Big and Small Outdoor Sculpture Sites for Spring Open Studio 2017

Visit Seven Diverse Sculpture Parks and Gardens During May 27 & 28

by Martha Fitch

People who appreciate sculpture have a treat waiting for them this Spring Open Studio Weekend. There are seven sculpture sites that offer a range of materials, and artist visions. Four are located in Chittenden County, with one in Addison and one in Rutland County and one in Washington County.

Start in Jericho in the middle of the tour that combines the Spring Open Studio and Jericho-Underhill. Chris Cleary’s fascination with fire, stone, wood, words, and Steampunk metal sculpture is in evidence throughout the building and grounds in his studio home at 353 Browns Trace Rd in Jericho.

Cleary LIVE

Giant wooden letters are part of the WORD section of the sculpture garden.

The sculpture garden at On the Rocks Carving Studio features the original Word Garden, which is an interactive installation of stones with words carved into them, that can be arranged and rearranged into poetry and messages by the user.

Other highlights of the sculpture garden are 8 giant wooden letters (roughly 8ft tall), displayed as a word or words;

Cleary Spider

Steampunk inspirations can be seen in this welded metal spider.

Steampunk artifacts including two Submarines, a Jet Pack, a Spider, an Angler Fish, and an outdoor Shower on wheels; along with the usual displays of stone & copper sea grass, stone birdbaths and carvings. We’ll also feature fire breathing as part of the Open Studio festivities!

Next travel to Underhill at the home and studio of Gerry Stoner. Gerry says about his event, “Gerald K Stoner Sculpture at Underhill Ironworks will be presenting over 50 crafted welded steel sculptures for Spring Open Studio weekend from 10 am -5 pm. Explore the sculpture fields at my studio and residence in beautiful Underhill, Vermont just twenty-five minutes from Burlington, VT.”

Stoner Sculpture

Gerry Stoner’s sculpture in the field near his studio.

Travel west to Leslie Fry’s house and studio located in Winooski at 48-B Elm St. “My sculpture garden is in Winooski, a working-class, multi-national resettlement community. For 26 years, I’ve planted and shaped the environment outside my studio into a fantastical landscape where my outdoor sculptures go through seasonal changes.” During Open Studio Weekend you do not need to make an appointment to view sculpture.


Leslie’s garden in winter.


Lovely organic shapes are the newer additions to the garden.

After leaving Leslie’s studio, travel south on Rte 7 to Shelburne and to Falls Rd on the right. Continue east on that road until you see large sculptures set into the field next to the road.

Donegan Finding Faith

“Finding Faith” by Donegan

“The Shelburne Pond Studios Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit is comprised of 6+ acres of open fields and rolling farmland displaying 20 sculptures by Vermont artists. The property is also home to the working studios of 13 artists in a large converted dairy barn. The site is open to the public.”



One of the sculptures presently at Lemon Fair, The Tiller by John Clements.

Back on Rte 7, travel to Middlebury and then east on Rte 30 and turn right onto Rte 74 and travel for 3 miles to the Lemon Fair Sculpture Park. The Lemon Fair sculpture park has a variety of 25 large outdoor sculptures. It is a special place because it sites large pieces of contemporary art in a rural setting. A mile long, mowed path brings you to all the pieces. Some of the sculptures are for sale and some are part of a permanent collection. Open Saturday and Sundays, May until November.


Another sculpture presently at Lemon Fair by Dennis Versweyveld.

Further south on Rte 4 in West Rutland visit the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center on the grounds of the Vermont Marble Company. Here is a video that introduces you to the site.

Barre:  The Sculpture City

Barre is home to a thriving granite sculpture community and includes several bike racks that incorporate sculpture. Studio Place Arts (SPA) is a nonprofit community center for the visual arts located in historic downtown Barre that serves thousands of community members around central and northern Vermont.  SPA is committed to reaching out to bring all members of the community into its facility to become creators of art, and to view exciting contemporary artwork.

10-18-16 children at zipper pull cropped

Brothers enjoy Chris Miller’s sculpture “Unzip the Earth” sited next to SPA.

A group of talented studio artists work on the second and third floors at SPA. SPA makes available its Art Stroll map to describe the outstanding examples of stone sculptures sited around downtown Barre.  The Art Stroll map corresponds to a slide show with sculpture images at the SPA website.  [Go to; click at “Visit” and scroll down.]

8-30-11 GC on his Granite Chair 8x10

Sculptor Giuliano Cecchinelli II after completing his granite easy chair called “Daddy’s Chair.” This sculpture is sited in front of SPA.

For more information, directions, downloadable maps and pictures with other sites in the Spring Open Studio tour go to our map and directions page.

For a google map of all sites go here.

Bethel Artists Prepare for Spring Open Studio 2017

By Andrea Trzaskos

A group of four artisans in the ‘Bethel Group’ is busily preparing for Open Studio weekend.

Two Potters Shop welcomes visitors.

Two Potters Shop welcomes visitors.

At Two Potters, Nathan and Becca Webb are making pottery for a wood-firing in June.  Since their kiln is only fired once or twice a year, Open Studio will be an exciting time to preview many of the pieces before they are loaded into the kiln.  Nathan and Becca create pottery with the simple goal of adding beauty and enjoyment to life.  Their functional pieces include mugs for hot coffee and tea, bowls for all things, vases for fresh flowers, butter keepers, mason jars, and fermenting crocks.

During Open Studio, Nathan and Becca will be giving tours of the kiln barn – where visitors can walk inside the kiln itself – while answering questions about their wood-firing process.

Becca and Nathan have built this wood fired kiln. Firings happen twice a year.

Becca and Nathan have built this wood fired kiln. Firings happen twice a year.

The two potters will also be giving demos in their studio, and there’ll be an area for kids to play with clay.

Bowls on Shoulder

Three newly glazed bowls head to the kiln shed.

They’ll have pottery for sale, food and drink, and (hopefully) live music on Sunday afternoon – check out their Instagram feed (@twopotters) or website ( for more details on the music.  Two Potters is a family-friendly venue, and everyone will be welcome to come and stay a while

Grace Pejouhy holds a stoneware pitcher.

Grace Pejouhy holds a stoneware pitcher.

Across town at Naught Hill Pottery, Grace Pejouhy and Evan Williams have just finished a throwing cycle and are doing brushwork and glazing while getting their kiln ready for a firing.  Grace and Evan work in partnership, with Grace doing much of the throwing while Evan decorates using slip wiping and brushwork with pigments and wax resist.  Focusing on traditional functional forms with flowing curves and strong lines, then firing their pots in a Bourry box wood kiln, these potters endeavor to create work that is simple and honest to its materials and feels right to use in everyday life.

Evan shapes the lip of a large bowl.

Evan shapes the lip of a large bowl.

Visit Naught Hill Pottery during Open Studio Weekend and you will see that Grace and Evan have been working hard to prepare as many pots as possible in advance of their first showing at the League of NH Craftsmen Mount Sunapee Fair later this summer.  This will be the biggest show they’ve participated in, and Open Studio offers a great chance to get a first look at their newest work!

A carved raven peers out of his ceramic tile.

A carved raven peers out of his ceramic tile.

Over the river, Andrea Trzaskos has also been working hard at her Frog Song Designs studio to prepare for a busy summer show season.  Another Bethel artist working in clay, and with the devoted help of two four-legged studio assistants, Andrea has been at work through the winter to build up her collection of both functional ware and decorative wall art.

From plates and platters to vases, vessels and wall tiles, she hand-builds each piece in stoneware before painting and carving through layers of colored underglazes to create detailed, one-of-a-kind surface designs.  A long-time gardener and nature enthusiast more recently turned to ceramics, Andrea focuses on themes of birds and nature in her designs.  She’ll be on the road with her work for much of the summer and fall, so Open Studio is a great opportunity to catch up with her at home.


Frog Song plates, with a variety of underglazes, waiting to be fired.

Frog Song plates, with a variety of underglazes, waiting to be fired.

And just down the road, Open Studio visitors will be welcome at the Stone Revival carving studio and gallery of Julian Isaacson, housed in a beautifully refurbished barn at the edge of Stockbridge.

Julian has been sculpting in stone and hardwoods for over forty years, creating unique works deeply connected to Vermont’s people and land.  His work includes fine art, functional art, monuments and commissions that reflect his preferred themes of nature and community.

The Stone Revival gallery is filled with beautiful examples of Julian’s bas relief sculpture, while the gift shop offers a range of Vermont products including jewelry, quilts and gift baskets.  Julian will be carving during Open Studio, so don’t miss this terrific chance to see him at work!

A New Way to Tour for Open Studio Weekend #1 10/1 & 10/2

Let’s Play Open Studio Weekend Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral!

by Elissa Campbell

There are easily as many ways to plan a studio tour as there are artist studios. Some people choose to focus on a specific medium, while others visit studios located within a small geographic area.

Perhaps you’ve exhausted all of the options you can think of and you’re looking for something new. Well, we’ve got you covered!

Taking inspiration from the 1950’s game show Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?, we’re going to use this post to focus on artists who have animals in their business names.

Oh yeah, we’re going there.

All of these artists are participating in the first weekend of Open Studio Weekend, October 1 & 2. 10 to 5 each day. NOTE: Studio numbers correspond to numbers on our free Vermont Studio Tour Map. See it online at this link .

Snyder Platter small

A stoneware platter by Andy Snyder.

Studio #17: Located in Orwell near Sunset Lake, Andy Snyder of Mud Puppy Pottery creates work that is mud-based, but contains no actual puppies. He has a fascinating personal story, having worked as both a Member of the House of Representatives and as an employee of the Vermont Department of Education. His work is both beautiful and functional, making one of his pieces the perfect gift for someone – maybe you? Plus, you’ll travel through some lovely Vermont countryside on the way to his studio.

Studio #32: Artist Jen Wiechers of Laughing Lizard Studio  is a double threat, working as both a jeweler and most recently as an encaustic painter. Her paintings include a variety of media, including resin, pigment, wax, and found objects. The layering process gives her work a fascinating depth. Jen is part of a great network of artists in the Brattleboro area and will be showing her work at the glassblowing studio of Marta and Josh Bernbaum.


Jen Wiechers necklace

Studio #53: Andrea Trzaskos of Frog Song Designs came to pottery through her love of gardening. She had a creative journey that many artists experience – she started in the craft as a hobby and it became a business when her work took over her house. Andrea’s exquisite, hand built pieces often feature natural themes, including flowers and animals. Her studio is located in Bethel.

Andrea Trzaskos

Andrea Trzaskos carved peacock platter.

Studio #67: From his workshop in Worcester, Chris Eaton of Kingfisher Forge can hear the calls of his studio’s namesake bird coming from the nearby Winooski River. Chris is self-taught and his metal work ranges from sconces to furniture. It’s amazing what he can do with metal – his pieces are sculptural, graceful, and elegant.

Wrought iron hooks by Chris Eaton.

Wrought iron hooks by Chris Eaton.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this small taste of what awaits you during Vermont’s Fall Open Studio Weekend. You won’t regret visiting any of the studios participating in the event.

I wonder what the next blog post theme will be?

Fall Open Studio With a Twist

by Elissa Campbell

Just when you thought you knew Open Studio Weekend, we went and threw in a twist!

This year, the Fall Open Studio Tour will take place over two weekends – October 1 & 2, and October 8 & 9. The event is being held in conjunction with American Craft Week , a national celebration of handmade craft and the creative process. Different groups of artists will be participating during each weekend.

Thankfully, you’ve got the Vermont Open Studio Guide to help you figure out your plan of attack.


While the outside of the guide may look familiar, the inside features a few changes. We want to help you understand these changes better. Here’s what to look for:


  1. If you look in the bottom left-hand corner of the guide, you’ll see symbols that will tell you what studios are open each weekend.


  • A black square indicates that a studio is only open during October 1 & 2.
  • An orange square indicates that a studio is only open during October 8 & 9.
  • A black and orange oval indicates that a studio is open during both weekends, October 1 & 2 and October 8 & 9.

You can find these symbols on locations marked on the Vermont map, just above the key.

  1. Another change on the map side of the guide is how the Artisan Index is organized. There are now two indexes, with each one listing the artists participating during each weekend.


At the top of each index, you’re given a reminder of what color symbol represents which weekend for each studio on the map.


You’ll also notice that there are artists listed in both indexes – this indicates that they are participating during both weekends.

Now that we’ve looked at the map side of the guide, let’s flip it over and see what’s new there.


  1. There are three studio lists in the guide, with each one indicating the dates during which a particular studio will be open. Each one is topped with the symbols listed on the map side of the guide.
  • At the top of the list of studios participating during the weekend of October 1 & 2, you’ll see a strip of black squares.


  • At the top of the list of studios participating during the weekend of October 8 & 9, you’ll see a strip of orange squares.


  • At the top of the list of studios participating during both weekends, October 1 & 2 and October 8 & 9, you’ll see a strip of black and orange ovals.


The numbers in each of the studio lists corresponds to the symbol assigned to that weekend.

  • Studios participating during the weekend of October 1 & 2 are numbered in black.


  • Studios participating during the weekend of October 8 & 9 are numbered in orange.


  • You’ll notice that the numbers in these two lists skip numbers – that’s because the missing numbers are included in the listing of those studios participating during both weekends, October 1 & 2 and October 8 & 9.


For example, the list for October 1 & 2 is missing studio #7 (black) and the list for October 8 & 9 is missing studio #4 (orange). The studio that has been assigned those numbers for each weekend can be found in the listing of those studios participating during both weekends.

Check it out – there’s Meinhardt Design:


Jean Meinhardt’s  porcelain bowls with luster glazes.

We know that these changes are a lot to digest and we hope that this post has been helpful in deciphering the new tour guide. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us at or 802-223-3380.

Also find online maps and directions with more info at this link.

Order your own hardcopy map at this link.

Happy touring!

Here’s a little more information about Open Studio if you are new to the event.

Combine fall foliage viewing and harvest activities with purchases from local artists across Vermont.

Bright yellow signs compete with oranges and reds of October along Vermont’s roads enticing visitors to the studios of craftspeople and fine artists across Vermont during the 2016 Fall Open Studio Tour over October 1 & 2, and October 8 & 9, Columbus Day Weekend. The Vermont Crafts Council is offering two weekends this year in conjunction with American Craft Week, a national celebration of craftwork, taking place from October 1 through October 16. Different groups of artists will open their studios on the two weekends.

Open Studio Weekend is a statewide celebration of the visual arts and creative process, offering a unique opportunity for visitors to meet a wide variety of local artists and craftspeople in their studios, and purchase high quality, hand made artwork.

The self-guided Open Studio tour features the work of glassblowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers and wood carvers. Many participating galleries will host gallery talks and feature special exhibits in conjunction with this event.

Many Studios are New for Spring Open Studio

Fresh Faces at This Spring’s Open Studio Weekend

by Elissa Campbell

2016 marks the twenty-fourth year that the Vermont Crafts Council has celebrated the work and creative environments of Vermont’s exceptional crafts community. Perhaps you didn’t know that every year, the list of artists participating in Open Studio Weekend changes as much as 40%. This year 50 studios are new to the event or have not participated for several years.

This cool fact means the event is ever-changing and you’ll never have the same experience twice. Check out our new (or new-to-you) artists, some of whom are profiled below. For the complete list of who is new, see this google map with orange markers for new participants.

Studio #191: In her Middlebury studio, Danielle Gori-Montanelli makes colorful and spirited sculpted felt jewelry. She’s one of those people who is good at everything – she started as a painter and worked in metal for fifteen years before moving on to felt. Flowers and plants are a common theme in her work and it’s just fabulous – felt pretzel brooches, collars full of succulent flowers, and necklaces of spools of thread. Her work has such personality and shows her keen sense of humor.


Sculpture by Danielle Gori-Montanelli

Studio #118: Joe Breznick of Breznick Woodworking in Londonderry spends his time creating furniture from locally-sourced woods, as well as reclaimed lumber for salvaged buildings. Joe hails from a family of makers and clearly has craft in his blood. He is a skilled builder, creating beds, tables, and chairs with meticulous attention to detail. There’s no doubt that he has passion for and takes pride in his work.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 3.52.22 PM

Armoire by Joe Breznick

Studio #124: Also in Windham County, Patricia Burleson of Townshend is a double threat, working in both painted silk and mixed media sculpture. Her dreamy scarves, banners, and Chuppahs are hand-painted in a manner similar to watercolors. Using traditional basket making techniques, Patricia constructs sculptural forms from natural, recycled, and found materials. Anything can act as a source of inspiration for her work – she sees the history and value in all objects.


Painted silk banners by Patricia Burleson

Studio #143: Down in the southern part of Vermont, Joseph Tracy of Brookside Glassworks works in both stained and fused glass. He seems to have a deep respect for the transformative qualities of glass, especially for what it does with light. His resume doesn’t just include conservation work with historic stained glass – Joseph also combines fused glass with glass painting to create wonderful effects that take on the appearance of watercolors. He approaches the medium with the goal of exploring uncharted territory.


Stained glass panel by Joseph Tracy of Brookside Glassworks

No matter what studios you visit, you’re sure to have a memorable experience!

Look for the 2016 Vermont Open Studio guides at Vermont rest stops, tourist information areas and galleries across the state. You can also contact the Vermont Crafts Council at (802) 223-3380 or On online version of the guide can be found on the VCC website.

Also, check out the google map showing new studios at this link.

Ten Ways to Plan Your Open Studio Tour

Ten Ways to Plan Your Open Studio Tour

One of the best things about Open Studio is that you can easily put together a tour to match your interest and that of  your companions.  Here are ten ideas to help you create a great studio tour experience.  And don’t forget to look for the Yellow Open Studio signs!

Yellow sign S2016

1. Pick A Place! Let Open Studio Weekend be the spark to get out and explore places in Vermont that you have always wanted to visit. Check the map guide, for studios in that area and hit the road!

2. Visit A Village! Choose a classic Vermont village as your destination and combine studio visits with a stop at the General Store, the Creemee stand, the local diner, or the historical society.


Coffee stop at Bristol Bakery

3. Drive on Dirt! Some of the most beautiful places in Vermont are at the end of dirt roads, which is why artists choose to live there. Be adventurous. Let the yellow signs guide you to the out-of-the-way spots and experience the real Vermont—classic New England farmhouses and barns, hidden villages, stonewalls, streams, waterfalls and spectacular gardens.

Shown here are buildings that house the Craft Barn in the village of Newark. See many artists and artisans in one spot.

Yellow signs dot the landscape. Let them lead you to a studio.

4. Ask An Artist! While visiting a studio, ask for suggestions of special things to see and do in the area. Locals ALWAYS know the best places.

David Stone Studio

Potter, David Stone, of Cuttingsville, will give you advice about where to go next.


5. Meet Your Medium! Have you always dreamed of being an artist? Seek out specific mediums like woodworking, watercolors or jewelry.

A sleigh bed.

A sleigh bed by Brookside Woodworking.

6. More Studios in Less Time!  Have a couple of hours? Check the map for a high-density cluster of studios and see as many as you are able.

The best place to see many studios is Brandon VT. Shown here is a mobile by Patty Sgrecci.

The best place to see many studios is Brandon VT. Shown here is a mobile by Patty Sgrecci.

7. Keep It Local! Visit studios close to your home or vacation spot. Artists are EVERYWHERE in Vermont, even right around the corner. Your next-door neighbor just might be a world-famous artist!

Cole Thumb

Blown glass by Gabriel Cole.

8.  Find the Familiar! Visit artists whose work you know and love. Seeing their workplace, watching them work, and talking with them will give you new insight and appreciation for their work.

Elm Harris Thumb

Elm Harris, jewelry design. Shown here, pet reliquaries.

9.  Notice the New! Visit artists who are new to you but whose work sounds intriguing. Explore mediums and techniques you know nothing about.

Ruth Brown Thumb

Quilt by Ruth Brown of Morrisville.

10. Go With The Guide! Study the map and the listings. Explore the possibilities. Let inspiration strike! Go where your heart leads!

Freud's Wall_plaster and oil on panel_37%22x37%22, 2014, jpg

Freud’s Wall – by Galen Cheney of Middlesex

Look for the 2016 Vermont Open Studio guides at Vermont rest stops, tourist information areas and galleries across the state.  Or contact the Vermont Crafts Council at 802-223-3380 or  On online version of the guide can be found at

Box of Maps

Give in to Your Animal Instincts During Open Studio Weekend!

Artists and Animals – A Sampling for Fall Open Studio

by Elissa Campbell

NOTE: Studio numbers correspond to numbers on our free Vermont Studio Tour Map. See it online at this link (link: 

The artists participating in Open Studio Weekend work in a wide variety of mediums and settings. It can be hard to figure out where to start your journey. This tour features artists inspired by the animal kingdom.


Studio #1: NEW ARTIST Winters can be tough for dogs – not all breeds are equipped to deal with cold environments. Janet Dooley of Vermont Canine Countrywear  has you covered! In her Milton studio, Janet creates functional and stylish coats and snowsuits for your canine companions.

Jane Dooley

Dog coat for a medium sized dog by Janet Dooley.

Studio #12: NEW ART SITE Could you imagine a museum tucked away in rural Huntington whose mission is to present education about birds and their habitat using wood carving? Yes, there is such an organization and you can visit during Open Studio Weekend.

This carved wooden hummingbird is on display at the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington.

This carved wooden hummingbird is on display at the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington.

Studio #16: NEW ARTIST If you’re looking for a fully immersive animal experience, look no further than Elysabethe James of Bryn Meadow Farm Studio. This studio is part of a farm that raises heritage animals, including turkeys, sheep, and chickens. Elysabethe’s watercolors focus on the life that surrounds her on the farm.

Brynn Meadow Farm

A colorful hen and chicks by Libby James.

Studio #48: Caryn King loves animals and it shows in her work. In her studio in South Newfane, you can find paintings of cows, chickens, rabbits, and more. Her portraits really capture the personality of her animal subjects.

Caryn King

Painting by Caryn King

Studio #64: NEW ART SITE The Great Hall, in Springfield, an historic, renovated factory building located on the Black River, will present Fur and Feathers –  Open 11:00 to 4:00 Saturday & Sunday. Saturday, 12:00 Meet the artists. On hand will not just be art and artists but live subject matter also – Raptor Program Saturday only, 1:00.

Great Hall Owl

Barn Owl – photo by Jennifer MaHarry

Studio #66: NEW ARTIST Are horses more your style? Visit Suzanne Nielsen of Equine Art in Chester. Suzanne is an accomplished horse rider and trainer and has a deep love for the subjects of her paintings and drawings.

Janet Nielsen

A dramatic painting of a horse by Janet Nielsen.

Studio #73: In Hartland, you can find Vermont Stone Design, the studio of Kenny Hamblin. He makes gorgeous bird baths out of locally sourced stone. A stonemason for twelve years, Kenny was trained by his father.

One of Kenny's stone birdbaths, perfect for your garden.

One of Kenny’s stone birdbaths, perfect for your garden.

Studio #86 NEW ARTIST Red House Studio, photographer Linda Bryan captures details of rural life in Vermont, with her photographs. Located in picturesque Newbury, Linda’s studio will surely treat you to many beautiful views.

Linda Bryan

Cows follow the farmer down a rural road in a photograph by Linda Bryan

These studios offer a wonderful slice of the life and work of Vermont artists. Might we suggest that you follow up this tour with a vegetarian meal?

Profile Hugo Mesa – Visit During Fall Open Studio 10/3 & 10/4



I just met Hugo Mesa recently, in spite of the fact that we live only a few miles apart, and I felt as though I had discovered a hidden treasure. Visiting his lovely rural home is like visiting a museum. It is full of whimsy and artistic touches scattered throughout the house and yard.

Hugo Mesa

Hugo at his work bench.

The man, himself, is also unique. I was immediately drawn to a like-minded creative spirit, and soon discovered that this is a man with integrity, depth and commitment. His drive to create has molded his entire life and every decision he has made has honored his art and his desire to live life on his own terms.

Hugo Mesa Deer Door

Hugo Mesa carves many doors or screens featuring wildlife.

He was born in Bogata, Columbia and lived in Los Angeles from the age of 17 until 1975. During this phase of his life, he discovered his talent, set about acquiring skill with many tools and a variety of media, and built a business that produced custom-made architectural elements from a combination of carved wood, metal, ceramics and Glassplex (a unique acrylic material that resembles stained glass). His unique creations were wildly popular and brought him both wealth and fame, but like many artists before him, Hugo discovered that success drew him away from the creative pursuits that are the foundation of his life.

Hugo Mesa door post

A signature carved door and door post by Hugo Mesa.

So he walked away, leaving the business behind. He moved to Florida where he built a smaller studio practice that allowed him to mold his life around his art. He continued to make doors, furniture and mirrors but each piece was hand carved, the product of his own hand and imagination. Scaling back his business allowed him to focus on his art, giving his creativity free rein and providing a life style more fitting to his personality.

Hugo Mesa

Carved Box by Hugo Mesa

In 1990 Hugo moved to Craftsbury, VT with his wife Valerie where he continued to carve large, custom items. While the beauty and serenity of the Northeast Kingdom provided nourishment for his creative spirit, it made it difficult to connect with customers. Once again, Hugo synchronized his career approach with his life style, and found that attending several home shows, and advertising twice a year in a log home periodical kept his name out there and word of mouth took it from there.

Underwater carved panel

Carved doors featuring underwater scene with fish and shells.

Recently Hugo discovered that as the years go by, the urge to create is still strong, but the realities of advancing age must be taken into account. The fact that he has amassed a huge collection of beautiful leftover pieces of scrap wood has provided the perfect solution. He now works on smaller projects such as intricately carved mahogany lamps that serve as night lights, pipes and all manner of whimsical items.

Water wheel lamp

Carved wooden lamp of a grist mill with a copper roof by Hugo Mesa.

Over the years, evolving circumstances have dictated change, but Hugo’s commitment to his art is constant. Visit his studio this weekend, October 3 & 4 from 10:00 to 5:00, and see for yourself the result of a lifelong dedication to creativity.



Southern Bennington to Windham – Choose From 21 Studios

Find maps and directions here.

Start in Readsboro at Readsboro Glass and travel east and north to visit a great variety of studios. For a downloadable map go to this link.

43. Readsboro Glass – Mary Angus and K. William LeQuier both work in glass but make very different art work.

Bill Lequier

Bill Lequier’s sculpture, Spiral Nebula.

Mary Angus

Mary Angus’s blown and carved glass perfume bottle.

44. Eric Sprenger Fine Woodwork – Wilmington, Eric’s individual design sense can be seen in all of his furniture.

Eric Sprenger

Table by Eric Sprenger

45. NEW – Wellman Farm – Plein Air Event and Exhibit – Leslie Brunn – Wilmington. Leslie has organized a group of artist who will paint “en plein air” at Wellman Farm. Visitors are invited to attend the event and view work on exhibit.

Leslie Brunn

Painting by Leslie Brunn “Mud Season”

After Wilmington, we skip up to Newfane and pick up the tour…

46. NEW Diane Echlin Ceramics – Newfane. Diane creates stoneware pottery and jewelry.

Diane Echlin

Echlin covered vessel.

47. Roger Sandes – Williamsville. Roger creates figurative paintings with symbols of life, fertility and repose.

Roger Sandes

Balancing Act – Acrylic on canvas, by Roger Sandes

48. Caryn King Studio – South Newfane.  Caryn King paints pictures of animals using mixed media. She also offers giclee’s of her paintings.

Caryn King

“Bull” a painting by Caryn King.

49. Matthew Tell Pottery – Marlboro. Matthew is a master potter who uses a wood-fired kiln to produce his work. The beauty of a wood fired kiln is that ash from the burning wood settles over the glazed ware and changes it so that each piece is unique. Besides being a past president of the Vermont Crafts Council, Matt has also participated in Spring Open Studio for over 20 years.

Matt Tell Pottery

Chattered Lotus Bowl by Matt Tell

50. JMB Glass – Josh and Marta Bernbaum, Marlboro. Josh and Marta both work with glass, each producing distinctive work.

 Josh Bernbaum

Blown glass vessels by Josh Bernbaum.

Marta Bernbaum

Blown glass beads and necklace by Marta Bernbaum.

51. Applewood’s Woodworking Studio and Gallery – David and Michelle Holzapfel, Marlboro. . David and Michelle both work with wood and produce sculpture, tables and other furniture using spalted wood and burls. Each artist begins with a particular piece of wood and proceeds from there to create the work. Michelle also works in fabric and paper. David is more of a sculptor than a cabinetmaker. See details on their website.

Michelle Holzapfel

Tartaruga. Sculpture by Michelle Holzapfel.

David Holzapfel

Wishbones, a table by David Holzapfel.

52. The Turnpike Road Pottery – Malcolm Wright, Marlboro. A life long potter and sculptor, Malcolm uses several kinds of clay and has cast some of his smaller ceramic sculpture in bronze. Not a production potter, Malcolm works both with hand building and with the wheel to produce unique pieces. Much of his work reflects his interest in Japanese pottery including pottery used in the tea ceremony.

Malcolm Wright

Ceramic Sculpture “White Form” by Malcolm Wright.

53. NEW Charles Townsend Landscape Artist, Marlboro Charles produces contemporary landscape paintings in oils and pastels.

Charles Townsend

Charles Townsend painting.

54. Jason E. Breen, Fine and Custom Woodwork – Brattleboro. Jason makes cabinetry, furniture, wood turning, and just about anything made of wood. Follow his process and see his custom furniture, each a story in design and build, at his blog.

Jason Breen

Shown here, Jason in his studio.

55. Ron Karpius, Brattleboro. Ron creates weathervanes, lanterns, and metal sculptures of animals and insects using copper and brass.

Ron Karpius

Shown, a metal sculpture of a heron, by Ron Karpius.

56. Center for Digital Art – Michel Moyse. Brattleboro. Michel Moyse is an artist, teacher and co-founder/director of the Center for Digital Art, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational resources and promoting filmmaking and videoart.

Michel Moyse

Example of Michel Moyse’s videoart.

57. Naomi Lindenfeld Clayworks, Brattleboro. Naomi Lindenfeld works with colored clay, carving forms to reveal colored layers and patterns. Her clay colors are blue, brown, peach, peacock, purple, raspberry, teal, turquoise, yellow, plum, or olive.

Naomi Lindenfeld

A tray showing the many lovely patterns and colors that Naomi uses.

58. Orchard Street Pottery – Walter Slowinski, Brattleboro. Walter works on the wheel and then alters his forms to create unique teapots, among other work. His teapots often have branch handles.

Walter Slowinski

One of Walter’s wonderful teapots.

59. Laughing Lizard Studio – Jennifer Wiechers. Brattleboro. Lately, Jen has been working with encaustics to create multi-layered and luminous paintings.

Jen Wiechers

An encaustic painting by Jen Wiechers.

60. Vermont Artisan Designs & Gallery 2 – Brattleboro. Find art work from over 250 American artists in this spacious gallery in downtown Brattleboro. The work shown include a large selection of Vermont artists. Vermont Artisan Design is also an information center for the Fall Open Studio Tour so stop in and pick up a map from the gallery.

61. Fulcrum Arts – Randi Solin and Natalie Blake. Brattleboro At this ceramic and glass art center, find a gallery and glass and ceramic work by Randi and Natalie, plus demonstrations in each studio. Year round classes are offered here as well.

NNatalie Blake and Randi Solin

Natalie Blake and Randi Solin, seen through the shelves in Fulcrum Arts gallery.

62. NEW Virginia Wyoming Pottery – Putney. Virginia Wyoming creates pottery for the home and garden using sturdy designs and bright glazes. She also takes custom orders.

Virginia Wyoming.

Earthenware planter by Virginia Wyoming.





Fall 2015 Tour – A Potpourri of Pottery Studios

Open Studio Weekend – A Pottery Potpourri!

Written by Jennifer Boyer, retired from Thistle Hill Pottery

Vermont has a rich variety of clay artists, and it’s a treat to visit their studios. You could plan your whole Fall Open Studio October 3 & 4 experience just by following the roads to potteries.

Let’s look at them by County

NOTE: Studio numbers correspond to numbers on our free Vermont Studio Tour Map. See it online at this link: 

Chittenden & Addison Counties:
Studio Tour # 19 – Robert Compton Pottery offers a rare look at am amazing variety of hand thrown wood-fired stoneware. Even more interesting are the several different kilns on the property. A must see for any clay fan.

Chris Homer and Bob Compton with pottery.

Chris Homer and Bob Compton with pottery.

Studio Tour # 10 – Jean Meinhardt’s contemporary porcelain features unique microcrystalline glazes in an interesting palette.

Jean Meinhardt bowls.

Jean Meinhardt bowls.

Studio Tour # 27 – Andy Snyder of Mud Puppy Pottery specializes in functional artistic pottery for the home using a variety of techniques. See Andy’s brand new studio in Orwell complete with a couch for visitors who would like to sit and chat.

Andy Snyder Platter

Mud Puppy Studio platter.

Rutland, Windsor & Windham Counties:
Studio Tour # 34 – Nicholas Seidner & Diane Rosenmiller, husband and wife team,  of Rising Meadow Pottery offer wood, salt or soda-fired utilitarian pottery. Nick and Diane will also show a variety of their friends high quality artwork in their studio gallery.

Rising Meadow Pottery Bowl

Diane Rosenmiller’s lovely fluted bowl. See husband Nick’s work also at the gallery.

Studio Tour # 37 – David Stone has a variety of styles in burnished earthenware and stoneware.

David Stone Studio

David Stone stands on his Cuttingsville studio porch, ready to greet visitors.

Studio Tour # 58 – Walter Slowinski of Orchard Street Pottery specializes in wood fired and salt-glazed functional ceramics and teapots.

Walter Slowinski, Orchard St Pottery

Walter Slowinski makes teapots with branch handles among other ceramic forms.

Studio Tour # 49 – Matthew Tell of The Turnpike Road Pottery makes elegant wood and gas fired stoneware pottery. Matthew has been a part of Open Studio Spring for over 20 years and is a real master at his craft.

Matt Tell fires the kiln.

Matt stokes the kiln during a firing.

Studio Tour # 52 – Malcolm Wright is an internationally known clay artist who works with functional pottery and clay sculpture.

Malcolm Wright

“White Form” by Malcolm Wright. Photo by John Polak.

Studio Tour # 62NEW ARTIST – Virginia Wyoming makes stoneware pottery for home and garden.

Virginia Wyoming

Virginia makes a variety of pottery for the home and garden.

Studio Tour # 57 – Naomi Lindenfeld specializes in a unique line of colored clay pottery

Naomi Lindenfeld

Naomi Lindenwold works with layers of colored clay that she then carves and recombines.

Studio Tour # 46NEW ARTIST – Diane Echlin makes stoneware pottery and jewelry.

Diane Echlin

Diane Echlin’s jewelry shows off the lovely earthen colors of clay and glazes.

Studio Tour # 77 – Andrea Trzaskos of Frog Song Designs offers a beautiful line of hand-built, hand carved functional stoneware.

Andrea Trzaskos

Andrea Trzaskos carved peacock platter.

Studio Tour # 78 – Two Potters, Nathan & Becca Webb specialize in wood-fired stoneware pottery and will give tours through their two chambered kiln and new studio.

Two Potters.

From above looking at an autumn table setting of Two Potters pottery with Nathan and Becca Webb.

Studio Tour # 42 – Jane Wojick of Form and Function Pottery produces functional and sculptural stoneware. She will be showing at the Bennington Arts Guild.

Jane Wojick

Jane Wojick vase.

Orange, Washington & Lamoille Counties:

Studio Tour # 96NEW ARTIST – Noel Bailey features a line of functional high-fire porcelain.

Bailey ThumbStudio Tour # 100 – Mud Studio – A potter’s collective and educational center shows the work of more than 22 different people in the gallery. Also visit the wheel room and hand building areas to become tempted into a life of your own in clay.

Mud Studio, Abby Dreyer

Shown here, a handbuilt ceramic bird house by Abby Dreyer, one of the instructors at Mud Studio.

Studio Tour # 101SPECIAL EVENT – Jeremy Ayers makes functional and decorative ceramics in a studio on his grandfather’s property. Over Open Studio Weekend, Jeremy will celebrate his new studio in a renovated barn, just off the Main St in Waterbury VT.

Jeremy Ayers

Jeremy Ayers teapot. Jeremy makes many other forms for food and flowers.

Studio Tour # 105 – Lynn Flory of Mill Village Pottery produces functional pottery and tiles.

Lynn Flory

Lynn Flory has a showroom and studio filled with her work including examples like this.