Samples of art by Brandon artists, that can be viewed during Open Studio Weekend: Planter by Susan Smith-Hunter; “Barn Door Topiary Farm” quilt by Judith Reilly.
May 23-24 — BRANDON — Brandon, Vt. has been known as a community for visual arts since the start of the Brandon Artists Guild, which brought into town fine artists and skilled craftspeople as well as new cultural venues. Every year, as Memorial Day approaches, the Guild serves as an official hub for what is now a tradition: The Vermont Craft Council (VCC)’s statewide Open Studio Weekend, this year Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24. Fifty-five artists are represented at the Guild itself; the current featured show is acrylic paintings by Jackee Foley, who will be present much of the weekend.
The official statewide maps as well as local maps are available for weeks ahead at the Guild on Center Street, and during the Memorial Day weekend, 10 venues (artist studios) will be open for visitors all day.
Exciting news is that Robin Kent is opening her studio; she says it’s been a few years since hosting Open Studio, and this time she’ll be working on wood assemblages in preparation for the Brandon Artists Guild’s four-person show in June, “The Art of the Flag.” Likewise, it’s been some time since stained-glass artist Laura Rideout has participated. Her studio, in the past, has been immensely popular. Rideout delights in explaining her methods and inspirational sources – such as how her well-known Cloud pieces result from childhood experiences.
Also walkable from Brandon downtown, are five other venues: The Judith Reilly Gallery opens for the season on May 23, unveiling a series of new works. She will be debuting a collection of hooked rugs (“Woodstock Collection”) designed for Chandler 4 Corners. Patty Sgrecci’s, Granary Building studio is a special treasure-house of fascinating materials used to make her decorative mobiles and wall art. While in the Granary, collectors can explore the old-world millinery studios of Nora Swan and Sam Stone, and watch felt being processed for use in trendy hats.
Near the Granary, Susan Smith-Hunter says she’ll have new expressive planters, and “cats both ceramic and furry.” Her stoneware pieces are hand-built, one-of-a-kind and often can serve as garden sculptures. Open Studios for mixed-media artist Joan Curtis will preview her show at Castleton Downtown Gallery in Rutland, coming up in June/July: sculptures, paintings, and drawings.
At a country site, Fran Bull invites visitors to see work in progress, notably a new group of sculptures just begun. Her paintings and etchings are also on display. All are welcome to stroll the beautiful walking paths around this this gallery/studio site. On Lovers Lane, also a bit north of town, at Jill Listzwan’s studio, her unusual whimsical folk-art jewelry is on view: mixed-media design originals, on a polyresin-based material.
Judith Reilly, a VCC board member, tells of three Addison County studio venues in Orwell: Stacey Stanhope Dundon, functional pottery and paintings; Andy Snyder of Mud Puppy Pottery demonstrating items that are functional, artistic, and fun; and functional blown glass by John Chiles, who says “Blow-your-own glass ornament!”
The visiting times for Open Studio Weekend, are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24.