PUTNEY — The 44th Putney Craft tour, the oldest continuous craft tour in the country, takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and features a diverse group of artists sharing a passion for creativity. Some made the decision early in life to pursue their dreams of making art; others found their way after spending years in other careers.
This year, 20 artists are on tour. “It’s never been more than 28. Over the years, over 100 artists have been involved in the tour. There was a conceptual agreement that that size was good. We wanted to bring in new young people who arrived in the area,” he says. He adds that the date of the Thanksgiving weekend was chosen carefully — it’s the start of the gift-buying season,” said Ken Pick, one of the founding members.
The artisans, including new and returning members, are students, teachers, makers and inventors. Their art expresses itself in the variety of their work and also in the ways they choose to live their lives. Visitors can meet glass blowers, potters, jewelers, a woodworker, artisan cheese and winemakers, and new this year, an aromatherapist. Artists returning this year after a hiatus include Tom Goldschmid, woodworker; Fiona Morehouse, painter and potter; and Joshua Gold, wood-fired and soda-fired pottery.
Putney also reflects the power of the creative economy. “It’s not just the crafts studios who benefit, but area B&Bs, stores, restaurants and retailers,” Pick says. “Local shop owners say it’s their biggest weekend because of the tour.” It also affords us the opportunity to give back to the community, and each year the tour donates a percentage of work sold during the tour to the Putney Foodshelf.
Putney Craft Tour’s “Thanksgiving Weekend of Art” also features performances of “A Rafter of Crankies” by Sandglass Theater and Elemental Abstractions Works on Paper by Joe Norris at Next Stage Arts with an opening reception late afternoon on Saturday.
Visitors may start at Putney Mountain Winery, 8 Bellows Falls Road, for a preview exhibition of the artisans’ works and to pick up maps and brochures. For those visiting artists in Westminster West, a must-stop is the Congregational Church for the annual soup sale that includes a wide variety of soups, breads and baked goods, and coffee, tea and cider from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lead sponsors include Hidden Springs Maple, Putney Diner and the Putney Food Co-op.
More information is available at putneycrafts.com.
The tour will be following the guidance from the State of Vermont regarding masks and distancing. For state information, visit vermontvacation.com/travel-restrictions.
To learn about this year’s 20 makers, visit putneycrafts.com.