SPRING OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND PRESS RELEASE
May 5, 2014
Contact: Martha Fitch, Director
Vermont Crafts Council
22nd SPRING OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND IS SET FOR MAY 24 AND 25
(Highlighting a few of the studios in northern Vermont)
VISITORS DISCOVER ART/EXPLORE VERMONT DURING SPRING STUDIO TOUR
Unique Experiences Await at Artists' Studios Throughout the State on May 24 - 25
Late May can be one of the most rewarding times of the year to explore Vermont and the Spring Open Studio Tour over Memorial Day Weekend offers a great way for locals and visitors alike to do so. Bright yellow signs are placed along Vermont's roads to mark the way to studios of 239 craftspeople and fine artists during the self-guided tour on May 24 and 25, at a time when the landscape is fresh and inviting and without the crowds of summer and fall.
Martha Fitch, the director of the Vermont Crafts Council that organizes the event, says the allure of the Open Studio tour is that "it takes you through the real Vermont, with the yellow Open Studio signs and the Open Studio map easily guiding visitors to the studios." The tour features the work of glassblowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers and wood carvers. This May, the Vermont Crafts Council is honoring two artists who have participated in the Spring Open Studio tour for 20 years: Marlboro potter Matthew Tell and Jericho artist Dianne Shullenberger.
Every year the tour features a number of new artists, giving long-time Open Studio visitors some fresh destinations to explore. In studios of long-time participants, repeat visitors can expect to find new art works and old friends. The studio tour brings visitors to historic villages and along roads with spectacular vistas. For travelers looking for a broad range of activities, Vermont-byways.us has posted interactive maps in each of the regions showing Open Studios in those areas.
Snapshots of a Few Studios in Northern Vermont
JERICHO / UNDERHILL
To Open Studio travelers exploring northwestern Vermont, a visit to Dianne Shullenberger's studio in Jericho has both artistic and historic appeal. Not only is her studio an experience of color and the creative process, but her home is also where Snowflake Bentley, the beloved Vermont icon, lived in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Shullenberger's studio has big windows with a view of mountains and a pond along with her exquisite gardens. The walls are lined with chromatically arranged fabrics and shelves holding boxes of old scarves and silk ties, bits of which she uses to create detailed fiber paintings.
A 20-year participant in the Open Studio tour, Shullenberger will be showing a new series she calls "Circular Earth", three-dimensional pieces made by layering objects from nature such as pine needles, acorns, grasses, and stems of bushes and trees. These collages of natural objects are companions to fiber paintings, with the materials collected from the landscape depicted.
Just north of Jericho is the scenic village of Underhill, which celebrated its 250th year in 2013. This area, with magnificent views of the western flank of Mt. Mansfield, is home to the studio of George Scatchard, a long-time Vermont potter. Scatchard, who came to Vermont in 1960 to set up a pottery shop, specializes in making lamps. He spent many years developing subtle and beautiful glaze colors for his work.
The Jericho/Underhill / Richmond area contains large clusters of studios for those who want to visit many studios within a 20-mile region. The headquarters for this area is the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery in Jericho, located in a renovated 1860s English sheep barn where examples of many of the artists' work will be shown.
Drivers along Route 100 north of Stowe do a double take when they spot the triple-helix curved and arched stonewall that identify the home studio of master stoneworker Thea Alvin. A professional stonemason and self-taught artist, Alvin's signature piece "Triple Flip" draws considerable attention, and so she has decided to participate in the Open Studio tour this year as a way to welcome visitors to see her works in stone.
Alvin's work has been compared to that of Andy Goldsworthy, an English artist who creates land art using natural materials. Alvin says, "I like rocks; I like what they have to say, and I like how they say it." About one hundred feet long, her front-yard dry-stone wall is still growing as she continues to add simple rocks she brings home. Although it seems impossible for heavy rocks to be suspended in a spiral, Alvin says their weight balances and exchanges to hold each other in place. Visitors during Open Studio weekend will be able to see the new multimedia exhibit "Progress in Works" at her Rock, Paper Scissors Gallery, as well as learn about her upcoming fall trip to restore ancient stone Trulli homes in Puglia, Italy.
Also in Morrisville is the painting studio of Christine Vandeberg, and in nearby Hyde Park, visitors to Wind's Edge Studio will find hand blown glass by Matt Seasholtz and quilts and wallhangings by Marion Philipsen Seasholtz.
Adventurous travelers looking for unusual studios may want to wend their way to Caledonia County to Sutton, a town of a little over 1000 people in the Northeast Kingdom. Two studios there along with other Open Studios in nearby Newark and East Burke will provide plenty of opportunity for discovery. The information center for this region is at the Northeast Kingdom Artisans' Guild in St. Johnsbury, a gallery that shows the work of over 100 Vermont artists and craftspeople.
Sutton artist Tara Lynn creates what she calls "eco-fashion" such as embroidered jackets inspired by and in support of endangered species, as well as bridal gowns made from eco-friendly materials such as hemp, organic cottons and silks. Lynn says Open Studio visitors can view the artwork and are also welcome to become engaged in the artful process by learning basic embroidery stitches during the visit. All tools and materials are provided and visitors can take home their own embroidered appliqu or can bring their own garment to embroider.
A short distance away is the High Beams studio of Trenny Robb and Bob Michaud, a visual wonderland of unique, elegant lighting. The artists create wall sconces, table lamps, floor lamps and chandeliers in unique designs based on Victorian reproductions to the Arts and Crafts era. The handcrafted lampshades are made from materials such as mica, parchment, and real leaves and petals and the lamps are fashioned from copper and brass.
In nearby East Burke are two fiber studios and a woodworking studio: Pikku, the studio of Valerie Chase/Ormiston where she creates elegantly designed paper and fabric for the home; Craft Barn, where Ellen Chase will show her handmade quilts and pillows; and Sanderson's Wooden Bowls, handcrafted by husband and wife team Sam and Weeza Sanderson using local woods and natural finishes.
Another special studio can be found along stunning Lake Memphremagog in the town of Newport, where Phyllis Hammond will show her watercolor and acrylic paintings of Iceland, Alaska and wildflowers.
Traditional craft can be found in West Danville at Joe's Pond Craft Shop, located in a renovated barn next to Hastings Store, a quintessential Vermont general store. Along with the work of 35 Vermont craftspeople, proprietor Deborah Stresing also has her "working" loom and woven rag rugs.
Open Studio Weekend is a statewide celebration 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. Those who experience Open Studio gain an appreciation for the creative process and the role that artists and craftspeople play in the vitality of Vermont's communities.
The free Open Studio guide contains maps and directions to studios and studio addresses that can be entered into GPS systems. The maps, along with the yellow signs placed along the roads, ensure that visitors will easily find the studios. The Open Studio guide is available throughout the state at Vermont Welcome Centers, galleries and studios, on the website vermontcrafts.com, or by calling 802-223-3380.
The Vermont Crafts Council is a non-profit organization serving the Vermont visual arts community. Open Studio Weekend is supported by the galleries of Vermont State Craft Centers, the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.
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