ackert’s article on her 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.