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Meet the artist Barbara McKenna at the Birch Ridge Inn

Meeting the artist Barbara McKenna at the Birch Ridge Inn
By Susan Wacker-Donle, Killington Arts Guild
On Thursday, Oct. 24, Bill Vines and Mary Furlong, Inn Keepers of The Birch Ridge Inn hosted KAG "Meet the Artist" series showcasing Vermont craftswomen Barbara McKenna.
Barbara exhibited her custom designed handcrafted wool hooked rugs in the warm, cozy setting of the Inn's Great Room. During the presentation, attendees were treated to a fabulous baked brie én crôute with a smoked cheese fruit platter and cranberry salsa dip with chips.
After a brief introduction, guests were given the opportunity to try their hand at hooking a rug with their own hooped sampler as Barbara demonstrated the craft from hand drawn start to final whipstitch finish. Participants left with a better understanding of this time-honored tradition developing a greater appreciation for the technical skill involved.
About the work: Barbara's tapestry like rugs embrace a wonderful sense of color with world-class execution depicting classic Vermont culture. One featured rug, titled "Sugaring" illustrates maple sugar harvesting in graphic, decorative detail. "Winter Doe" is a beautiful wooded scene bordered by colorful American Indian inspired motifs. Prices range from $80 for the "Apple Tree" pillow to $900 for the larger, more intricate area rugs.
About the artist: Barbara McKenna has been a local Vermont resident for 42 years, spending 23 years in Wallingford and the last 19 in Rutland. She attended Moore College of Art in Pennsylvania and New York's Parson's School of Design majoring in Fashion Illustration. After college, Barbara worked as a colorist for the high-end Manhattan based interior design company Greef Fabrics.
Upon meeting her husband, Larry, McKenna moved to Vermont to ski and raise a family. When her two sons were "old enough not to mess with my stuff," she began painting tiny doll house furniture replicating the look and feel of real antiques as well as creating wooden people and farm animals.
Barbara progressed to painting Vermont scenes on wood, designing pillows, baby blankets, quilts and hooked rugs. Her creations have been exhibited at the Center Street Arts Gallery and Arts and Antiques in Rutland, The Woodstock Arts Gallery, and the Killington Arts Guild Gallery where she currently has her work for sale. The evening ended with a delicious dinner in The Birch Ridge dining room.
"Meet the Artist" is an ongoing artistic series put on by the KAG. The focus of the event is to connect and share the creative process with members and the public through hands-on education and heart-driven inspiration.
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