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May 1, 2013
Contact: Martha Fitch, Director
Vermont Crafts Council

(Note: The four examples below of Open Studio tours can be used in several ways: as a stand-alone article; individually or collectively as a sidebar; or inserted into the main press release)

Many Choices for Interesting, Self-Planned Tours Await Visitors

Vermont Open Studio Weekend is a statewide celebration over Memorial Day Weekend of the visual arts and creative process, offering a unique opportunity for visitors to meet a wide variety of artists and craftspeople in their studios, some of which are only open to the public during this event.

Martha Fitch, the Executive Director of the Vermont Crafts Council, says the allure of the Open Studio tour is that "it takes you through the real Vermont in a safe and controlled way. The road may go on and on, but the yellow Open Studio signs along with the Open Studio map will guide visitors to every studio."

The Vermont Crafts Council publishes a free map booklet with directions to participating sites. Participating artists also put up bright yellow Open Studio signs to guide visitors to their door. The Vermont Open Studio Guide is available throughout the state at Tourist Information Centers, galleries and studios. It is also available on the VCC website, or by calling 802-223-3380.

The Vermont Crafts Council is a non-profit organization serving the Vermont visual arts community. VCC launched Open Studio Weekend in 1993 to increase the visibility of artists and craftspeople in Vermont and to foster an appreciation for the creative process and the role that artists and craftspeople play in the vitality of Vermont's communities.

Open Studio Weekend is supported by the galleries of Vermont State Craft Centers and by the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

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The self-guided Open Studio tour features studios of 242 artisans and artists including glassblowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers and wood carvers.

There are many possible combinations of studio sites that visitors can combine to create a tour that suits their interests. Here are four examples of how tours can be put together:

An Open Studio tour in Central Vermont (Washington-Tunbridge-Randolph-Bethel-South Royalton)

View 2013 Open Studio Tour - East Central Vermont in a larger map

Pottery lovers can find an interesting group of clay studios along with a basketmaker and two well-known printmakers to visit in the region where Orange and Windsor counties connect in central Vermont.

For those traveling south of Montpelier and Barre, one destination that is new this year is the studio of Romulus Craft between Washington and Chelsea, where Ikuzi Teraki and Jeanne Bisson make functional and sculptural contemporary porcelain tableware and pottery. Ikuzi grew up in Kyoto, surrounded by Japan's National Treasures. Jeanne grew up on a family dairy farm in Barre, giving her a strong connection to the land. Visitors can see a Japanese aesthetic in the forms, along with design elements reminiscent of stone, ripples in sand, or, in their latest work, Ra-Ku, the beauty of falling and drifting snow and the intricate, random patterns of cracking ice.

Continuing south to Tunbridge, Open Studio visitors can experience a quintessential piece of Vermont as they drive through the Howe covered bridge on Belknap Rd. to reach the studio of Dona Nazarenko, who will be showing her handwoven baskets. Nazarenko uses reed, birch bark and other to create what she calls "a blend of traditional, natural and inspirational" baskets. Her birch bark baskets are made from materials collected from fallen white birch trees in her own back yard. Her traditional baskets are functional and used for anything from collecting fruit to storing items. Many of Doa's baskets feature things like wooden feet, made by her husband Warren, not commonly seen on other styles of baskets.

In several villages near Interstate 89 are clusters of studios in Randolph, Bethel and South Royalton. Randolph, the home of the White River Craft Center, also is home to Holly Walker who makes contemporary, functional earthenware pottery. Bethel is home to several potters and their studios: Andrea Trzaskos, who will debut her new studio space during Open Studio; Grace Pejouhy and Evan Williams, who collaboratively create one-of-a-kind wood fired pottery; and Becca Van Fleet and Nathan Webb, makers of stoneware pottery who love to give tours of their large, two-chambered wood kiln and brand new studio building.

South Royalton features the studios of Marilyn Syme, a printmaker of woodcuts, silkscreens and solar prints; Jeanne Amato, another woodblock and solarplate printmaker, and Maxine Hugon, a potter whose work combines carved, wheelthrown and handbuilt techniques.

An Open Studio tour in the Plainfield-Marshfield-Cabot region

View 2013 Open Studio Central North Tour in a larger map

A high concentration of studios can be found in the Plainfield-Marshfield-Cabot area in central Vermont.

About 2 miles from Plainfield on Fowler Road, visitors will discover the studio of Denise D'Abramo, who makes handspun and botanically dyed specialty yarns. "When you visit Denise, you will see not only her work but her whole lifestyle," says Martha Fitch, Director of the Vermont Crafts Council. D'Abramo, who studied textiles as a Fulbright scholar in India and collects plants for her natural dyes, lives with "her husband, two sweet children, a pile of sheep, and various other fun farm animals."

Also near Plainfield is the Majolica-style pottery studio of Leslie Koehler. Koehler just returned from a year in Tanzania where she was working to develop ceramic water filter technology as a way to provide safe water in developing countries. Early in her career as a potter, she traveled first to Alaska and then to Africa to work with traditional potters and learn the artistic skills of indigenous cultures. Her pottery, with an exterior of earthy-red terra cotta and a colorful Majolica glazed interior, incorporates many elements of her global interests.

Another Plainfield artist is award winning contemporary quilt-maker Kathie Alyce. Returning to the Open Studio tour after an absence of several years, Alyce designs quilt patterns including the Flip Flop Block curved template, the subject of her recent quilting book. She is currently working on a series of landscape wall hangings and creating machine-worked trees.

Continuing on Route 2 north of Plainfield, visitors will find Blackthorne Forge, the studio of Steven Bronstein, who makes functional and sculptural, traditional and contemporary ironwork. Less then 5 miles away is the studio of stained glass artist Fred Varney. From Blackthorne Forge, visitors can take Route 2 south to Marshfield, the home of locally famous Rainbow Sweets, a caf and bakery with a devoted following, including a food writer from the New York Times and local poet, Louise Gluck. From there, Fitch says to follow the yellow signs and the Open Studio map/guide. "Fred Varney's studio is amazing!" she says. "He lives on a spectacular high spot overlooking fields and mountains and has built his studio/residence with the lower level living space illumined with his own stained glass lamps, while the upper part is his studio and workshop."

After Marshfield, it's a short drive to Cabot where Sandy and Richard Ducharme open their individual studios and their graceful gardens for visitors to see. Located on the eponymous Ducharme Road, Sandy will show her hooked wool rugs and handpainted canvas rugs, while Richard will show his workshop and the multitude of choices of Adirondack furniture that he builds from locally harvested wood and paints or stains with either natural or saturated colors.

An Open Studio tour in west-central Vermont (Lincoln-Bristol)

View 2013 Open Studio Central West Tour in a larger map

Another solid cluster in the spring tour can be found in the west central Vermont mountain villages of Lincoln and Bristol. The picturesque and fast-running New Haven River, considered one of Vermont's top fly-fishing destinations for rainbow, brook or brown trout, connects the few miles between them.

It's a perfect spot for Escape Studio in Lincoln, where naturalist Nick Mayer expresses his love of fly fishing and fly-tying by painting watercolor "portraits" of fish and wildlife that are both scientifically illustrative and an expression of his artistic passion.

The village of Lincoln, situated at the foot of Mount Abraham, is surrounded by scenic beauty and home to many artists. New to Open Studio this year and located in the heart of Lincoln village is award-winning photographer Victoria Blewer, who meticulously and individually hand-colors black and white photographs to create dreamlike effects. Elizabeth Saslaw of York Hill Potter, has her studio on York Hill Road, and on nearby Colby Road, visitors will find the studio of Kathleen Kolb and Paul Forlenza, where Kathleen creates her luminous oil and watercolor paintings and Paul will show his landscape photographs of mountains, trees and water.

Leaving the Lincoln area, the road follows along the river and then over the Bristol Twin Bridges. On Bristol's classic Main Street is Art on Main, a regional Open Studio information center and gallery, where visitors can pick up maps and see fine art and craft from over 100 artists. A few doors down the street and across from the Bristol Bakery is the studio of oil painter Rory Jackson, whose work reflects the different worlds in which he lives: landscapes evoking Vermont in the summer and seascapes of Ghana where he spends the winter.

Heading north out of Bristol towards Monkton, visitors will find the yellow signs directing them to the studio of Dale Helms, a contemporary furniture maker on Mountain Road (should we come up with a few more words for Dale as he is back in the tour after many years?). A few miles east on Route 116 is the studio of Jim Geier, maker of the Vermont Folk Rocker. The unique rocking chair was designed to be comfortable to the back, and is handmade out of strung blocks of solid hardwood that Geier says feels "like a quilted cushion." Five miles further south, also on Route 116, is the studio of potter Robert Compton and weaver Christine Homer. Their studio is a landmark for area people, with an eye-catching tower and sheep grazing in the front yard. Also noteworthy is Bob's large, wood-fired Noborigama kiln. This year, Bob is celebrating his 20th year of participating in the Spring Open Studio tour.

An Open Studio tour in northwest Vermont (Franklin County, Grand Isle)

View 2013 Open Studio Tour - North West Tour in a larger map

Adventurous Open Studio visitors traveling north past Burlington into Franklin and Grand Isle counties will have a number of studios to explore. Grand Isle itself is an incredibly scenic drive on Route 2 as it threads the islands of Lake Champlain. The regional information center, Grand Isle Art Works, exhibits the works of many area artists and craftspeople and also is home to Zach's Cafe at the Gallery. A few miles north from here, Sara Rosedahl will show her original paintings at her studio in North Hero. Back on the mainland in nearby Georgia, Greg Drew will show his woodturnings and lathe work and will also host Pat Burton's art jewelry and paintings. Also located in Georgia is Chasworth Pottery and farm, where Marcia Hagwood makes pottery, roving, soap and handspun yarn.

Heading north to St. Albans, visitors will find the original painting studio and gallery of Daniel Pattullo in the heart of downtown across from Taylor Park. Further north in Fairfield is the studio of mixed media artist Meta Strick, who believes in "veering off and staying outside the lines". Meta, (rhymes with pita), creates one-of-a-kind, imaginative and playful works including unique wood and mixed media Art Dolls and other artful assemblages combining any of her various interests in calligraphy, drawings, paintings, needlework, book arts, printmaking, letterpress, and polymer clay, as well as incorporating artifacts, embellishments and buttons.

Bearing east out of Fairfax, visitors who wend their way to Enosburg Falls will find the collective art gallery called Artist in Residence, which exhibits the work of over 40 local Vermont artists. South from Enosburg Falls is the pottery studio of Barbara Colgrove, who makes colorful earthenware mugs, bowls and tiles. A stop at Carol Crawford's studio in Bakersfield completes the circle. Carol, who learned to weave on an old loom that was in the barn of a commune where she lived in the 1960s, has become known for her lush chenille scarves, shawls, and entertaining stories.

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