Wind and Tree
January 24, 2015, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s a colored clay pinch pot (un-fired as of now) based on my mother’s fiber collage that was inspired by a poem by Paul Muldoon titled “Wind and Tree”:

Often when the wind has gathered
the trees together and together
one tree will take
another in her arms and hold

This is one of the pieces I have made for the show that will happen at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center opening March 14th of my mother’s fiber work and my clay work inspired by it.



BWA Stroll show moves to The River Garden
July 3, 2014, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Artwork

IMG_0129IMG_0138IMG_0136IMG_0133Brattleboro-West Arts is collaborating with Strolling of the Heifers on this show, which just moved from The Works Bakery Cafe across Main Street to the Stroll’s new home at The River Garden. The Stroll’s Farm Tour this year included five very special farms, and Brattleboro-West Arts visited those farms to get inspiration for the artwork in the show.

The farms are Deer Ridge Farm, the Bunker Farm, Cortland Hill Orchard, the Robb Family Farm and the Franklin Farm. The show will be on view in July and August at the River Garden.

There will be an opening reception during July’s Gallery Walk which will be on Friday July 13th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Participating artists are:

  • Kris McDermet (fabric art: rug hooking and braiding)
  • Gene Parulis, photography
  • Walter Slowinski, ceramics and wood construction
  • Janet Picard, painting
  • Naomi Lindenfeld, ceramics
  • Steve Lloyd, painting
  • Ron Karpius, painting/sculpture
  • Sharon Myers, sculpture/printmaking.

You can read an artist’s statement from each artist with stories about their experiences visiting the farms and how they got inspired to create their works of art.  In the case of clay artists’ Walter Slowinski and Naomi Lindenfeld, wood was used from the actual barn at Bunker Farm that is depicted in their works when one wall of the barn was dismantled for reconstruction.

There are some added artworks at The River Garden show that were not at The Works Cafe.  Ron Karpius has a duo of paintings of an apple tree, Steve Lloyd has a series of pencil drawings of farm scenes along with some newly added photographs by Gene Parulis.

BWA members have creative teaching careers – article in Southern Vermont Arts & Living Magazine by BWA jeweler, Chris Lann
July 10, 2013, 12:10 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Creative careers:

Tucked in the hills of Southern Vermont, Brattleboro-West Arts members make beautiful art and live rich lives

By Chris Lann

West Brattleboro basket maker Jackie Abrams’ studio shelves are filled with sculptural woven baskets.

The body of her own creative work sits side by side with pieces that exemplify the traditional techniques she teaches. Walls and doors are covered with photos of people she’s met and taught in her travels around the world. As much as in her vessels, Abrams has woven a career of colorful strands, fitting art and teaching to good purpose.

“I have a really rich life,” she says.

Abrams is a member of Brattleboro-West Arts, a group of nearly three dozen artists who create their art and make their homes in and around the watershed of the Whetstone Brook in West Brattleboro, Marlboro, and Dummerston. Spreading awareness of the local arts is a key component of BWA’s mission.

Marta Bernbaum, another BWA member, clearly agrees: “For me, glass making is an addiction. It’s something I’m excited about, and I love getting other people excited about it,” she says. Bernbaum has taught workshops throughout New England for about 12 years, and is gearing up to offer classes in the West Brattleboro glass studio she shares with her husband, Josh Bernbaum.

“(Glass is) alchemistic at times and magic, and it’s like nothing else they’ve experienced,” she says of her students. “There’s this ‘wow’ moment for them.”

And that “wow” can launch a creative career. Bernbaum recalls asking a class, “Who wants to sculpt?” Only one student, Joe Peters, raised his hand, but eagerly. Bernbaum remembers he jumped in with gusto, experimenting with creating a praying mantis in glass.

SOVAL-02.feat.bratt_west.A_Woman_of_Consequence_web-2-800-600-80“That caught him so passionately that he started putting in 18 hours a day,” Bernbaum says. “He’s now top of the line,” teaching classes himself at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and exhibiting his glass creatures nationally.

Naomi Lindenfeld, another BWA member and the ceramics teacher at The Putney School for the past 15 years, also knows the satisfaction of seeing her students succeed. Students of hers have won honors in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards three years running — and their accomplishments certainly won’t end there.

After taking his first ceramics class with Lindenfeld and graduating from The Putney School in 2003, Joey Foster Ellis went on to become the first American to graduate from China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. Now, at 28, he sees his functional sculptures commissioned by the likes of Greenpeace; he was named a TEDGlobal Fellow; and his works have exhibited at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and have homes in the private collections of George W. Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

From Southern Vermont to the world

In addition to exhibiting her baskets in galleries and museums, Abrams has traveled the globe, going beyond simply teaching a skill in her efforts to effect broader change. A former fifth-grade and preschool teacher, Abrams teaches workshops in traditional basket-making techniques in the United States and as far as Australia.

But increasingly, she has been drawn to projects with social and environmental benefits. Since 2005, she has used her expertise to teach women in Ghana and Uganda to support their villages by selling purses they weave from discarded trash bags.

“I’ve tried to develop a microcraft industry that is composed primarily of women,” says Abrams. “They have to be able to make the work and sell the work and do everything on their own without me. The idea is to make it sustainable and not dependent on me at all, so that … they have a life that is a good life for them.”

SOVAL-02.feat.bratt_west.5027967040_2dd18f5948_o“By artists sharing their lives and what they’ve discovered, it shares a great wealth of meaning with another body of people,” says Doug Cox, a violin maker and the executive director of the Arts Council of Windham County.

Cox has hosted instrument makers from Norway, Russia, and Nebraska who’ve benefitted from his experience of 30 years and 800 instruments. And why?

“The growth of the artistic community is not in people having the opportunity to consume more art; it’s in people being able to be part of the artistic process. Teaching our craft is one of those ways,” Cox says.

Kittywhiskers Urn
May 6, 2013, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Kittywhiskers urn with glass kitty knob
This is Kittywhiskers urn made by throwing colored porcelain and then carving into the surface to reveal the striations. In the week before she died I pressed her paw into the clay so that she has her own mark in it (on lower left raised area). The glass kitty knob is made by BWA member, Marta Bernbaum. The glass has some of Kittywhiskers ashes rolled into it. Our dear kitty passed away on March 21st at the age of 19 and we now have this urn filed with her ashes (after scattering some) to remember and honor her by.

New Pinch Boxes
April 4, 2011, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Artwork

by Naomi Lindenfeld

I’ve been having fun making small boxes from pinch pots with my layered colored clay.

Two pinch boxes
Two pinch boxes

After pinching a bowl,  I then square the shape and push it in on each side. I make a slab lid and pinch in the sides to hug the bottom.  When it dries some I carve into the surface and follow the pattern in the colored clay.  They have a rounded look, have some texture from the carving and I think that they’re pretty sweet.