Brattleboro Reformer (VT)

September 16, 2009 
Section: Entertainment 
Article ID: 13354263 

Artists in our area’s ‘wild west’ band together for studio tour


   Reformer Staff


Who doesn't watch flocks of birds in flight at this time of year with a careful eye, hoping that maybe, just maybe, they aren't headed south?

I know I do; so it was with some excitement that I watched some Canada geese flap from right to left as I headed north up Putney Road two days ago.


These birds were headed west.


We should all follow the lead of these sage geese -- or at least the advice of Horace Greeley who urged us all to Go, West! -- and head in that direction this weekend.


What we'll find, if we look carefully, is a group of artists and artisans who first found each other ... and now are inviting the public to find them.


"As an artist, this is really nice for us to come together as a community," said Naomi Lindenfeld, local potter and Brattleboro-West Arts member. "There are various artists whom I've met with this group that I didn't know were here."


"On Sunset Lake alone, we've met six artists," added glass artist Marta Bernbaum, who shares a studio with her husband Josh that has one of the most stunning views around.


See for yourself. On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Brattleboro West-Arts is holding its inaugural Fall Studio Tour. With 16 artists at 12 stops, the event is modeled on the success of Putney, Rock River and statewide studio tours, not to mention the Cotton Mill and Gallery Walk. But like all these other tours, this one will have its own character and characters.


One of the chief attractions this year is the fact that this is a new collective -- many of the artists have only recently discovered each other in and among the hills in a region that ignores town lines and roughly encompasses anything within three miles of Route 9 west of the I-91 interchange and up to Hogback Mountain, what the artists call the Whetstone watershed. This weekend, you'll find studios on Sunset Lake, Hescock, Goodenough, Meadowbrook, Potters Hill and Stark roads, not to mention Route 9 -- and its aliases like Western Avenue and Marlboro Road.


The hope is that the tour will become an annual one, and there may be other incarnations, like a holiday tour. It is also just a public program of a group of artists that has been meeting for four months to share ideas on marketing, pricing, branding, the creative process. Out of these gatherings, Brattleboro-West Arts coalesced, and the idea for the tour was born.


Like the other tours it's modeled on, this weekend's tour celebrates the quality and diversity of works being produced in the hills around us. In addition to works in glass and pottery, the tour features sculpture, painting, woodworking, dry stone work, architecture and violin-making. Many of the stops will feature hands-on activities and other things to do, including t'ai chi. Sculptor Ron Karpius will be working on site at Doug Cox's studio on Sunset Lake Road. It's all aimed at showing that "art" is a verb.


"There will be something dynamic, more interactive than just a swept-up studio," said Marta Bernbaum.


And there will be music. At his Sunset Lake workshop, violin-maker Doug Cox decided the best way to showcase his work was to have the public hear his instruments played.


On Saturday, Jill Newton and Laurie Indenbaum will play fiddle tunes on Cox instruments from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and other fiddlers and traditional musicians may show up. Later that day, Seth Ainsworth, who plays Cox Violin No. 522, will play and discuss his passion for the instrument at 3 p.m.


On Sunday, a string quartet of West Brattleboroians (Moby Pearson, Michelle Liechti, Kathy Andrew and David Runnion) will play local composer David Tasgal's "The War for Vermont" and other selections, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Then, Phil Bloch will improvise in bluegrass, jazz and other styles from 2:30 to 4 p.m.


Sales would be music to the ears of many of the artists on the tour, but the chance to connect with their neighbors, to make people aware of all the artists who make their livings and lives in the area and to show people what's going on, will also be signposts of a successful tour.


"I would like the community to better understand what I do," Cox said. "The nature of our work tends to be rather solitary. ... I think we all long for community and connection."


And maybe, they'll even inspire people.


"(It can) educate local people that they can be artists. Everyone's born to be an artist, and everyone can make art," said painter Xi Cai, whose will be featured at C.X. Silver Gallery on Western Avenue.


The idea for Brattleboro-West Arts grew from a seed planted at a meeting of the West Brattleboro Association, which is looking at ways to develop and revitalize West Brattleboro as a community.


Representatives from the Brattleboro Development and Credit Corporation told those at the meeting that the best thing West Brattleboro could do was find what it was already doing and nurture it. Art was one thing that was already going on,


"My vision is that this is an ideal place to sell Vermont, not sell out Vermont, sell Vermont," said Cox. "A lot of what's happening in this area is the arts."


This weekend's self-guided tour begins at American Traders, 257 Marlboro Road, where a sampling of work by artists and tour maps will be available.


Stops along the tour include: * Josh and Marta Bernbaum, glass, 119 Hescock Road, West Brattleboro. 802-254-4225, or * Stephen Lloyd, architecture/painting, 362 Sunset Lake Road, West Brattleboro, 802-257-1489 or * Douglas Cox, violin maker, 1138 Sunset Lake Road, West Brattleboro, 802-257-1024, or Sculptor Ron Karpius will be working on site, as well. * Matt Tell, wood-fired ceramics, 165 Potters Hill Road, 802-254-8057, or * Xi Cai, painting, C.X. Silver Gallery, 814 Western Ave., West Brattleboro, 802-257-7898, ext. 2, 802-579-9088,, * Michael Weitzner, dry stone construction, 802-254-9869,, * Janet Picard, painting, 495 Marlboro Road, West Brattleboro, 802-257-1098, 802-233-9618, or * Applewoods Studio & Gallery, woodworking, Michelle and David Holzapfel, 2802 Route 9, Marlboro, 802-254-2908, or * Nat Waring, woodworking, 466 Marlboro Road, West Brattleboro, 802-257-4100 or * Naomi Lindenfeld, layered colored clay, 330 Meadowbrook Road, West Brattleboro, 802-258-6475,, * Sharon Myers, sculpture, 744 Meadowbrook Road, 802-254-2480, * Jim Giddings and Petria Mitchell, painting, 447 Stark Road, West Brattleboro, 802-257-4508,


More information and images on artists, the tour and Brattleboro-West Arts is at Or call 802-257-1024.

(c) 2009 Brattleboro Reformer. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.