Spotlights
Sep08

Spotlights

Spotlights Brattleboro Literary Festival Oct 14-16, various locations around Brattleboro, brattleboroliteraryfestival.org Celebrating its 10th anniversary with over forty established and emerging authors coming to Brattleboro. Experience the magical alchemy between readers and writers featuring NPR personalities Tom Bodett and Roy Blount, Jr., best-selling authors Julia Alvarez and Luis Alberto Urrea, National Book Award-winning poet Mark Doty, Caldecott Award winning-illustrator David Macaulay, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Powers, best-selling memoirists Mira Bartók and Melissa Coleman and special guest Ken Burns. In an extraordinary event, Janis Bellow and Benjamin Taylor will discuss Saul Bellow’s life and letters. Saul Bellow appeared at the first Brattleboro Literary Festival. Another very special event will feature two award-winning Quebec novelists, Monique Proulx and Kathleen Winter, sponsored by Montreal’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival. All events are free and open to the public. 8th Annual Vermont Fine Furniture & Woodworking Festival Sep 24-25, Sat 9-6p, Sun 10-4p, Union Arena, Woodstock, vermontwoodfestival.org More than 60 Vermont furniture makers, bowl turners, carvers, cabinetmakers and more will be on exhibit at this year’s Fine Furniture & Woodworking Festival. Watch traditional methods of woodworking, purchase products made from our forests and see for yourself why Vermont woodworkers are rated second to none. On Saturday night, Celebrity Home and Style Designer Stephen Saint-Onge will speak at the Jackson House Inn, in Woodstock. Art in the Park Oct 8-9, 10-5p, Main St Park, Rutland chaffeeartcenter.org Come celebrate the 50th anniversary of Art in the Park, a signature event for central Vermont. Since 1961, artisans and craftspeople have been setting up their booths in Main Street Park in Rutland for scores of shoppers seeking art work and authentic handcrafted items. Come meet the artisans who ply their craft in wood, stone, clay, fiber, metal, glass, with cameras, or on canvas. Food, music, demonstrations, kids’ activities, and much more make this a family outing! Art in the Park, the oldest continuously running arts tradition in Vermont, is sponsored by the Chaffee Art Center, which is also celebrating its 50th year. 41st Annual Newfane Heritage Festival Oct 8-9, Newfane Common, newfaneheritagefestival.blogspot.com One of “10 for the Road” Autumn events selected by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2005. The 90-plus juried vendors sell hand-crafted items, e.g. quilts, ironwork, pottery, furniture, photography and art work, jewelry, clothing, and much more. A Farmers’ Market Area features displays of multi-colored mums, Vermont apples and apple cider, pumpkins, home-made fudge, Vermont maple syrup, and locally smoked ham. Wild Night on the Catwalk: Compassion for Fashion, a benefit for Brattleboro Area Hospice Nov 19, 7p, Brattleboro Area Hospice, 802 257-0775 Ask anyone to describe fashion in Vermont and you might receive a derisive...

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12 tips for buying hardwood furniture
Sep08

12 tips for buying hardwood furniture

12 Tips for Buying Hardwood Furniture by Brent Karner   Brent Karner is a master woodworker and founder of ClearLake Furniture in Ludlow, Vermont. He is a graduate of the prestigious North Bennet Street School in Boston, Massachusetts, where he fine tuned his craft. 1. Wood finish A smooth, lasting finish requires time. Ask about the finishing process. What product was used? Is it harmful to the environment? Is the finish water-resistant? Will it withstand spills like coffee, acidic citrus juices, and red wine? What will you need to do to keep the piece looking beautiful? 2. Solid wood Wood represents a broad range of quality, colors, and grains. Hardwood—like maple walnut, and cherry—is preferred over softer woods—like pine and spruce—for their durability and exquisite appearance. The word “solid” doesn’t guarantee exceptional quality. In some cases, the furniture is made entirely of wood, making it “solid”; however, everything but the exterior could be a lesser quality wood. Compressed wood, particle board, and veneers can all qualify as “wood”. If you’re not sure, ask! If there are veneers, ask how they are manufactured and applied because a veneer can come apart from the piece if not properly constructed. 3. Joinery methods Checking out how the wood parts have been joined is like looking into a crystal ball. If you see staples and excess globs of glue, expect a short life. Dove-tailing and mortise and tenon joints are the two best ways to build in strength. A dovetail joint is made by joining two pieces of wood together across their width and at right angles to each other. The angular design of this technique—even without adding glue or screws—makes it virtually impossible to separate the joints. Also, these distinctive “tails” are aesthetically pleasing. A mortise and tenon adds strength and demonstrates exceptional craftsmanship. The tenon is a wood extension that fits into a deep groove, called a mortise, on the connecting piece. The joint is glued or pinned in place. 4. Drawer guides One of the fastest ways to determine the quality of wood furniture is to open and close the drawers. How easily do they glide? Is there a built-in “stop” so that the drawer closes effortlessly? Is it mounted straight? A drawer guide is like the engine of a car. They range from “putt-putt” to “vroooom”. A quality guide is costly because it is necessary to extend the life of the piece. Also ask about the warranty on the hardware because that’s a good indicator for the life of the piece. 5. Drawer construction The dovetail joinery is particularly valuable with drawers, because opening and closing them puts strain...

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Pumpkin Festivals
Sep08

Pumpkin Festivals

Pumpkin Festivals 19th Annual Keene Pumpkin Festival Oct 22, 12-8:30p, Main St, Keene NH pumpkinfestival.org Do you want to experience community spirit at its peak? Do you want to feel awe-struck as you gaze at towers shimmering with hundreds of jack-o’-lanterns, be touched by the personal messages and artistic renderings carved in orange gourds? Do you want to set a World Record for the most lit jack-o’-lanterns? Do you want to show your family what can happen when a community comes together to do what they do best? This is your chance! As the sun starts to set, hundreds of volunteers rush to light thousands and thousands of carved pumpkins as visitors from around the world watch the dark become illuminated by more than 25,000 votive candles and wait for the final count to be announced. Spend the day downtown with special activities for the kids including a costume parade, a seed spitting and pie eating contest, live music on three stages, face painting, craft booths, lots of food provided by area non-profits, and much more. End the evening with a spectacular fireworks display. Manchester Pumpkin Carving Oct 16, Equinox Valley Nursery, Rt. 7A, south of Manchester, manchestervermont.net An afternoon of fun events celebrating the fall harvest and pumpkin season. Great for the whole family… corn maize, wagon rides, cider, donuts and pumpkin carving competition. Townshend Pumpkin Festival Oct 15, 9a-3p, on the Common, Townshend, 802 348-7913, townshendvermont.org A fun filled day for the whole family with a craft and art sale, pumpkin pies, scarecrow decorating contest, free pony rides, pumpkin decorating, pony rides and more. —————...

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Fall Food Festivals
Sep08

Fall Food Festivals

Fall Food Festivals Southern Vermont, it has to be the food. In this region you’ll find a warm and sophisticated, yet rustic, lifestyle based on family traditions, with authentic and local food experiences. There are plenty of food festivals this fall, many of which offer a great way to experience the flavors of a new destination, while allowing you to try new foods and gather new recipes. Chow down! Check Web sites for updated information. CANCELLED: 5th Annual Taste of the Deerfield Valley Sep 10, 10-4p, Mount Snow Base Area Mount Snow, West Dover, celebratethevalley.com Voted “Top 10 for the Road” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. The event showcases dozens of top restaurants in the area to give the public the opportunity to taste specialty items from each and the chance to vote for their favorite taste. The event is a benefit for the Junior Iron Chef program. Attendees can also shop local crafter and artisan wares and enjoy live music, drink local wine and beer, keep the kids busy w/kid-friendly activities, live cooking demonstrations and win prizes.  CANCELLED: Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival Sep 23-25, junction of Rt 9 East and 100 South in Wilmington and various inns, farms and wineries in the Mount Snow valley, thevermontfestival.com A weekend showcase for Vermont wines, Vermont specialty foods and artisans of all types celebrating the rich uniqueness, quality and ingenuity of Vermont producers. Named one of Vermont’s “Top 10 Fall Events” by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and “Top 100 National Event” by the American Bus Association. Heirloom Apple Tasting Day Oct 8-10, Tastings at 10, 12 and 2p, The Scott Farm, 707 Kipling Rd, Dummerston 802 254-6868, scottfarmvermont.com A celebration of heirloom apples, fresh, baked and squeezed. Free tastings and history of Scott Farm’s 70 apple varieties with wonderful names such as Esopus Spitzenburg and Ananas Reinette. Apples will be on sale after the tastings. 3rd Annual Grape Stomp Oct. 9, 11:30-5p, Honora Winery Tasting Room Jacksonville, honorawinery.com It’s harvest time and what better way to celebrate than stompin’ grapes? Come on down and jump into a barrel full of grapes and give them your best STOMP! Listen and dance to music provided by CK Acoustics from 12-4p, grab a bite and enjoy some wine and hot apple cider! Children and the young at heart will all have a great time. Other activities include a pumpkin decorating station and hay pile jump. Dummerston’s Annual Apple Pie Festival Oct 9, 10:30-4p, Evening Star Grange Hall 1006 East-West Rd, Dummerston, 802 254-9158 Enjoy homemade apple pie-sold whole or by the piece, Vermont cheddar cheese, sweet apple cider, doughnuts made right on...

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Wine Observed
Sep08

Wine Observed

Wine Observed: Wines for Fall by Marty Ramsburg One of the wonderful thing about wines is that there are so many choices—from the light-bodied, crisp wines like Vinho Verde, Picpoul and a good, Provencal Rosé to full-bodied, sometimes tannic reds like Malbec, Grenache or Nebbiolo. A decision of what to open can be paralyzing in context of so many good choices. Fortunately, the calendar helps narrow our range. As we move from the long, warm days of summer, with its fresh, often acidic foods (berries, tomatoes) that pair beautifully with those more acidic, refreshing whites, we turn toward using the oven again, roasting and baking, creating meals that are heavier, denser, with flavors ranging from savory to sweet. These call for different wines. Whether a white drinker or a reds-only lover, there are wines of the season to enjoy. Here are our recommendations: Whites Chenin Blanc I do love Chenin Blanc from the Loire, and it is a perfect choice for many fall meals. It is grown in many areas, from the Loire Valley east of Paris to South Africa and California. Its high acidity makes it a candidate to be produced in a range of styles, from fully-dry and minerally (sec) to dessert  and honeyed (moelleux or doux) to sparkling. I love them all. The best known of the Loire Valley appellations for Chenin Blanc are Vouvray and Savennieres. The grape has aromas and flavors of pear, quince and honey. It has gorgeous acidity and great mineral notes on the finish. It has good body, which makes it an apt pairing for heavier fish (tuna, swordfish, even crab), white meats (pork or roasted chicken), or sweet potato or butternut squash soup. Its lively acidity lifts it on the finish and readies your palate for the next bite. This is a wonderful white to include at the Thanksgiving table, with its range of flavors from savory to sweet. Viognier Another rich white grape, Viognier, has a soft, round mouthfeel and, in the Northern Rhone from where it originates, very little acidity. It is a very aromatic wine, reminiscent honeysuckle, peonies, and apricot. Now produced around the world, including the US, Australia and Argentina, Viogniers from the New World tend to have more acidity though they still have less than many white varietals. A full-bodied white, Viognier can pair nicely with foods like lobster, baked brie topped with apricot or pear chutney, sweeter Indian curries, pork tenderloin, corn chowder or other hearty, creamy soups. Reds Pinot Noir Pinot Noir is such a perfect fall wine. It has fruit (usually cherry) and is earthy, but in a particularly fall way—dried leaves,...

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Art Lovers Alert
Sep08

Art Lovers Alert

Putney Crafts Tour, Thanksgiving weekend: Art Lovers Alert…Meet the Makers by Katherine P. Cox With more than 26 artists and craftspeople spread out over a 12-mile radius, The 33rd Annual Putney Craft Tour held during the Thanksgiving weekend is worth making a weekend out of it, suggests Ken Pick, who creates evocative functional and sculptural pottery and is one of the original members of the group that gathered to organize the first tour. Make it an experience, he said. “Experience the rural environment, meander the back roads, and take the tour in a leisurely fashion. You can’t do it all in one day. Spend at least a couple of days and enjoy the rich community of artists.” “There’s plenty to enjoy,” Pick said, with romantic B&Bs and dozens of fine restaurants throughout the region offering respite after a day touring the studios, meeting the artists and watching them at work. “Putney rocks,” said weaver Dina Gartenstein. “It’s got so much art and crafts to choose from and it’s high quality.” The annual craft open studio tour has helped put Putney and surrounding towns on the map, with hundreds of visitors moving through the studios over the course of three days and engaging with the artists, the real draw of such tours, as well as the distinctive, original pieces for sale. “They get to see how and where it’s made,” said Gartenstein, and visitors often develop a relationship with her. “I give them a lot of attention,” she said. She spends time helping them find the perfect scarf or shawl in the best color for them; demonstrates how to wear a shawl or tie a scarf. The artists gain a lot from the tour, as well. “It feeds me,” Gartenstein said, bringing her follow-up customers and attention to her school, the Vermont Weaving School. “My life energy goes into these pieces and my customers get that.” Josh Letourneau, a glass blower who has been part of the tour for 10 years, also enjoys the interaction with visitors to his studio. “Watching the reaction (to a glass blowing demonstration) from an individual for the first time is as rewarding as a commission,” he said. “More than half of my crowd comes to buy a piece, but a lot of people come back for Christmas gifts, hire me for commissions, or just grab a business card for a future birthday present or wedding gift. My traffic through the whole weekend is very friendly and appreciative of an interesting and hopefully educational glass demonstration.” One of his fondest memories, he said, “was when an educated glass artist in my studio was explaining the...

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Vermont’s Woodworkers
Sep08

Vermont’s Woodworkers

  Vermont’s Woodworkers Are Creating the Antiques of Tomorrow by Greg Worden “A quarter of a million dollars! That’s unbelievable! The table has been in the family for generations, but I never would have guessed that it would be worth so much!” Just another day in the saga of Antiques Roadshow, you say. But, in our current world throw-away consumerism, will there be any furniture that will endure and become an antique of tomorrow? The 30 skilled members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers are working to make sure that happens. And, although you won’t often find their work outside their studios except in their customers’ homes and offices, you have a chance to see some of their finest work at Vermont Artisan Designs in downtown Brattleboro through September 22. According to Guild president Johns Congdon of Charlotte, the Guild was started in the 1990s. “A group of us had heard of other guilds around the country and thought it would be a good idea for Vermont,” he said. “While not all professional furniture makers in Vermont belong to the Guild, we probably have the majority of them,” Congdon said, noting that Guild members may be found in all corners of the state. The idea of a guild is to promote the art form along with the furniture makers themselves. Since most of the makers work exclusively from their studios and do custom work, the Guild takes the role of a support group for these professional woodworkers. “The Guild gets us out and provides a sense of community. We get to share ideas and skills and marketing ideas,” according to member David Hurwitz. “The people are really open. It’s not a competitive thing. That’s unusual for a group like this,” he said. Hurwitz has been a member of the Guild for four years. Like many of the members, he studied to become a craftsman. “I went to the School for American Craftsmen at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) and got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in crafting wooden furniture. Our first year we had to build furniture using only hand tools.” That hooked Hurwitz on making furniture. After school he worked with architects and in millworking shops for awhile. He opened his first studio in 1993. Hurwitz enjoys making “big intensive pieces of furniture. I like to carve, exploring form, shaping and texture.” At the Vermont Artisan Designs show, he is displaying his carving ability with a walnut mirror and a Japanese style console table. Both Hurwitz and Congdon said that customers are becoming more aware of the environmental-friendly move toward the use of sustainable woods in...

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Jazz story sidebar
Sep08

Jazz story sidebar

A roundup of Southern Vermont Jazz destinations The Vermont Jazz Center is not the only source in the Green Mountain State for fans of the genre which the drummer Art Blakey said “washes away the dust of everyday life.” One of the important new jazz hubs in Vermont was founded two years ago and is located in the same building as the Vermont Jazz Center, the Cotton Mill in Brattleboro. With an emphasis on education and training, the Open Music Collective offers classes, workshops, faculty and student concerts and a monthly jazz jam on the second Sunday of every month. It also offers a week-long summer intensive jazz camp. Though the OMC reaches into other genres, it is rooted in the history and practice of jazz. Artistic Director Jamie MacDonald is a noted bassist and teacher in the tri-state area and had a 10-year connection with VJC as teacher and performer. He continues to play jazz with many people in the region, including the intriguingly named Jazz Demolition Project and teaches the Jazz Workshop at Brattleboro Union High School. Visit http://www.openmusiccollective.org. Illustration: Linda Marcille, Jazz Band, painting on silk, http://www.crowhousestudio.com   Travel from Brattleboro up Route 9 and into the mountains and you’ll find, for one week every summer anyway, the Jazz Vermont summer camp for grownups, which celebrated its 27th birthday this year with a session at Mount Snow‘s Grand Summit Resort in West Dover, featuring saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi as artist in residence. Visit http://www.jazzcamp.com. Following another picturesque road out of Brattleboro, a 10-mile jaunt up the West River Valley along Route 30 brings you to Rick’s Tavern in Newfane, which has for years hosted live jazz music on Thursday nights from 7 to 10 pm. Visit http://www.rickstavern.net. Longtime host of jazz at Rick’s is guitarist Draa Hobbs, one of southeastern Vermont’s true jazz treasures. A guitarist who was a student of VJC founder Attila Zoller, Hobbs honed his chops in countless small group settings and solo performances all over the area. Samples of his music can be found at http://www.draahobbs.com or on YouTube. New Orleans is the cradle of jazz, and a major influence on at least sources of jazz in Vermont. Singer Samirah Evans was a mainstay of New Orleans’ music scene for many years. When Hurricane Katrina struck, she relocated to her husband’s hometown of Brattleboro and began to build a musical career and a large following here. This year, she released a live CD, “Hot Club,” with her band, the Handsome Devils. She also began leading what she hopes will be monthly jam sessions titled Sam’s Set and Shed. Visit http://www.samirahevans.com. Honoring the Crescent...

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Jazz and Vermont
Sep08

Jazz and Vermont

Jazz and Vermont By Steve Noble They go together like maple syrup and New Mexico, right? Turns out, they fit together better than you think, and while Vermont will never be confused with Birdland, it is fertile ground for a lively and thriving jazz scene. You just have to know where to look. In southeastern Vermont, the jazz trail leads to the Cotton Mill building in Brattleboro, an old factory space, whose 145,000 square feet house studios and work spaces for artists, artisans, food purveyors and other creative small businesses. It is there, meandering up stairs and through hallways, that you’ll find the Vermont Jazz Center, a 36-year-old institution dedicated to teaching jazz and presenting high-caliber concerts.   Things are buzzing these days at the Vermont Jazz Center. Not only was there record enrollment for the VJC’s annual summer workshop, with more than 60 students of all ages signed up for a week-long jazz immersion camp, but it has just reeled in one of the jazz world’s biggest fish for its upcoming concert season.   Kenny Barron, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, will be coming to Brattleboro on Saturday, Oct. 15, to perform with his trio in the historic Latchis Theatre. One of the finest pianists in the jazz world, Barron cut his teeth perfoming with Dizzy Gillespie’s quartet in the 1960s and later collaborated with Stan Getz on several groundbreaking albums in the 1980s. As a bandleader, he has recorded more than 40 albums, topped countless critics’ polls and earned an unparalleled reputation for the expressiveness and range of his music. “This is a huge deal. Kenny Barron is one of my favorite piano players in the entire world,” said Vermont Jazz Center Artistic Director Eugene Uman, also a pianist, who studied for a time with Barron. “I always had a dream that I would present him in concert.” From his vantage point, Uman has a unique perspective on the jazz scene in Vermont. As a musician, teacher and administrator, he likes what sees of both the forest and the trees of the jazz world— fitting for a man who came to Vermont in the 1980s as a forestry specialist who did music on the side. At the time, it was hard to find kindred jazz spirits, he admits. Fortunately, that has changed. “I’ve seen jazz flourish in Vermont over the last 20-something years,” said Uman, who points to better jazz education in high schools and colleges as one reason. “The state of jazz in Vermont, at this point, is good, in terms of the fact that there are some really good musicians, and having...

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At the Museums
Sep08

At the Museums

At the Museums Bennington Center for the Arts 44 Gypsy Lane, Bennington benningtoncenterforthearts.org 802 442-7158 Thru Dec 18: Small Works Show with figurative, landscape, still-life’s and city-scapes. Thru Dec 18: The Laumeister Fine Art Competition, featuring artists from around the country, juried by Huihan Liu. Thru Dec 18: Impressions of New England, nationwide exhibit including images captured in paint and bronze. Bennington Museum 75 Main St, Rte. 9, Bennington 10a to 5p (Closed Wed) benningtonmuseum.org, 802 477-1571 Thru Oct 30: Grandma Moses and the ‘Primitive’ Tradition on view. Sep 6-Oct 16: 1863 Jane Stickle Quilt on view. The quilt is comprised of 169 five-inch blocks, each in different patterns, containing a remarkable total of 5,602 pieces surrounded by a unique scalloped border. Sep 30: Presentation by Brenda Papadakis to learn more about quilting, 6:30p. Oct 1-2: Quilting Workshops with Brenda Papadakis. Sep 24: Fifth Annual Southern Vermont Home Brew Festival, from noon-5p at the Old Bennington Brush Company, featuring homebrews from throughout New England. Oct 23: Sixth Annual Bridal Fair, 1-4:30p, come meet vendors and plan for your special day. Nov 26-Dec 31: Festival of Trees Celebration, featuring a community created exhibit of uniquely designed and decorated holiday trees each in a beautifully created vignette. Nov 26: Family and Children Holiday Shopping Day, featuring unusual gifts for all people on their gift list. Dec 3: Festival of Trees Annual Gala, 7-11p, with great food and drink, live music spirited auction and plenty of holiday season magic. Dec 17: Holiday Club Muse Dance Party, 8-11p, with themed holiday cocktails and “best of the fest” awards. Ongoing: The Bennington Museum Celebrating Vermont’s Heritage offers 11 galleries of permanent and changing exhibits and features the largest public collection of Grandma Moses paintings and Bennington Pottery in the world, fine and decorative arts, military artifacts, the 1924 Martin-Wasp touring car, and the Bennington Flag, one of the earliest ‘stars and stripes’ in existence.   Brattleboro Museum & Art Center 10 Vernon St, Brattleboro 11-5p (Closed Tue) brattleboromuseum.org, 802 257-0124 Thru Oct 23: Glass in All Senses, a kinesthetic investigation into the possibilities of glass. Thru Oct 23: Celebration of Paper, featuring works by Claire Van Vliet. Thru Oct 23: Dialogue, featuring works by Josh Bernbaum and Jackie Abrams. Thru Oct 23: Martina Lantin: Passage, a site-specific architectural installation made of hundreds of intricate ceramic rosettes. Thru Oct 23: Stephen Procter: Monumental Vessels, with decorative pots grand in scale. Thru Oct 23: Sewn Stories, featuring works by Salley Mavor. Thru Oct 23: Clemens Kalischer: Six Decades of Evocative Photographs of Marlboro Music. Thru Oct 23: The Spaces Between, featuring works by Karen Kamenetzky. Sep...

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Jud Hartmann sculptor
Sep07

Jud Hartmann sculptor

Jud Hartmann, sculptor “Burn like the sun and have the power of storms” by Joyce Marcel When the explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano reached the new world in 1524, he wrote to the King of France about the Indians he met: “These people are the most beautiful and have the most civil customs that we have found on this voyage. They are taller than we are; they are a bronze color, some tending more toward whiteness, others to a tawny color; the face is clear-cut; the hair is long and black, and they take great pains to decorate it; the eyes are black and alert, and their manner is sweet and gentle, very much like the manner of the ancients…. Their women are just as shapely and beautiful; very gracious, of attractive manner and pleasant appearance…” As settlers followed explorers, there was much more written description of the Northeastern Woodland tribes. But almost no visual representations. Sculptor Jud Hartmann, 63, who has galleries and studios in Grafton, Vermont and Blue Hill, Maine, is on a spiritual quest to capture the likenesses of these beautiful people. His dramatic, elegant and somewhat eerily lifelike bronzes depict Iroquois and Algonquin Indians fighting, playing lacrosse (they invented the game), hunting, fishing for salmon and riding on the water. So far, Hartmann has produced more than 50 Native American bronze sculptures in his The Woodland Tribes of the Northeast series. Because of the emphasis on Western Indians, his series represents the first and by far the most comprehensive exploration of eastern Native American peoples ever undertaken in bronze or any other medium. And it has certainly been one of the most successful. Hartmann says his sculptures have been sold in 45 of the 51 states and are in 15 foreign countries. “It was a dubious prospect when I started,” Hartmann said. “Would anyone have an interest in this? There was no way of knowing, because nobody had ever done this before. Fortunately, in 1983, three things happened to make it work. I discovered bronze, I opened the gallery in Grafton and I reconnected with the Indians. I knew right away this was what I was meant to do. Based on the reactions of people who come into the galleries, I think I’m doing OK.” Hartmann was fascinated with Indians as a child. Then he moved on. His degree from Hobart College was in American history. He never studied art. He only discovered that he was a sculptor when he was 22 and working as a lifeguard on the island of St. Croix. “I wanted to paint, but there wasn’t an art supply store on the...

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Readsboro
Sep07

Readsboro

Readsboro A Little Town with Big Dreams by Arlene Distler Located along the Deerfield River whose waters once powered factories making cardboard boxes and furniture, and tucked into the foothills of the Green Mountains, Readsboro still has the appearance of a mill town. Back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Readsboro was industrious and prospering. A postcard of the early 1900’s, captioned “Readsboro, Vt. In The Future” shows the downtown with a subway station and derrigibles flying overhead! But then came the interstate, built an hour west; and the Hoot Toot and Whistle (nick name for the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad) stopped running. Manufacturing either ceased or moved south. Over the decades things slowed down considerably. The factory that once employed many locals, the Readsboro Chair Shop, closed its doors in 1988. An end of an era, but, it turns out, the beginning of a new one. In recent years, perhaps owing to its affordability, being off-the-beaten-track (with the internet making that no longer a drawback) and the existence of MassMOCA practically on its doorstep, Readsboro has attracted a “critical mass” of artists and artisans of all stripes. Among the new arrivals were Bill LeQuier and Mary Angus. In 1983 LeQuier and Angus, who both work in glass, were looking for an inexpensive property in Vermont to make a home and set up a studio. A Chair Shop showroom, by that time showing only cobwebs and peeling paint, was going up on the auction block the very day they arrived in town. “We had ten minutes to look at it and make a bid,” Bill exclaimed, still incredulous that it has all worked out. They have their work in galleries across the country. And they make time to be involved in the workings of the town. Bill is a longtime volunteer firefighter and Mary is active in arts organizations. Debora Coombs, a stained-glass artist from Great Britain, came to the Readsboro area as a result of a commission from a North Adams stained glass company. She and her husband, Richard Criddle, a sculptor and head of installations at MassMOCA, settled in the hamlet of Heartwell-ville. Not long after, Coombs devised an afterschool computer program. Eventually it turned into “Arts Meets” in which artists invite the public to their studios for hands-on sessions (Criddle came up with the name, a take on “track meets”). Participants get to watch the artists’ process and try it themselves. This has proven to be very popular. LeQuier, Angus and Coombs are part of a small group that have formed “Readsboro Arts”, which spearheads various arts-related activities and projects in and around...

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