October 31, 2014

Open Studio Weekend: Artwork of note

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ArtWknd-Stone-Vibrations-Fiddler328By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

The tunes at the Brick Church Music Series get locals’ toes tapping and heads bobbing—but local artist Nancy Stone felt the music’s movement in her hands.

“At the first concert, I felt something happening,” she said. “My hand wanted to be drawing.”

Stone started sketching at the concerts—capturing the feel and movement of the music in a notebook full of line drawings over four years.

“I just let loose with the drawings and the shadows,” she said. “I realized this was like a diamond mine that I could go and mine.”

Her sketching inspired “Line Notes,” a window installation of 60 drawings on translucent paper, and a series of layered watercolor paintings in handmade triptych books called “Vibrations.”

Residents can experience the series—along with many of Stone’s other works—this weekend. Stone, whose studio is located at 294 Old Creamery Road, is among 242 Vermont artists and craftspeople who will open their studios to the public this weekend in the 21st annual Spring Open Studio Weekend.

May 25 and 26, bright yellow signs along Vermont’s roadsides lead visitors to studios displaying paintings, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, glassware, furniture making and countless creative endeavors.

The weekend is intended as a statewide celebration of local artists, as well as the visual and creative process, organized by the Vermont Crafts Council.

The council created maps charting various daylong of half-day loops art lovers can take to experience a variety of studios, available on its website, www.vermontcrafts.com. Studios are open in neighboring towns of Hinesburg, Shelburne, Richmond, Jericho, Essex and more.

Stone said visiting an artist’s studio is an entirely different experience from a gallery visit.

“Whenever you go into someone’s studio, you start to see the tools…it’s the whole feel of the place of creation, rather than the creations on the wall,” she said.

She also said it’s an easy and low-key way to meet artists and experience their work.

“Half, or more than half, of the fun is talking to people about the creative process,” she said. “(Visitors) can just bop in, chat, look around and leave.”

St. George multimedia artist Sean Dye is also set to display his work at his studio, located at 681 Willow Brook Lane. Dye could not be reached for comment before press deadline.

Stone has been involved in book art for years—creating elaborate paper designs and hand-stitching words and designs.

“With books, it’s the ceremony of opening it, and traveling through time,” she said.

She said she also loves watercolor, letting go of some of the precise control over each brushstroke.

“I like to play, rather than knowing what I’m going to do,” she said.

For her “Vibrations” series, she used a self-developed technique she calls poured watercolor. She soaks mostly empty, dried up tubes of paint to get the last bit of pigment out of them, then pours the diluted paint over fabric or lace to get a pattern evoking the type of music portrayed.

Her work will also be displayed at a show titled “Drawn to Music,” at Burlington’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul from June 4 – Aug. 29, along with sculpture and mixed-media artist Melinda White-Bronson, who created sculptures inspired by music.

Several musicians will perform during the show, including Williston musician Michael O’Connor, who is composing music based on the “Drawn to Music” art with harpist Monika Baege—a turnaround of the show’s theme.

“Music has always been special to me,” O’Connor said. “I got into doing open tuning (a type of guitar tuning), and open tuning is really kind of an outlet for me.”

O’Connor said an image or piece of art often inspires him to come up with a new melody. He talked with Stone and White-Bronson to understand what their art meant to them, then used that to write a meaningful song.

“Once I get to know a little bit about what those images mean … for me it’s a matter of putting a melody to it and writing a song,” he said.

O’Connor and Baege are set to perform at the show’s opening, scheduled for June 7 from 5 to 8 p.m.

For more information about the “Drawn to Music” show, visit www.stpaulscathedralvt.org/cathedral-arts.

For more information about the Open Studio Weekend and to see a map of participating locations, visit www.vermontcrafts.com or call 223-3380.

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