Putney library displays work of incarcerated painter, poet

PUTNEY — In January and February, the Putney Public Library, 55 Main St., is displaying work by self-taught artist Jeffrey Reddick.

Reddick's Putney connection comes through a 10-year correspondence with Gordon Hayward.

In 1967, aged 16, Reddick and his five siblings experienced the violent death of their parents at their father's hand. In 1983, Reddick, by then an ex-Marine, was convicted for assault with a deadly weapon and has since been serving a life sentence at a medium security prison in North Carolina.

There he nurtured his own abilities and lifelong interest in drawing and painting. While in the prison library one day in 2009, he read a magazine article about a garden in New Hampshire that Hayward had designed. Reddick sent Hayward a letter and one of his “floral” paintings in an illustrated envelope (some of which are also on display).

With gardens, flowers, and writing in common, Reddick and Hayward have been corresponding over the last 10 years.

Reddick maintains pen-pal relationships with many gardeners across the country and shares his work with them. He was interviewed about his work by Stefan van Norden on the third episode of the podcast Nature Revisited.

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