Craft, Culinary and Performance: 39th Annual Putney Craft Tour celebrates the arts

PUTNEY — The town will celebrates "Craft, Culinary and Performance" Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24 through 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, with performances and culinary specials in participating restaurants highlighted by the 39th Putney Craft Tour.

Both Sandglass Theater and Next Stage will be offering artful opportunities for tour goers as part of the weekend.

This Top Ten Vermont event, the oldest continuous crafts tour in North America, features open studios of some of Vermont's most prominent craftspeople including glass blowers, potters, jewelers, weavers, woodworkers — even artisan cheese and winemakers. Five new artisans join the tour this year including Tom Goldschmid, wooden bowls; Kim Grall, gourd art; Rachel Shaw, mittens made out of felted recycled wool sweaters; Phil Pellerin, "junk art"; and Colleen Grout, encaustic painting or wax painting.

Goldschmidt came to the area in 1971, an early immigrant in the last half century's back-to-the-land movement. Since then he says his whole life has been some form of woodworking. He makes wooden bowls not just to be observed, but also to be used.

Kim Grall is a multi media artist with a BFA from the University of Utah. Her gourd work reflects all of her many interests from a love of birds, painting, drawing, music, photography printmaking, carving, fiber arts and gardening. She says that gourds are the perfect way to embrace all of these.

Rachel Shaw has been making mittens out of felted recycled wool sweaters since 2008. A good friend, a bag of tiny, moth-nibbled, brightly colored cashmere sweaters and a bolt of fleece, inspired her own Vermont mitten factory.

"Every pair is one of a kind, and artfully crafted to be both very warm and aesthetically pleasing," she said.

Phil Pellerin says he thrives on taking what other people consider junk and making something beautiful or functional out of it. He calls his art "VTFarmerArt."

Educator Colleen Grout has been painting on the coast of Maine for years. Five years ago she discovered the joy of working in encaustics or wax painting.

"The fun begins as I relinquish an element of control because the wax has a mind of its own," said Grout. "I love the luminous translucency, the thickness of the medium and the ability to add texture in so many forms."

As part of the Putney Craft Tour weekend, Sandglass Theater honors the retiring of Eric Bass's award winning solo, Autumn Portraits. Sandglass' longest touring piece of repertoire will perform on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, at 7:30 p.m. for the last time. This show remains a staple of the Sandglass artistic vision and a meaningful influence in the lineage and art of puppetry globally today.

Tickets for Autumn Portraits are $18 general and $16 for students and seniors, available by emailing Getting tickets in advance is highly encouraged as seating is limited. You may also phone the box office at 802-387-4051. Reservations are payable by cash or check at the door. Sandglass Theater is an accessible, 60 seat theater in the heart of Putney.

The Gallery at Next Stage presents "Edgeland: Recent Drawings," by Nancy Storrow. The Gallery will be open on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the tour weekend.

Restaurants offering Putney Craft Tour specials include JD McCliments Pub offering a crafty burger, grass-fed local beef, red pepper & onion confit and Cabot Cheddar with hand-cut fries, along with a special dessert item, Apple Delight with vanilla ice cream and a touch of whipped cream. Katy's Great Food Putney Craft Tour special is salmon seafood chowder made with local vegetables. The General Store will offer a free cup of coffee with every sandwich purchased during the tour weekend. The Gleanery's special for the tour is flaky crust misty knoll chicken pot pie.

In addition to the five new artists on the tour, the following 18 artisans will open their studios and most will be demonstrating: Jeanne Bennett, jewelry; Judy Hawkins, landscape painting, Nancy Calicchio, landscape painting; Parish Hill Creamers; Josh Letourneau, freestyle hand-blown glass; David Mischke, decorated functional pottery; Fiona Morehouse, creative clay and expressive paintings, Ken Pick, pottery; Dena Gartenstein Moses, hand-woven tencel & rayon chenille wearables; Green Mountain Spinnery; Edel Byrne, stained glass panels, candle holders, sun catchers and ornaments; Deborah Lazar, fine art painting and photography; Putney Mountain Winery. Stop in for a tasting; Jesse Fox, bicycles; Robert Burch and Nancy Gagnon, hand-blown glass; Ryan Burch, functional ceramics; Caitlin Burch, Lampwork jewelry and hand-blown glass; Julia Brandis, stained glass panels and lamps.

Tour-goers can also win a $50 gift certificate to a studio of the winner's choice. Participants simply take photos as they visit the different studios. Instagram users can post three photos to: #putneycrafttourphotocontest. For those who don't use Instagram, email submissions directly to: There is a limit of three images per contestant.

Visitors may start at The Gleanery Restaurant, 133 Main Street, Putney for a preview exhibition of the artisans' works. The tour will also be helping to raise funds for the Putney Foodshelf. Each studio will have an object for sale with a percent of the proceeds going to the Putney Food Shelf. For more information, please go to


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