Behind the Bylines

Behind the Bylines Joyce Marcel, a frequent contributor to these pages and the writer of “Brattleboro Bling,” page 34, arched an eyebrow when given the assignment to write about the role of jewelry in the life, arts, and economy of Brattleboro. But she came back from the assignment duly impressed. “From mastodon bones to diamonds, it all seems to be happening in Brattleboro,” she writes. “I’d like a diamond tiara, myself.” Marcel also was duly impressed with the, shall we say, nontraditional uses of maple syrup that she reported on in this issue’s Vermont Food and Wine section (page 40). Allison Teague (“Artists as Vermonters, Vermonters as Artists,” page 22) writes from Southern Vermont for a number of publications and is no stranger to the life of an artist: Her father, R. Lewis Teague, was an abstract expressionist second-generation New York School painter, and she also is a painter and a sculptor. In 2012, she curated a retrospective of the industrial design of her grandfather, Walter Dorwin Teague, for the Madisonian Museum of Industrial Design in Waitsfield. Katherine P. Cox (“Say Bake to the Cake,” page 32) is one of our regular contributors. A former writer and editor at the Keene Sentinel in Keene, N.H., her work has appeared in Vermont’s Local Banquet, Monadnock Table, and Here in Hanover. Marty Ramsburg (Wine Observed, page 44) co-owns Windham Wines in Brattleboro (windhamwines.com). The shop has just moved to Putney Road. Thelma O’Brien has enjoyed a long newspaper career as a dogged reporter who loves writing about food, thus casting her in the perfect role to track down information about maple syrup for the stories in this issue (Local Flavor, page 40). O’Brien currently contributes news and features to The Commons.  Jeff Potter, who by day edits The Commons, an award-winning, nonprofit community newspaper based in Brattleboro, is proud to design this magazine and contribute some editorial support. Potter (shown here in the cluttered newsroom with advertising designer Jessica LaPatta taste-tasting maple syrup for “It’s a Tough Job, but Somebody Had to Do It,” page 42) has been working in and around newspapers, magazines, and high-end graphic design studios for just shy of 30 years. He joins his colleagues at The Commons in supporting publisher Lynn Barrett in shepherding this wonderful community resource into print and online....

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Spotlight: Hot Pot

A new exhibition from Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, “Hot Pot” will explore contemporary artistic expression in China. A hot pot is a communal dish of many ingredients in which each retains its distinctive flavors and textures. An integral part of Chinese culture for over 1,000 years, the hot pot serves as a metaphor. The volume and diversity of art being produced in China today is enormous and in many ways resistant to categorization. The exhibition explores three themes: image and identity, environment and politics, and reinterpreting artistic traditions. “Hot Pot” will feature more than 100 works in all media by two dozen artists, filling the museum’s six galleries and sculpture...

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About the cover

The watercolor “In the Embrace of the Osier” (13 x 14) “reflects my bottomless affection for birds,” says cover artist Susan Bull Riley (www.susanbullriley.com) of Montpelier. The piece is for sale at the Luxton-Jones Gallery in Shelburne, which offers Riley’s work in watercolor and oil. Riley’s work can also be found at the Visions of Vermont gallery in Jeffersonville. Her next exhibit as the featured artist will take place in March at the Artist in Residence gallery in Enosburg Falls, with a reception on Sunday, March 3 at 1p. This summer, she will exhibit her work at the Adamant Music School (www.adamant.org) in...

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SPOTLIGHT: Charlie Hunter’s Sugaring Season Paint Out

Sugaring season is a special time, and Charlie Hunter invites you to join a hardy crew of adventurous artists for an unforgettable five days of painting outdoors during one of Vermont’s most unpredictable seasons. Each day, the group will meet for coffee and an array of alarmingly calorie-laden pastries, then head out to one or another of Hunter’s favorite painting spots — a sugaring operation, a working farm in Grafton, to the industrial village of Bellows Falls — and then engage in a late afternoon critique session. Hunter also offers more formal demonstrations of his distinctive painting technique and time is devoted to working one-one-one with artists who wish to explore particular areas of interest. Those participating will head out from the Grafton Inn each day, returning each evening to discuss the day’s work and challenges, to socialize, to learn from one another. Patrons can sign up for just one to all five days, with or without lodging and meals. Lunch and dinner are provided each...

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SPOTLIGHT: RAMP art auction

The Rockingham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP) Art Auction and Raffle is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with artists and friends: with the suspense of bidding for great art for a good cause. More than 60 regional artists and performers contribute their time and artworks for this 11th annual benefit, including Charlie Hunter, Steve Procter, Natalie Blake, Phyllis Rosser, Chris Sherwin, and Robert McBride. Proceeds benefit the work of RAMP, a nonprofit that is dedicated to “revitalizing the community by developing awareness of the arts, creating vitality in the community with the arts, and demonstrating that the arts favorably impact the local economy,” according to its founder Robert McBride. You can purchase tickets in advance or at the door: $25 each or five for $100. Artists reception on Sunday, April 7 from 2-4p. View the work during BF3F on Friday April 19,...

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Brattleboro Bling: A southern Vermont town becomes a retail destination for all sorts of jewelry — an art form of universal appeal — from handcrafted original designs to antiques

Brattleboro Bling A southern Vermont town becomes a retail destination for all sorts of jewelry — an art form of universal appeal — from handcrafted original designs to antiques By Joyce Marcel Last August, when goldsmith and platinumsmith David Walter opened his elegant retail showroom on Main Street, a concept that had been flying under the radar for a significant amount of time became unavoidable: Brattleboro has become a jewelry hub. Diamonds may be the town’s best friend, but the quality — and variety — of jewelry in Brattleboro is remarkable. There are diamonds galore, of course, both in contemporary styles and sparkling out of antique estate jewelry. There are precious stones and pearls imported from all over the world and turned into jewelry by experienced Brattleboro jewelers. Then there are unique, handcrafted pieces — works of art — made by local artists. “There’s a buzz on Brattleboro,” said Suzanne Corsano, co-owner of Gallery in the Woods. “There should be, shouldn’t there? People come in here and say, ‘What’s going on here? What’s this place about?’ I hear a lot of, ‘I’m going to move here.’ And some of the people who live here now are some of those people. And they’re always shopping.” Customers might live locally, but many drive in from New York and from all over New England. And they don’t fit one easy profile. Read full piece...

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SPOTLIGHT: River Gallery School auction

The annual benefit auction supports the programs and scholarships of the River Gallery School, which has offered art classes, studio space, and a creative community since 1976. For $20 admission at the door, you get delicious appetizers, lively music, coffee, dessert, and a paddle number that lets you bid on fabulous items donated by local artists, craftspeople, businesses, restaurants, students, and friends of the school. A cash bar will be...

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WEDDINGS: Wedding profile: Michaela and Zach

Wedding profile: Michaela and Zach Theme. Earthy elegance. We wanted a wedding that reflected who we are and also the natural beauty of Southern Vermont. Our wedding was very DIY. We made all of the decorations by hand, including pinwheels and birchbark candle holders. We also printed all of our invitations with a handmade letterpress. Zach designed the invitation and drew the sketch of the knot. My mom baked gluten-free carrot cakes, and one of my best friends decorated the cake to look like birch bark. We tried to tie in all of the elements in our ceremony, which is how I came up with the idea for the pinwheels…they provide a way for us to appreciate wind. Apparently all of the pinwheels started to spin like crazy at our ceremony when we had our first kiss. Why Southern Vermont? We wanted to be married in Marlboro because we both graduated from Marlboro College and feel strong ties to the area. We were married at our professors’ house in Marlboro in a beautiful and intimate ceremony. We chose the White House Inn in Wilmington for our reception, both because of its proximity to Marlboro, and because of how impressed we were with the accommodations and staff. Something borrowed? My Mom’s pearl earrings. Something new? My shoes: sparkly gold Toms shoes from the company’s wedding collection. Something blue? A garter that Zach actually ended up wearing. We decided to mix up the tradition a little bit. Reception. We had Samirah Evans come and play for us with her Handsome Devils. It was amazing, and they provided us with a wonderful dance party. Our flowers were done by Carie Kowalski, a wonderful florist from Marlboro whose work reflected my style of earthy and...

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Spotlight: Stone walls

What is more quintessentially Vermont than a stone wall? In this two-day outdoor workshop from the nonprofit Stone Trust, expert workshop leaders Travis Callahan and Chuck Eblacker will guide students in continuing the restoration of a beautiful wall across from the Dutton Farm House in Dummerston. Learn the structural techniques involved in building and rebuilding stone walls with no mortar so you can work on your own projects, or so you can simply admire and appreciate proper walling techniques of this traditional...

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WEDDINGS: Say Bake to the Cake: Some regional pros give inside advice to help you plan one of the most visible parts of your ceremony

WEDDINGS Say Bake to the Cake Some regional pros give inside advice to help you plan one of the most visible parts of your ceremony By Katherine Cox Every couple wants to put their personal touch on their special day, whether it’s the venue, the vows, the theme, or the cake. Yes, the cake. The cake is one area that a couple can truly display their personalities and interests. On display at the reception, the cake can speak volumes about the bride and groom. “Most of the time, the wedding cake is a showpiece,” says Irene Marston of Irene’s Cakes by Design in Ludlow. There are endless varieties of cakes and designs to sift through, and wedding cake makers suggest the first place to go is the Internet. There, couples can explore photos of cakes and learn more about specific bakers so that when they meet, they can discuss options and narrow down their decisions. “We tell couples to go with the design they like, then we can make the cake fit their budget and theme,” said Ronna Gendron of Ronna Gendron Cakes in Alstead, N.H. “I have some couples who know exactly what they want: the look, the flavoring. Others have no idea.” Gendron’s specialty is “the artistic part”: making flowers and figurines from edible gum paste, a malleable dough that dries rigidly. “I love getting creative with flowers,” she says. Design elements can range from real flowers to edible flowers, casual or elegant, and lifestyle themes writ large in sugar. Gendron especially likes clients who want their special interests incorporated into the cake design. “I love it when they get unique and personal,” she says — that allows her to work more creatively. For one couple from New York, Gendron made a huge cake to resemble an apartment building. Another couple whose dogs were a big part of their lives had chocolate paw prints all over the white cake. Yet another couple who were getting married on a ship chose a life-preserver motif. “They also felt like they were saving each other,” Gendron says. Timing is crucial Even if a couple has no fixed idea of what they want their wedding cake to say about them, bakers in the region urge brides and grooms to think about whom they want to make their cake and to do so as soon as they have a date. “The sooner, the better,” says Dave Kelly of Sticky Fingers Bakery of Dover. Timing is crucial, especially if it’s a busy season for weddings, so Gendron suggests that couples book early. Four to six months is the typical lead time for most...

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Save the date for a sweet weekend

Plan to visit the 15th Annual Whitingham Maple Festival on Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24 to learn about the life and lore of making maple syrup — sugaring, as it’s known — and its historical importance in this small town (the birthplace of Mormon church icon Brigham Young). The town also hosts a craft fair and pancake breakfasts/luncheons on both days, and a sugar-on-snow supper on Saturday evening. That’s just one of the maple-related events taking place on Vermont’s Annual Maple Open House Weekend, which offers an opportunity to visit one or more sugarhouses throughout the state. We suggest you call first. Participating sugarhouses in Southern Vermont: • Evans Maple Farm, 61 Spaulding Hill Rd, E. Dummerston (802-257-0262, http://www.evansmaplefarm.com). • Green Mountain Sugar House, 820 Rte 100N, Ludlow (802-228-7151, http://www.gmsh.com). • Hidden Springs Maple, 162 Westminster West Rd, Putney (1-888-889-8781, http://www.hiddenspringsmaple.com). • Havoc Hill Sugarhouse, 190 Havoc Hill, East Dorset (802-362-4136, havochil@myfairpoint.net). • Jim and Josie’s Maple Syrup, 1055 Vt Route 11, Londonderry (802-824-3295, windrows@sover.net). • Mitch’s Maple, 2440 Green Mtn Turnpike, Chester (802-228-5242, cpmit@tds.net). • Robb Family Farm, 822 Ames Hill Rd, Brattleboro (802-258-9087, http://www.robbfamilyfarm.com). • Smith Family Maple, 327 Atcherson Hollow Rd, Cambridgeport (802-869-2417, smithfamilymaple@hotmail.com). • Sweet Maple Alpaca Farm, LLC, 154 River Rd, Westminster (802-376-9846 or 802-380-0750, http://www.sweetmaplealpacas.com). • The Corse Farm, 773 Corse Rd, Whitingham (802-368-2420, thecorsefarm@myfairpoint.net). • Wood’s Cider Mill & Sugar House (1482 Weathersfield Center Rd, Springfield, 802-263-5547,...

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SIDEBAR: Bringing yourself to the bling

Bob Borter has been making jewelry in Brattleboro since 1984. (Lynn Barrett) Bringing yourself to the bling Following is contact information for the artisans and businesses listed in this piece. • DK Walter: 81 Main Street, Brattleboro; 802-722-9620; davidwalterjewelry.com. Tues.–Sat. 10–6. • Gallery in the Woods: 145 Main St., Brattleboro; 802-257-4777; galleryinthewoods.com. Mon.–Sat. 11–5:30, Sun. 12–5. • Renaissance Fine Jewelry: 151 Main St., Brattleboro; 802-251-0600; vermontjewel.com. Mon.–Sat. 10–5:30, Sun. 11–4. • Borter’s Jewelry Studio: 103 Main St., 2nd floor, Brattleboro; 802-254-3452; bortersjewelry.com. Tues.–Fri. noon–5:30. Additional hours by appointment. • Evan James Ltd.: 48 Main St., Brattleboro; 800-382-6583; evanjames.com. Mon.–Thurs. 10–5:30, Fri. 10–6, Sat. 10–5. • Adivasi: 8 Flat St., Brattleboro; 802-258-2231; adivasi.com. Mon.–Sat. 10:30–6:30, Sun. 11–4. • Verde: 133 Main St., Brattleboro; 802-258-3908; verdeforgardenandhome.com. Mon.–Thurs. 9:30–6, Fri. 9:30–7, Sat. 9:30–6, Sun. 11–5. • Boomerang: 12 Elliot St, Brattleboro; 802-257-6911; boomerangvermont.com. Mon.–Thurs., Sat. 10–6, Fri. 10–7, Sun. 10–5. • Penelope Wurr Fine Contemporary Glass: 167 Main St., Brattleboro, 802-246-3015; penelopewurr.com. Mon.–Sat. 10–6, Sun. 11–5. • Silver Moon Adornments: 29 High St., Brattleboro; 802-254-9600; silvermoonvt.com. Tues.–Sat. 10:30–6. • Altiplano: 42 Elliot St., Brattleboro; 802-257-1562; altiplano.com. Mon.–Sat. 10-6, Sun. 11-5. • Malisun Jewelry and Thai Imports: 44 Harmony Place, Brattleboro; 802-258-1124. Sun. and Mon., 10-4; Wed.-Sat. 10-6. • Delectable Mountain Cloth: 125 Main St., Brattleboro; 802-257-4456; delectablemountain.com. Mon.–Thurs., Sat 10–5, Fri. 10–6:30, Sun. 1–5. • Brilliance: 56 Elliot St., Brattleboro; 802-254-4460; brilliancebest.com. Mon.–Sat. 9:30–6, Sun. 11–5. • Vermont Artisan Designs: 106 Main St., Brattleboro; 802-257-7044; vtart.com. Mon.–Thurs., Sat. 10–6, Friday 10–8, Sunday...

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