Putney Craft Tour offers art, food, and more

Putney Craft Tour offers art, food, and more

The oldest continuous craft tour in the country lets visitors meet the artists in the setting where it all happens

PUTNEY — From gourd art, to award-winning handcrafted cheese and wine, to farm art, twisted glass, pottery, jewelry, and turned wooden bowls and more, the 22 working studios on Putney's artisan trail offer fine art and craft as well as the quirky and unusual.

The 41st annual Putney Craft Tour (Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is the oldest continuous craft tour in the country and offers visitors a chance to meet the artists in the setting where it all happens.

The tour includes wine and cheese tastings and demos. Visitors can start at The Gleanery, 133 Main St., for information, maps, and a preview exhibition of artisans' works.

More information can be found at putneycrafts.com, where you can also download a map.

Meet the award-winners

• This year, the tour celebrates Parish Hill Creamery of Westminster (#14), which will offer tastings.

Parish Hill was among seven Vermont cheesemakers that took home a collective 19 medals at this fall's World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy.

The company took bronze for its Humble and Idyll cheeses.

Parish Hill also earned gold at the American Cheese Society 2019 Conference and Competition for Reverie and Kashar, and silver for its Suffolk Punch.

Earlier in September, it also received the Slow Cheese Award at the Slow Food Cheese 2019: Natural is Possible festival in Bra, Italy.

• In its first foray outside Vermont, Putney Mountain Winery's Vermont Cassis received Double Gold and Best in Show for liqueurs in the 2019 New York World Spirits competition.

Vermont Cassis is a black currant liqueur with touches of blueberry and raspberry. The winery will offer tastings of a variety of its wines, liqueurs, and ciders.

• Stained-glass artisan Julia Brandis (#20) and her husband have spent the past four years building a new, light-filled studio with wood cut and milled right on their land.

• Award-winning handcrafted furniture maker Peter Maynard recently received his first international commission, a New World Bi-fold Book/Display Case in quarter sawn oak with hand blown leaded glass doors - the piece now is at home in Australia.

He also won Best in Wood Furniture in the Art, Craft, and Design Exhibition at the 86th Annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Fair at Sunapee this August. His wife, Marcie Maynard, is an artist whose work includes oil paintings, pastels, and monotype prints. The two enjoy adjacent studios: #8 and #9.

Dena Gartenstein Moses (#10) is known for her colorful, visually stunning, handwoven wearables: shawls, scarves, and hats lined in polar fleece. In addition to her Vermont Weaving School, Gartenstein Moses is just starting a new company, Vermont Weaving Supplies (vermontweavingsupplies.com).

The Green Mountain Spinnery (#6) formed in 1981, when a small group of local fiber enthusiasts assembled antique equipment gathered from abandoned mills around New England.

They transformed a former gas station into a working mill and yarn shop that you can visit as part of the tour. Browse their yarns, patterns, and samples in this worker-owned cooperative.


Robert Burch (#1) is an entertainer and glassblower - he's been working in the medium for more than 30 years - and his studio is alive with demos all weekend long. He's also a teacher and offers lessons.

• Robert Burch's daughter, Caitlin Burch, works in two related fields: offhand blown glass and lamp-worked glass. Her father had always talked to her about “dancing with the glass and living with it,” and she says that she finally understands what he meant; this dance is now part of everything she does and loves. You might catch her demonstrating in studio #4.

Josh Letourneau of Westminster (#15) also has a connection with Robert Burch, whom he met after college and began apprenticing with on furnace work. Letourneau's work ranges from colorful tumblers and steins to lamp-worked pendants and beads.


• For Ryan Burch (#2), creating pottery and working with his hands has always seemed to be the most sensible and natural contribution he can make to the world. His pottery studio (#2) is across the driveway from his father's glass studio.

Ken Pick (#11) makes colorful functional stoneware pottery in an old tobacco barn surrounded by ceramic sculptures, flower gardens, and fields. (He's also known for putting out great snacks and cider.)

• When asked to describe her creative process, painter and potter Fiona Morehouse of Alchemy Arts (#12) said, “I imagine in vibrant colors, candid lines, and fertile textures. I see myself recreating those landscapes on canvas and with clay.”

• Potter David Mischke says he's been making and selling pottery since the early 1970s. The pots, meant to be used and enjoyed daily, range from humble mugs to elaborately decorated vessels. Mischke's studio is #13 on the tour.


• Landscape painter Nancy Calicchio's muse is the Vermont landscape. Calicchio's studio (#16) in Westminster West offers a fun opportunity for visitors young and old to participate and engage with art.

• Oil painter and photographer Deborah Lazar (#7) says her paintings evolve like a photograph in a developing tray. The image takes form gradually. She usually bakes special treats for tourgoers.

• Artist Judy Hawkins also is inspired by the Vermont landscape, especially in her interpretations of the mood and feeling of weather, skies, and water. Her colors are bold with gestural brushstrokes and fine detail.

Tom Goldschmid (#16) makes his specialty, turned wooden bowls, from his studio in Saxtons River. He draws inspiration from walking and observing the natural forms that surround us in the hardwood forest near his home.

• New on the tour this year is Jeanette Staley (#21), who creates commissioned floor cloths for the home. She also paints small studies inspired by the Vermont culture and agrarian lifestyle.

And more...

Jeanne Bennett makes jewelry from her “woman cave” (#18).

• Photographer Pamela Simmons, walloped by a physical injury and recovering at home, discovered an outlet in photography. Part of her healing saw her commit her time and talents at a mule and donkey rescue in New Hampshire.

Now, she devotes a portion of her sales to this effort as a way of “paying it forward.” She says she also hopes to bring more awareness about physical and emotional disabilities that can be “invisible” battles for so many. Her studio is #3.

• Rounding out the tour is Kim Grall (#22), who fashions art from gourds. She describes herself as a multimedia artist with a background in painting, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, photography, music, and more. All of these pursuits find their way to her gourds and are supported by the many materials she finds growing on her property in Westminster Station.

• Consider stopping at the Westminster West Congregational Church for a “soup sale” fundraiser to help support families in need. The hearty and internationally inspired soups will be accompanied by brownies, cookies, and all kinds of sweets. The sale takes place Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Special performances

For the past four years, craft tour organizers have been partnering with Sandglass Theatre and Next Stage Arts Project to put on special performances at night.

“We're promoting it as Putney Craft Tour's Craft, Culinary and Performance Weekend. People love it,” says Ken Pick, one of the founders of the tour.

• On Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music will feature contemporary folk/singer/songwriters Antje Duvekot and Matt Nakoa. For tickets: nextstagearts.org.

Sandglass Theater will be offering a piece about belonging, memory and intergenerational dialogue. “When I Put on Your Glove,” performed and created by Shoshana Bass, explores a daughter's relationship with her father's work and how an art form endures and transforms as it is handed to the next generation.

The show runs Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29 and 30, at 7:30 p.m. at the theater at 17 Kimball Hill, Putney. For tickets, visit sandglasstheater.org.

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