July 2nd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
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.
February 17th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
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!
September 27th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
By Heather Barrett
full of artists and artisans, and this weekend is a perfect opportunity to discover
their products and visit their studios.
There are two events, one in Manchester,
and the other in Brattleboro, for
you to explore this weekend.
Craftproducers Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival
September 28-30, 10am-5pm
starting their foliage season with an outdoor event celebrating the local art
community. Over 180 artisans will have their craftwork on display and for
purchase. Art work ranges from photography to paintings to clothing to maple
distilled vodka. In addition to the beautiful array of art on display, the
festival offers food and drink. There will be a food area serving a variety of
localvore items, and a Vermont Beer, Cheese and Sausage tent. Spend the day
meeting artists, purchasing gifts for the upcoming holidays, and eating
delicious food. For more information about this event, visit the
Brattleboro-West Arts' 4th Annual Open Studio Tour
September 29-30, 10am-5pm
The town of Brattleboro
is Vermont Woods Studios' neighbor, located in the southeast corner of Vermont.
Brattleboro is known for it's
thriving arts community, and this weekend you will have the opportunity to meet
some of the artists. Artists are opening up their studios this weekend to the
public. There will be 13 different locations with 16 artists showing off their
crafts. The tour is mapped out on a brochure that you can print from their
website, pick up at any of the studio locations, or get from the Brattleboro
Chamber of Commerce. At the studio locations you will see where artists make
violins, blow glass, paint, and create many more items in different mediums. In
addition, to conclude the first night of the weekend event, the Chelsea Royal
Diner will be hosting a special dinner on Saturday. The dinner will feature a
selection of locally produced foods.
This is another opportunity to meet artists and learn about their crafts.
The Brattleboro-West Open Studio Tour has been recognized by the Boston
Globe. For more information about the
event, please visit the Brattleboro-West Arts website.
Heather Barrett is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods Studios, an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture, Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.
July 26th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
By Heather Barrett
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about "Five Fantastic Vermont Events In July." The Shelburne Museum Art and Craft Festival was included, and is wrapping up my list of July events. The Art and Craft Festival is this weekend, July 27-29, and after a 6 year hiatus, the festival is returning to the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. This 14th annual event will feature over 150 artists and artisans, who will be showcasing their specialties. Vermont artisans, like the ones who make wood furniture at Vermont Woods Studios, are a large part of Vermont's culture and history. Vermonter's pride themselves on their craftmanship, and the unique items they can handmake. Art items that will be at the festival include hand thrown pottery, fine silver and gold jewelry, photography, paintings, and many more.
The Shelburne Craft School will be demonstrating how their products are made. Kid's will be invited to join in with the activities offered by the school instructors.
This weekend event is more than just art, it is also largely focused on food and drink. This year there will be a new spirit and wine tasting tent, where you can sample local wines. Vermont craft beer will be another local beverage option at the event. Your taste buds will also be satisfied when you discover the small size food portions being served by local restaurants on Sunday. This Sunday event is called the "Taste of Shelburne" and the restaurants will be donating their profits to the Shelburne Craft School.
This is a great opportunity to experience Vermont culture, buy local products, and enjoy delicious food and drink.
Heather Barrett is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods StudiosF, an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture, Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.
July 15th, 2011 by Dennis Shanoff
I’m not sure what the official count of craftspeople & artisans (making some or all of their income from their crafts) in the state of Vermont is but if I had to guess I would say it is easily in the thousands? Vermont certainly has to be one of the top states for high quality, fine arts & crafts work. Studios, workshops, and galleries can be found in practically every Vermont city and town. I suppose it could take months to visit even half of them. The diversity of the media choice these talented artisans choose is equally overwhelming! Clay, fiber, paper, wood, glass, jewelry, and metal works are all well represented. And expect to find not only traditional type works but plenty of one of a kind pieces. Saying one could build a vast and eclectic collection of Vermont art pieces is absolutely an understatement.
So from now through the fall is about the time we start to see the larger organized craft festivals and open studio weekends in Vermont. I will highlight a few popular August ones below and no doubt a quick web search would yield many more.
The first weekend in August brings the very popular Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival held at the historical Hildene's Meadow in Manchester, VT (Hildene, as shown here was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln– Robert was the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln). At the Hildene festival you will be able to meet and see the work of 150 artisans plus take in some great food and music. This long running juried festival is a must attend for the arts & crafts aficionado.
Moving up to the middle of the state and the middle of the month (Aug 13 & 14) is an “Art in the Park” event hosted by the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, VT. Fifty years running, this event brings in juried, high quality craftsman as well as fine art, great food and live music. The estimated 7000 – 9000 attendees suggests that this event is worth the trip!
The following Saturday (August 20th) and just down the street from Rutland in Ludlow, VT is the Fletcher Farm School Annual Arts & Crafts Festival. Over 90 fine artist and craftsman will be exhibiting top quality works across all medias. And if seeing all this beautiful handiwork inspires your creative side you are in the right place! The Fletcher Farm just happens to be a school for the arts and crafts. Their course program covers just about every type of art or craft!
And if you can’t make these dates you can always visit one or more of the Vermont State Craft Centers. Open year round, these centers are state approved and they showcase exclusively Vermont made works that meet high quality, uniqueness and variety standards.
We at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture hope you get the chance to travel to and discover the incredible Vermont arts & craft scene soon. We know you will find something you just can’t live without! And so you know, our connection to the Vermont artisan scene is our representation and marketing of the works of over 20 highly skilled and acclaimed fine wood furniture makers. We like to think of these craftsman as creators of functional art!