Guilford Holiday Open Studio celebrates 20th year

GUILFORD — 2019 marks a milestone for a group of artisans in Guilford as they celebrate the 20th annual Holiday Open Studio.

When Nancy Detra and Carol Schnabel started this event, they could not have imagined how it would evolve.

As they tell the story, that first year they were the only two participants, and they invited about 50 people. Many of those friends came, and the initial Open Studio was a big success.

After a few years, they decided to invite other artisans to join the group, and they also started to publicize more. The Open Studio soon morphed into a local holiday tradition, a time to catch up with friends and neighbors and start shopping for presents as well.

As the years have passed, there have been many different people and crafts represented: photography, jewelry, mosaics, sewing, quilting, woodcarving, pottery, soap-making, maple sugaring, glassblowing, puppets, painting, weaving, and more.

Among this year's participants is Nelly Detra, who grew up in Guilford and is now a professional weaver in northeastern Vermont.

Nancy Detra is her mother, and Nelly began her weaving training with Carol Schnabel. Her contributions to the sale will include woven dish towels and shoulder bags.

Hanna Jenkins is new to the sale this year. She is a farmer and florist at her family farm, Tapalou Guilds. She cultivates an acre of specialty cut flowers, which are sold through area retail outlets, the family's CSA, and special events.

She also dries a lot of her flowers for winter use. With these dried flowers and foraged treasures, she adorns nontraditional handwoven everlasting wreaths and other forms.

Returning again this year is John Dimick, a painter, teacher, runner, and coach. Since retiring from teaching, he has picked up his paintbrushes and is currently working in watercolors.

He paints with the Brush and Palette Painters in Brattleboro, belongs to the Saxtons River Art Guild, and is a signature member of the Vermont Watercolor Society. His work can be found at Vermont Artisan Designs in Brattleboro.

Susan Fenton is a graphic designer with myriad artistic talents. She will bring some new work this year, including small, painted furniture pieces. She will also bring her cards and book marks.

Nancy Detra surrounds herself with brushes, paints, and pencils and is a frequent participant in events and classes at the River Gallery School in Brattleboro. She is recently back from a painting (and eating!) trip to Tuscany, where she immersed herself in the stunning patchwork landscape and sketched the visitors to that region.

Carol Schnabel's studio is the site of the Holiday Open Studio. She has been in business as a weaver for almost 40 years and continues to enjoy the process of designing and creating new things for the body and home. She says it is a joy for her to welcome the community into her beautiful work space.

As always, there will be lots of delicious snacks to nibble.

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