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
(Clusters of Studios in Southern Vermont including Matthew Tell)
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.
Many Clusters of Studios in Southern Vermont
It will be easy for travelers to southern Vermont to see a large number of studios during the Open Studio tour this spring, with many new studios joining the tour to create many different clusters to visit. There are twelve studios near Brattleboro, another 15 studios in the Wilmington/Whitingham area, and other clusters in the Townshend, Bellows Falls and Chester regions. Vermont Artisan Designs and Gallery in Brattleboro serves as the information center for this region and shows the work of many of the artists in the area.
20-year Open Studio participant Matthew Tell is a potter in Marlboro, Vermont whose studio is on a dirt road off of Route 9. It's a place of astonishing beauty that looks out over Sunset Lake, but Tell jokes that his studio is "out in the middle of nowhere" and that one of the first questions he gets from visitors is "How do you get out of here in the winter?" He points out that even though his road may be dirt, it is well maintained, and to help visitors he places "signs of encouragement" along the way, telling them to "Keep Going" and "Not Too Far Now".
Tell's pottery has colorful, earth-tone glazes that are suggestive of the Vermont landscape. His wood kiln uses the power of fire to alter and enhance his functional pottery. It's an unpredictable process, he says, and each firing is different and full of surprises.
Within a few miles of Tell's studio, visitors will also find the handblown glass of Josh and Marta Bernbaum, sterling jewelry made by Chris Lann, and furniture and woodenware by Jason Breen, the studio and furniture gallery of Michelle and David Holzapfel, and many other studios listed in the guide.
WILMINGTON / WHITINGHAM / READSBORO
The large number of artists with Open Studios in this area provides a wonderful opportunity to explore this part of Vermont along the Route 9 corridor. A sampling of the many studios that are part of the tour in this area are:
- The "Seriously Funny" Art of Humor gallery of Skip Morrow on "Not-A-Road: in Wilmington. Don't worry--the directions will get you there.
- Vermont photography by Nicki Steel who is known for her images of beautiful landscapes and hearts in nature.
- Contemporary furniture by Eric Sprenger .
- Sculptural hand-blown glass and paintings by Jen Violette
- Husband and wife glassblowers Mary Angus and K. William Lequier
- Potters Aysha Peltz and Todd Wahlstrom, whose studio gallery is a renovated 1962 Airstream Trailer.
BELLOWS FALLS / TOWNSHEND / CHESTER
Visitors to this region just north of Brattleboro will find classic Vermont villages and landscapes to explore as well as unique groupings of artists' studios. In this cluster, find two floor cloth makers, and three glassblowing studios. The Gallery at the VAULT in Springfield serves as an information center for this area and shows the work of many regional artists. Find two studios in Bellows Falls, three in Townsend and nine in the Chester area.
- Hand-painted floor cloths can be found at the studio of Jeannette Staley in Bellows Falls and also at the studio of Cameron Howard in West Townshend.
- Art glass by Christopher Sherwin in Bellows Falls, where visitors can find hand blown vases and paperweights along with hand sculpted glass of animals, fruit and flowers.
- Elegant watercolor paintings by Kim Eng Yeo inspired by her study of nature and her environment and by gardens at home and overseas.
- Hand blown, contemporary and hand-painted glass by Robert Du Grenier in Townshend, who has become known for his meticulously hand blown glass shells for hermit crabs.
- Contemporary glass by Nicholas Kekic at Tsuga Studios in Chester
- Visitors to the historic Chester Stone Village will find original handmade cloth dolls by Bonnie Waters, whose home studio in Chester is one of the historic stone houses. Nearby is DaVallia, the studio and gallery of jeweler Jessie Alon.
- Traditional Windsor chairs can be found at the studio of furniture maker Conrad Delia in Chester.
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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