Photo Courtesy: Emile A. Gruppe Gallery, watercolor from Laurence Coffin, displayed as part of the Vermont Watercolor Society Spring Show.
Vermont’s natural scenic beauty will be enhanced this weekend, as nearly 300 artists and craftspeople across the state open their studios to visitors. The 17th annual Open Studio Weekend, May 23-24, is a statewide celebration of the visual arts and the creative process.
Open Studio Weekend gives you access to the workshops of glass blowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers and wood carvers.
The Vermont Crafts Council publishes a free map booklet with directions to participating sites.
These maps make it easy to tour the state - and meet the people behind the artwork you may have admired in shops and galleries.
With hundreds of artists to exhibiting their work, it’s difficult to choose. Here are some ideas:
The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, in Plymouth Notch, opens for the 2009 season on Saturday, May 23, and will host several exceptional artisans as part of the Vermont Craft Council’s Open Studio Weekend.
Over the years, the President Coolidge Homestead has become an Open Studio “hub,” where Vermont artisans temporarily relocate their studios. This year, Irene Ames of Derby will demonstrate basket making in the Sweetser family tradition.
Also on site will be members of the local chapter of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration: Dolores Furnari of Brandon and Pat Lacy of East Wallingford will offer stenciling activities for children, and Mary Perry of Salisbury, New Hampshire will demonstrate reverse painting on glass.
More information on President Calvin Coolidge Homestead.
In Montpelier, The Artisans Hand Craft Gallery is a gallery showing sophisticated crafts, including prints, photographs, textiles, and some sculpture from a number of participating craftspeople.
One of the gallery’s best known artists is Lochlin Smith, whose bronze jewelry is popular throughout New England. Lochlin will be welcoming people to his studio in Montpelier.
Look, too, for Mary Stone’s clay whistles – hand-formed, musical clay sculptures - and fiber artist Karen Henderson’s weavings and fabric pieces. Yarn-maker Denise D’Abramo will hold an informal Natural Dye Workshop in her Plainfield workshop.
At the gallery, you can see who your favorite artists are, and get directions to visit their own studios nearby.
More information on its website: The Artisans Hand.
Drive along the spine of the Green Mountains as you tour studios and galleries, beginning with the Emile Gruppe Gallery, in Jericho. This historic building hosts the Vermont Watercolor Society Spring Show, which includes local artists, as well as out-of-towners. More information on the exhibit: Vermont Watercolor Society Spring Show.
Pick up maps, directions and descriptions of area artists’ work at the gallery, and follow the festival’s yellow road signs onto roads with names like Brown’s Trace, Governor Peck, and Nashville.
Founded in the 1940s, the Shelburne Art Center (formerly known as the Shelburne Craft School) is a nonprofit institution offering dozens of art and crafts classes in a range of media, taught by some of Vermont’s most talented artists. More information on the Shelburne Art Center.
Finally, from the Shelburne Art Center, you can visit artists and artisans working on Lake Champlain - including oil painter Mary Ellen Manock’s Kingsland Terrace studio, and watercolorist Katharine Montstream’s Main St. studio. Both take in views of the water while making the most of Vermont’s largest city.
The 32-page Vermont Studio Tour Guide (with maps) is available at Vermont Information Centers, and at individual studios and galleries, or can be downloaded as a PDF at: Open Studio Week-End Guide.
More information and maps at: Vermont Studio Tour Guide.
Related article: President Calvin Coolidge Homestead – Historic Site