State of Craft Exhibits

State of Craft Exhibits   At the Bennington Museum through October 31, the anchor show for a year-long celebration of the studio-crafts movement in Vermont brings together work from outstanding artisans from throughout the state. The show’s goal is “To document, preserve and interpret” the last fifty years of craft in the state, a time when crafts went from industrial production or a leisure time activity, to intensive, creative production carried out by an individual or small group of individuals in a studio environment. The history is told in “big picture” statements on one wall of each room, and subordinate, more detailed and specific texts are placed next to each piece as context. Succinct and clear, the text elucidates three major aspects of the craft movement: “Living By Making” “Communities/Connections” and “Inspirations.” Often a particular artisan or craftwork straddles more than one category and happily the organizers let overlap happen and don’t fudge the finer points. The show is lovingly and thoughtfully mounted and covers glass, pottery, fabric, metalwork and...

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State of Craft Schedule

2010 State of Craft series events take place across the state. For more information, visit stateofcraft.org   Sept 1-30: Pioneers of the Studio Craft Movement, showcase of crafts by earlyexhibitors—pottery, weaving and glass art, Vermont Artisan Designs & Gallery 2, Brattleboro, 802 257-2044, buyvermontart.com. Sept 1-Oct 30: The Land, The Art, The Artist, exhibit exploring the inspiration of the area’s craftspeople,Gallery at the VAULT, Springfield, 802 885-7111, galleryvault.org. Sept 12-26:The Artisans Hand, Then and Now, retrospective exhibit of past and presentmembers, Artisans Hand, Montpelier, 802 229-9492, artisanshand.com. Oct 1-31:Living Vermont Treasures: Danforth Pewter, collective, at The Art of Craft, Woodstock, 802 457-1298, collective-theartofcraft.com. Oct. 1: History and Future Craft in Vermont, at Vermont Artisan Designs &Gallery 2, Brattleboro, 802 257-7044, buyvermontart.com. Nov. 26-28: 32nd Annual Putney Craft Tour, featuring 26 craftspeople, Putney,802 387-4032, putneycrafts.com....

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State of Craft
Sep01

State of Craft

State of Craft The Artisans Speak by Arlene Distler Intrigued by the beautiful objects on display at the Bennington  Museum’s State of Craft show, I set out to visit the makers of those objects on their home turf—their studios. State of Craft The Artisans Speak by Arlene Distler Intrigued by the beautiful objects on display at the Bennington  Museum’s State of Craft show, I set out to visit the makers of those objects on their home turf—their studios. I head first to Marlboro, a small town about 8 miles west of Brattleboro that has a concentration of erudite and creative types out of proportion to its size, due mainly to the presence of liberal arts Marlboro College. I arrive at the workshop of Michelle and David Holzapfel and Applewoods studio. For this couple, involved in their craft since the 70s, it’s all about wood—native hardwoods, to be exact. “We use all local wood,” David explains. “We have a great working relationship with local loggers. I buy whole trees, and they give us what they can’t use because it is too large in diameter for the lumber mill or because it might have metal in it that would damage their machinery.” He and Michelle pointed out one particular slab that had bullet holes. Another had stains from maple syrup taps. They take advantage of such “impurities,” says David, to give character to their pieces. “It’s part of the tree’s life.” David’s work uses a reductive technique––lengthwise slabs of tree are cut using a two-person 6-foot long saw. These pieces often end up as tabletops, but, says David, “People who buy my furniture recognize it’s not just something to hold up a plate.” The slabs dry for a minimum of five years, stacked in a barn near the house. In one corner of the barn is a large collection of drying burls (knot-like outgrowths on trees) the basis for much of Michelle Holzapfel’s work. Michelle’s pieces are quirky but beautifully rendered sculptures which she uncovers, “like archeology,” going into the burls first with a lathe, then with carving tools. Some of her sculptures are wry statements on “women’s work,” such as the Bennington show’s “Baby Blocks,” which replicates in wood the sewing of a quilt with an ingenious combination of artifact (hoop, needle, thimble) and sculpted wood. “These are forms I’ve had in my hands since I was a girl growing up in a large traditional household in a very rural area. We were expected to know how to do things.” Holzapfel says the pieces convey a tension between the ephemeral nature of women’s work and the longevity of art inherent...

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