Vermont North by Hand Studio Tours are timed to coincide with the brightest fall colors along the upper reaches of the Connecticut River and in the rolling hills just to the west. Scheduled for Oct. 5-6, the open studios are a chance to view fine art and crafts, meet the creators, and travel beautiful back roads between sites.
According to potter Bruce Murray, this event began a decade ago with a cluster of craftspeople in the hill towns that are still at the heart of the tour. Murray’s studio, an 18th-century timber-frame barn, is on a byway heading from the river (and Interstate 91) into the hills. His work, as that of most participants, is sold widely but only in his studio do you see its scope, from butter dishes to wall pieces.
“In a gallery you see a piece of work alone,” says photographer Linda Bryan of Newbury. “It’s much more interesting to see it along with the person who creates it and to see how they work.”
It’s also fascinating to see the ways in which artists depict their surroundings. In her home studio in Newbury, Judith Lerner paints skillful, fanciful, and deeply colored renditions of the neighboring Connecticut River oxbow in its wide valley, backed by high peaks to the west.
Downriver in her third-floor Bradford studio overlooking the river and Mount Moosilauke, Stephanie Gordon uses pigmented wax to create luminous landscapes with varied surfaces. The drive to East Topsham is up through the kind of woods and meadows that Ralph Peck depicts in the deftly-colored etchings hung throughout his 18th-century home and studio.
The 21 tour participants include a varied mix of craftspeople. Susan Bradford’s studio, housed in a brick manse on North Main Street in Bradford, is a trove of colored sheepskin coats and hats in original designs, which sell for much more in top Boston crafts galleries.
“In winter you should be colorful as well as warm,” advises Kathryn Price, who weaves hand-dyed, hand-woven scarves and shawls in striking colors and designs. Price is one of several craftspeople who will be showcasing work at the Corinth Town Hall, also the tour’s main food stop. A gallery, two woodworkers, a stained-glass artist, and collage artist also welcome visitors in Corinth.
Signs and arrows will supplement a printed map-guide. See www.vermontnorthby hand.org.