Elissa’s Picks for Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logoWelcome the third in my series of blog posts about ways to plan your Open Studio Weekend tour.

In this post I listed the book arts studios I’d visit if I were touring this weekend. Of course, I would also visit studios by artists working in other media.

The batch of studios listed below belong to my fellow board members of the Vermont Crafts Council. These are some hardworking folks, volunteering their time for a great organization and creating fantastic work.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the green Vermont Studio Tour Guide 2015. The colors of the studio numbers in this post match the colored markers in the Google map below.

There are several ways to get your hands on a map:

Starting from the south, my first stop would be #64, Jessica Putnam-Phillips of Battenkill River Pottery. She creates hand carved functional and decorative ceramics. Her history as a military intelligence specialist in the US Air Force has had a great influence on her work – she explores the experience of women in the military in the form and content of her work. It’s really fascinating.

The next stop on the tour would be studio #76, David Stone of The Potter Stone. He works in porcelain and stoneware and (in his words) “combines both traditional forms with a contemporary spirit”. His work is wheel-thrown and hand-built, functional and decorative.

#93, Judith Reilly would be next. Her work is seriously wonderful and Judy is a serious sweetheart (and a good hugger). To consider her a quilter just doesn’t do her justice – she really paints with fabric. In her own words, her pieces “express both realistic and fantastic interpretations in a catawampus and quirky style”.

Next comes studio #10, Becca Van Fleet Webb of Two Potters. Becca’s hubby Nathan is the other member of this potter pair. These two worked in ceramics independently before joining forces in both business and in life. While Becca’s work is soft and organic, Nathan’s work is more traditional in style. In addition to the studio tour, Becca and Nathan will be hosting a live band. Very cool.

#121, Jim Fecteau of Huntington River Smithy is a self-taught blacksmith. He creates functional and decorative hand-forged metalwork – from gates and screens to clocks and candlesticks. Not only is Jim the current Vice President of the Vermont Crafts Council, but he’s also President of the Green Mountain Blacksmith Association – what a busy guy!

Next I’d visit #151, Greg Drew of Personalwoodsmythe. Greg both a woodturner and a wood sculptor. He has deep respect and love for trees. In his words – “I enjoy helping them express their silent stories and the history they’ve witnessed, forever etched in the patterns, textures, and hues of their timber.” In addition to being a fantastic artist, Greg is the President of the Vermont Crafts Council.

Judy Dales, #160, is another master quilter – she has been quilting for over 40 years. Her pieces fully embrace the curved shape, which adds (in her words) a “lyrical, feminine quality to her work”. Judy currently has work on display at the Shelburne Museum – clearly she’s good at what she does.

Lastly, I’d visit #174, Sandy Ducharme of Vermont Floorcloths and Fiber Arts. When you visit her, you get two art forms for the price of one – not only does she create hand-painted floor cloths, but she also hand-hooks wool rugs. She has won numerous awards for her work and you can see the care and love that goes into every piece.

Overall, these studios aren’t very close to each other. If you split your tour up between two days, it might be doable (some hustle may be involved).

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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