BRATTLEBORO — The tight-knit group of artists and crafters west of Brattleboro are leaving their studios and coming downtown and toting their wares for a holiday show. Set up in the newly renovated venue, 118 Elliot in Brattleboro, titled "17 Artists, 2 Days," the show is an opportunity for the public to view the extraordinary work by members of Brattleboro-West Arts and to purchase unique gifts, all in one convenient location on Friday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 6.
BWA member Karen Kamenetzky, who is co-organizing the show with Kris McDermet, said that because the group is so enthusiastic and ready to step up and help, it made organizing the show very easy, and she has been excited to do so. BWA has become more than a group of artists coordinating studio tours a couple of times a year, it has become its own community. They hold monthly meetings at different members' homes for a pot luck dinner and a chance to bounce ideas off of each other while providing inspiration. When talking with Kamenetzky who is excited that they will all be together for this show, the comradery is evident. Kamenetzky, who had just been carrying out one of her assigned duties of placing a banner outside the building of 118 Elliot for visibility said, "I think it will be a wonderful place for people to come in and see us as a large group.
BWA member architect/ painter Stephen Lloyd has the critical job of setting up the interior of 118 Elliot for displaying the art, making sure the lighting and the artwork is arranged just right and harmonious. The interior lends itself well for a show such as this, after all, displaying visual and performing arts is was what the space was designed for with its white walls and natural joists, creating a pleasant backdrop. Lloyd likened the positioning and planning of the pieces like a complicated puzzle that he has to make appear clean. Strategically placing 3-d artwork on pedestals of varying heights while taking advantage of the stage for more depth, and displaying the 2-d art on the wall space is the trick to making this happen. He said what will be most interesting to the public is the diversity of the artwork and viewing examples of new work. He too is excited to have the group come together for the show. Again the mutual affection is apparent.
One of the original members of BWA, Ceramicist Naomi Lindenfeld said there will be everything from fine arts to crafts available for sale including paintings, photography and botanical drawings to pottery, textiles, woven baskets, jewelry, metalwork and glass – a wide range of mediums and styles and prices that make great holiday gifts. She likes that everyone will be in one place rather than having art lovers travel all over the countryside – something that can have its own set of challenges in the winter – and she is pleased with the group's choice of holding the show in the new venue on Elliot Street. She said it is clean and fresh with great wood floors and white walls for simplicity, and it has the added bonus of easy parking, and is handicap accessible.
Those familiar with the artists of Brattleboro-West Arts will find plenty of fresh work at the show: Jen Wiechers, a new participant in BWA shows, recently added encaustics to her repertoire of acrylic paintings and jewelry. Fiber artist Karen Kamenetzky, a longtime BWA member, will offer smaller, more affordable versions of her textile pieces inspired by cellular imagery. Christopher Lann's newest work adds textural elements of woven fine-silver "cloth" to his hand-knit silver chains and nature-inspired castings of recent years. Also, Lindenfeld has been exploring forms and patterns in colored clay that echo her mother's textile work.
The show opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, remaining open until 8 p.m. There will be a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m., for refreshments and a chance to meet the artists, coinciding with Brattleboro's monthly Gallery Walk as well as Holly Days, Holly Nights, the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce's annual weekend holiday shopping event. The show continues Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when many of the artists will also be there to talk about their work.
In addition to the work of the artists above, the exhibit will feature the paintings of Maisie Crowther, Ron Karpius, Stephen Lloyd and Janet Picard; pottery by Walter Slowinski and Matt Tell; textile art by Jackie Abrams and Kris McDermet; Bobbi Angell's botanical drawings; blown glass by Josh Bernbaum; turned bowls and furniture by woodworker Jason Breen; metal sculpture by Ron Karpius; multimedia collages by Sharon Myers; and the photography of Gene Parulis. Profiles of the participating artists, as well as other BWA members, are viewable online at www. brattleboro-west-arts.com.