How much do you love Christmas shopping? Are you someone who keeps an eye open all year long for just the right gift for each person on your list? Or do you wait till the last minute because you’d rather have a root canal than shop? Probably you’re somewhere in between but either way I submit to you that everyone loves to receive a beautiful, handcrafted gift for the holidays. So why not start (or finish) your holiday shopping at the 1st Annual Vernon Artisan Market? It’s a new and exciting local shopping event organized by artists and craftspeople throughout the town of Vernon.
Handmade Christmas Gifts
Many of the artisans will be set up in the Vernon Town Hall and others are inviting you into their studios to see how their handmade gifts are crafted. You’ll find a map of the studio tour on the Vernon town website. Artists include potter Bronna Zlochiver, jeweller/painter/graphic designer Margaret Shipman, floral designer Nancy Renaud of Barn Door Wreaths, artist/jeweller/painter Donna Scully, basket maker Sandy Harris, quilter Jean Carr, artist Barbara Emery Moseley and baker Carol Hammond. Vermont Woods Studios is on the tour too so come visit us at Stonehurst and start crossing off those names on your Christmas list!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
The Art and Craft Festival will be held at the Shelburne Museum July 27-29. Photo via Craft Producer's Facebook Page
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.