Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Vermont artists all over the state open their studios and shops a couple of times a year, and it is great fun to pick an area and see what’s being created. Today friends and I focused on works of glass, going to a group shop in Bellows Falls, and then on to this gallery and studio in Townshend. Robert DuGrenier is of international stature, and has been blowing glass for close to 50 years. We started off wandering the lawns and gardens – there were artworks everywhere! Including, of course, the above sign.

Of course we had to go see the artist at work – it looks like the heat from the studio has blistered the paint on the sign over the door!

Robert and his assistant were working on a planet for a commissioned chandelier. I wouldn’t do well with that heat. This is about mid-way through the process of adding layers and textures and bubbles; it had incredible depth. We stayed until it went in the annealing oven, then went in the house where there are about five rooms of gallery space. The most impressive were a series (titled Out of the Ashes) of pieces built on steel implements rescued after his barn burned several years ago. 

I like the impracticality, improbability and irony of glass hammer handles!

There were also utilitarian pieces, which you can see on line ( goblets and glasses, Christmas ornaments and paper weights, hummingbird feeders, vases, etc. but I tried to focus on the out-of-the-ordinary. If you pass through central Vermont, the shop is open most days, and blowing of glass happens on a regular schedule. We were all really glad we made the effort to visit.

Roadtrek Roadtrip: Shidoni Sculpture Park

Saturday, November 27: Two carloads of us headed off to Shidoni. This compound includes a sculpture park, a gallery, a glass studio and shop, the foundry out back, and an interactive museum (closed today). It’s been years since I’ve been able to wander here – it’s been closed the last couple of times I’ve been to Santa Fe. Outdoors, sculpture is spread over several acres.

Here are some of the sculptures that caught my eye this time:

And then there was this natural sculpture in the tree –

Then it was home for a while, for food and naps and recuperation. In the evening some of us took the long way to pick up pizza – going around downtown to see the lights. The Plaza lights are something you’d see in any over the top decoration, going for density rather than style; what makes the Southwest special is their farolitos (luminaria). These are plastic, now, except when people put the old style paper bag with candle inside ones out on Christmas Eve.