Frog Notes Summer 2013
Issue No. 2
Cover Photo The image appearing on the cover of this issue is of George Woodard and son and was taken by Peter Miller for his new book A Lifetime of Vermont People and is available for purchase at Frog Hollow.
CONTENTS 2 4 6
From the President Education
Educating the public with video profiles.
Exhibits Traveling the state with Peter Miller.
A collection of images From â€œA Lifetime of Vermont Peopleâ€?.
Who's new at Frog Hollow.
A need to adapt.
A look at Mark Dabelstein.
Looking at ways to diversify an artists offerings.
Upcoming events, artist opportunities, call to artists and more...
From The President What is Frog Hollow? …It is a Gallery on Church Street in Burlington; ….well , yes. It is a State wide non-profit arts organization; ….well , yes. It is an organization that has been supporting Vermont artists for the past 42 years; ….well, yes. Our Mission: Frog Hollow is dedicated to the exposure and appreciation of Vermont Fine Art and Craft. Through sales, exhibitions, and education, it exists to support the local community, and to promote the awareness of the essential importance of the handcrafted. For the past 42 years, our intended mission has remained constant. How we fulfill that mission has evolved over time. 42 years ago there were few places outside of Frog Hollow to take classes in the crafts. Transferring ownership of the pottery studio at Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium to BCA was the beginning of a major shift in how we interpret our approach to education. Through the display and sales in the Gallery, we are both supporting our artists and educating the public. The Gallery is maintained to allow our artists to explore their craft and to encourage the public to experience a wide range of fine work. Rob Hunter as Executive Director, and the staff work to make that experience as rich and rewarding as possible. They are constantly working to create special exhibits, artist demonstrations, video and graphic presentation of artists work; as well as creating exhibits that travel around the state. These efforts require the support of our larger Vermont community. We are pushing the limits of displaying and presenting the craftsour mission requires us to reach further. In our Gallery we are committed to finding space for the works of new artists as they explore their craft; we are also committed to creating opportunities for more established artists to push into new areas. In these efforts we often need to choose the quality of the work over the “marketability”.
Sales in the gallery do not support this larger mission within and outside of the Gallery- and it really never has. We continue to apply for and receive a variety of State and National arts grants. We are also partnering with other organizations around the state to find opportunities to show the work of Frog Hollow artists. But it is the support of the arts community that has always sustained us.
Publisher Frog Hollow Craft Association Inc Contact Us 85 Church St. Burlington Vermont 05401 802.863.6458 email@example.com Frog Notes is published quarterly and distributed digitally to Frog Hollow artists, artisans and members. No part of this publication may be used without written permission from the publisher and/or the contributing artists. ©2013. All rights reserved. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and oversights. If you notice an error, please accept our apologies and notify us of your finding. Thank you.
There have always been fundraising efforts happening â€œbehind the scenesâ€?. Now we feel it is time to bring this into the open as an annual campaign. We are starting an Annual Fund Raising Campaign for 2013 to raise $50,000 a year. We see this as the minimal amount needed on an annual basis to allow us to continue to
support the artists in Vermont and bring these works to the public. Given the large number of artists; members and buyers that have been part of Frog Hollow over the past 42 years, that is a modest sum- if you will contribute. â€“ Brad Rabinowitz Frog Hollow Board President
Frog Hollow estimates that we have close to 1350 members and friends in our current database. If each of these individuals gave $37 we would meet our $50,000 goal. Please consider making a donation to our non-profit organization by clicking on the image above and show your support!
Educating the Public Through Video Partnerships By Doug Dunbebin
A collaboration of Frog Hollow, RETN and Burlington College provides real-world experience for students, greater exposure for Vermont artists and Frog Hollow, and engaging content for RETN Channel 16. Frog Hollow and RETN (Regional Educational Television Network) established a partnership two years ago to produce The Artists of Frog Hollow. This award-winning RETN television series profiles Vermont artists. Each episode, produced by students with guidance from professionals in the field, explores what motivates and inspires the artisans who create the work exhibited at the Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center in Burlington. The first three episodes of The Artists of Frog Hollow profiled photographer Victoria Blewer and sculptors Susan Raber-Bray and Aaron Stein. Produced by RETN student interns, these shows were honored with a first-place award at the 2013 Hometown Media Awards— the Alliance for Community Media’s national competition.
Gallery Premiere of “The Artists of Frog Hollow” videos
In the fall of 2012 Burlington College joined the partnership. Mary Arbuckle, an award-winning filmmaker and professor at the college, asked her students to create five new episodes profiling Steven Bronstein, blacksmith; Mark Dabelstein, woodworker; Wendy James, digital photo montage artist; Norton Latourelle, woodcarver; and Mark Schwabe, metalsmith. In April of 2013, the films premiered at the gallery on Church Street along with the first three films produced by RETN interns.
RETN interns hone their skills at Long trail exhibit opening
New projects are being planned for this fall. Tune in to RETN to watch episodes. The entire series may be watched anytime on RETNâ€™s website and YouTube or on the Frog Hollow website on each artists bio page and via the links on this page.
Click below to watch each video in the series.
Still from Steven Bronstein's video by Kyle Freund
RETN intern Tree Spaulding editing video.
Going Statewide By Peter Miller
Peter Miller giving a Gallery Talk about his new book at Frog Hollow Gallery.
In 1988 I decided to write a book on Vermont; a book of black and white portraits and profiles of the type of Vermonters I grew up with; hillside farmers and other people close to the soil and the pocket villages in the valley below. When this idea first took root I had just quit the best job in journalism at "Life Magazine" and moved back to Vermont. All my life I had taken portraits of Vermonters, visited with them, and photographed them in their element. So I gave the book a go and showed it to thirteen publishers who all turned it down. “No autumn foliage” they said, “No red barns” “No cows, no green pastures…just native Vermonters, who would buy a book like this?” One Vermont publisher predicted that I wouldn’t sell 2,000 books over ten years.
I accepted the challenge, remortgaged my house and for the next year I collected the photos I had taken since I was seventeen years old. I discovered that I needed a lot more photos so I traveled throughout Vermont in search of subjects. I named the book Vermont People and hired a designer and editor and together we came out with a good-looking coffee book. It was nerve racking however (the fate of my home depended on this book selling)
so I sent a bunch of press releases to the newspapers, telling them all about my David and Goliath story: myself playing the role of David, while the publishers were cast as Goliath. I also mentioned that thirteen publishers turned my book down, and that if I lost everything the book was my bicentennial gift to the state of Vermont. Soon I had an exhibition in Weston, Vermont at the Todd Gallery and sold fifty books. Shortly after I discovered the prejudice against selfpublished books (if a publisher didn’t want it, book stores didn’t either). However after the press releases came out (some of them full spreads of photographs from the book with text), one reviewer called the book a Walker Evan’s take on Vermont. Within six weeks I sold the entire edition of 3,000 books, and by 2003 I had sold 15,000 copies and the book went out of print. I put the money I earned back into more books. Keeping busy I wrote People of the Great Plains, Vermont Farm Women, The First Time I Saw Paris, Nothing Hardly Ever Happens in Colbyville Vermont, and countless more articles for various magazines.
In 2011 there was still interest in Vermont People, so at the age 78, I started to put together A Lifetime of Vermont People: 208 pages with 60 portraits and profiles of rural Vermonters. I expanded it to poets, writers, and artists (even a skiing governor). I realized that I was documenting the era I grew up in and its quick disappearance as Vermont became more homogenized and gentrified. So my legacy is Vermont’s legacy. This book is about the sixty years I spent writing and photographing the people in this state. Many of the Vermonters whom I have written about in Vermont People and Vermont Farm Woman are now icons of the independent, rural Vermonter whom one Los Angeles reviewer called “an endangered species”. I take great pride in the quality of A Lifetime of Vermont People; I am having it printed by EBS in Italy; They are matching the color-profiles for the book directly from our photos to get the best reproductions available. The book is 9x10½ inches long with 200 photographs and 60 stories. The cover is cloth bound with gold embroidery and featuring two iconic photos making this book for great display. Many of the profiles illustrate the concerns of the Vermonters I interviewed. They understood that times were changing, and that the traditions, customs, and way of life they valued were being practiced less and less. I spent the last part of 2011 and all of 2012 putting together this book. I took new portraits, interviewed these people and re-wrote old stories. A Lifetime of Vermont People has sixty more pages then Vermont People and the text is longer, for there is more to say and the subjects are not shy. In the back of the book there is a short essay on the changes I have witnessed in Vermont during the past fifty years, and a brief history of the book. Currently A Lifetime of Vermont People is being printed in Italy. Carrie Cook, the designer, has done a great job of smoothing out the stories so it is a seamless journey through the lives of these Vermonters, from the first to last pages. Kyle Green, my assistant, and I have gotten the scans into great shape and the advance copies look fantastic.
A Lifetime of Vermont People Library Tour In celebration of Peter Miller's new book
Frog Hollow has organized a state wide tour of Vermont Libraries. Each stop of the tour will host images from the book as well as a display about
Peter Miller and his efforts in writing the book as well as a “meet the artist” talk and book signing. For more information on each stop of the tour please visit WWW.FROGHOLLOW.ORG
Manchester - Mark Skinner Library July 8th to Aug 14th with an off-site gallery display at the Southern Vermont Arts Center Middlebury - Ilsley Library Aug 15th to Sept 30th Brattleboro - Brooks Memorial Library Oct 1st to 30th Woodstock - Norman Williams Library Nov 15th to Jan 2nd 2014 Stowe – Stowe Free Library Jan 15th to Feb 14th St Johnsbury -Wadsworth Atheneaum March 15th to April 14th Derby Line - Haskel Free Library April 15th to May 14th Barre – Aldrich Public Library May 15th to June 14th
Right: The Norman Williams Library in Woodstock, VT. One of many libraries spaces the exhibit will be set up in as it travels the state of Vermont.
A Lifetime of
All images are the property of Peter Miller Photography and are used here by permission of the artist. To purchase of copy of Peter Miller's book A Lifetime of Vermont People please contact our gallery or shop with us online at www.froghollow.org and click on the shop tab.
Vermont People by Peter Miller
Clock wise from top left: Anne and Jack Lazor, Goodridge Lumber, book cover image of Carol Shatney, Shaun Hill and father Brian from Hill Farmstead Brewery, Trapp Lodge Scottish Highlander, Pete Johnson of Pete's Greens, and the Lazor Farm
Adapt or Die... By Rob Hunter
Craft has become a business, a big business, generating millions of dollars within the state of Vermont. Part of this evolution is factoring in the changing economic landscape. Many components have brought about a change in how we run the business of craft, and many factors impact this seemingly delicate system. In November of 2013, following three straight years of steady growth, we saw a dramatic drop in sales. “Why?” is the question we have been asking, and more importantly “What can we do about it?”. In looking at last years sales we entered November 15% ahead of the previous year. By December's end, this number had dwindled to 4%. What was different? An election and snow filled winter are the two things most easily seen. While the election lead to shaky consumer confidence, the snow filled winter kept potential customers on the mountains and not in the valleys shopping. The “Sequester” didn't help either. As we worked our way out of this period we began to see a rise in sales beginning in May thanks to strong graduation traffic for the area colleges. Nationwide trends seemed to improve in June with retailers seeing a 4% rise in sales
42 straight days of rain set new records for the state.
Frog Hollow Executive Director Rob Hunter speaking at Church Street press conference addressing the impact of rain on tourism and retail establishments statewide..
compared to the previous years June. But in Vermont, record amounts of rain fell washing away much hope of sales in an open air mall environment like Church Street. Again we saw a shortfall. On top of all of this we see a changing landscape in marketing and consumer mentality. Technology supplies a roadblock to gallery sales beyond cutthroat pricing. Frog Hollow provides exposure of Vermont artisans to the general public in a grand and impactful way. Much like the vanishing booksellers across the country, we are seeing trends of consumers using the gallery as a research facility to then go online for direct access to artists for the end purchase. At times this is physically done in the gallery on smart phones. In many ways this is a self destructive cycle. Galleries by-passed in this manner go out of business and in turn no longer provide that exposure to the public which bring artists work to the public's attention. Walk down Church Street, or any retail heavy environment, and you will see a war being fought for consumer dollars. Turnover is high. Competition is fierce. Sales abound to combat
online rock bottom pricing where little to no overhead allow for small margins and heavy rivalry. So what can be done? With the weather improving, interest rates rising and consumer confidence returning some things are taking care of themselves. There remains a need for Frog Hollow to take a stronger look at who we are and where we fit into the community and the landscape of Vermont. Options are numerous, but for the immediate future we see a need to raise revenue and increase the flow of work through the gallery. Of course the obvious request is that artists who show with us take a more active approach in inquiring where their independent sales are coming from. The simple question of “Where did you first become aware of my work?” or “How did you find me?” is great market research for your company and a big help in deciding where your advertising money and efforts, as well as referral fees, are best sent. In an effort to speak to a new consumer mentality, Frog Hollow is developing ways to provide artists the opportunity to discount their work in the gallery for short periods of time to raise interest in individual artisans creations. In doing this, we envision a shared burden of promotional discounts while cultivating new collectors and appreciation of the work. Anyone interested in exploring this possibility is encouraged to contact the gallery and speak with me (Rob). We hope these steps will result in a positive response from the general visiting public and improved support of our artisan body, as well as our organization.
Above: Jeremy Ayers giving a pottery demonstration last holiday season. Artist demos are currently being scheduled to add an additional draw for summer time visitors. Let us know if you would like to be one of them! Right: Almost completed, updates are being made to the front window display to better convey exhibits and special events.
July Featured Artist Mark Dabelstein By Kristin Balif
Frog Hollow’s July featured exhibit will be “Game Show” by Burlington artist Mark Dabelstein. He will be displaying his creations of games and game related art pieces. Mark’s woodwork is creative, unique and fun, as well as good for the environment. He uses repurposed wood and other accessories that he finds and creates functional pieces of art. Mark explains his process saying, “Since 1989 I have been creating furniture, artwork and home accessories from salvaged and discarded materials. I take pleasure in the challenge of transforming materials that otherwise would be in the landfill into functional, well-built furnishings and also enjoy the rustic look that is created from existing character wood of nail hole ridden and beaten salvaged wood.” “Game Show” officially opened on the first Friday of the month, July 5thfrom 5-8 pm and will be on display throughout the month of July. Come get your game on and enjoy viewing and playing with some great works of art! Invader Table -red cedar, pine, douglas fir, natural oil and wax.
Photo by Lincoln Brown
PXL8TR XL -interactive interchangeable multicolor blocks to create your own 16-bit image. Made from pine blocks, paint, scrap plywood.
Two player Chinese Checkers made with scrap plywood and marbles.
Bottle-cap Backgammon set made with reclaimed materials painted with organic paint and finished off with natural wax.
Frog Hollow Welcomes 2013's Juried Artisans By Elizabeth Mercer Nora Swan and Sam Stone of Swan & Stone Millinery in Brandon had the first juried exhibit of 2013 and were accepted as artisan members in April. They create â€œEco-fabulous head wear, from the grass upâ€?. Sam and Nora's whimsical hats and fascinators are fashioned from wool, alpaca, mohair and other natural fibers. They are then adorned with unique trims, such as feathers, beads, vintage finds or metal scraps. Next, John Hodgson of South Burlington joined Frog Hollow with his decorative carved gourds. John is drawn to working with gourds because of their wide variety of organic shapes, the durability of the material and their long history in both utilitarian and decorative art. In May, Burlington artist Diane Gabriel joined Frog Hollow with her dream - like pigment print photographs. Diane's sepia toned photography, comprised primarily of still life
compositions, capture the transient quality of light and gentle interplay between the objects. In addition, we welcome Paige Canfield of Carve Designs in Calais. Paige's nature inspired greeting cards are prints of her original Japanese origami paper collages. Also in May, we hosted juried exhibits featuring the work of two artists: Polly Whitcomb and Hal Mayforth. Polly, a ceramic artist from Springfield, presented both functional pottery and assemblage. The decorative designs on her pottery are created using wax resist and sgraffito techniques. Polly's wall assemblages employ a assortment of materials, including clay, metal and paint. Hal, a painter from Montpelier, is widely known for his colorful and often humorous illustrative paintings. He presented a series of original acrylic paintings and giclee prints. Hal says his ideas â€œ are formed by my love of petroglyphs of the Southwest, outsider and self-taught artists, sideshow banners, vintage cartoons and comics and automatic drawing. What holds these influences together is a certain off-kilter sensibility that I'm told goes back many
JohnJohn Hodgson Hodgson
Swan and Stone Millinery
Diane Gabriel William Hayes
back many generations in my family historyâ€?. The feedback from their shows was positive and they both have been invited to join the gallery. The Summer lineup of juried shows is exciting. June featured the work of Cornwall pipemaker and former artisan member, Andrew Marks. Andrew sculpts one-of-a-kind pipes from briar wood burls. Andrew was one of Frog Hollow's original craftsmen in the 1970's, but he has been away from the gallery for decades,The feedback from Andrew's show is being reviewed
by our Artisan Committee and the results will be released later this month. Throughout July, printmaker William Hays of Bratteboro will exhibit his linocut prints of Vermont landscapes and coastal scenes. William's intricately layered prints are rich with texture, atmosphere and vibrant colors. Burlington jewelry artist Courtney Reckord crafts her textural jewelry from Precious Metal Clay and will be exhibiting her work in August. As always, thank you for your continued support. We hope you enjoy the work of these artists and the many other talented artists that are represented at Frog Hollow. 15
A Diverse Portfolio... By Rob Hunter
A question our artisan body continues to ask is “How can I maximize sales?” In the world of Amazon and Etsy there is a virtual competition never before known by craftspeople. In many cases bottom line pricing is overriding appreciation of quality and the support of local talent. What can be done? I recently met with Michael Swaidner, owner of Pop Color, the Williston, VT based company that prints all of Frog Hollows brochures, fundraising materials and cards. I was pleased to see a number of our artists reproduction and printed work in their samples collection. From archival limited run prints to cards to promotional materials like notebook binders and sketch books, Frog Hollow artists were imprinting their distinct images and “look” onto a variety of items that could then be marketed in increasingly competitive and different ways. Often at more accessible price points these new “arts products” provide artists the ability to sell a diverse product line while presenting a collective body of work with a strongly developed theme and focus. The fact that these complementary items are being created in the next town over from our gallery spoke to the “support local” aspect Frog Hollow has embraced for over forty years. Michael confirmed that they are seeing a more ambitious approach by local artists to market their work in a variety of ways. “We are simply trying to stay ahead of the curve by offering alternatives to the typical art print...although we do those too.” As Frog Hollow continues to work with different community members, businesses and organizations it is refreshing to see this kind of innovation being offered locally.
To the left is an example of Frog Hollow printmaker Carol MacDonald's work. It has been adapted in a variety of ways to create a more accessible product line and meet the demands of a new marketing economy without compromising her artistic vision or focus.
Opportunities and Events
Upcoming Events Open to Our Artisan Members
Call To Frog Hollow Artisans (OCTOBER): With only a handful of artists responding to our “Frogs” exhibit we have decided to change our October exhibit to a Sun themed show called “The Golden Hour; Artists response to the final hours of light”. We have been fortunate enough to partner with SunCommon on this exhibit. SunCommon will be hosting solar informational gatherings in the gallery throughout October and has offered to purchase the item from the exhibit which receives the most votes over the course of the month! If interested in submitting please contact Rob.
Call To Frog Hollow Artisans (NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER): That is right...it is already time to start thinking about the holidays! This year we would like to have a holiday exhibit in the front of the gallery which focuses on different cultures around the globe and how they celebrate the season. Below is a brief listing of possible focus areas for work... Nov 3 - 7: Diwali (Hindu) Festival of light Nov 27 - Dec 5: Channukkah Rededication, Festival of Lights Nov 28: Thanksgiving (U.S.) Dec 6: St Nicholas Day Dec 8: Bodhi Day (Buddhism) Enlightenment of the Buddha Dec 13: St Lucia's Day Dec 21: Winter Solstice Dec 25: Christmas Dec 26: Boxing Day, St Stephens Day Dec 26 - Jan 1: Kwanzaa Dec 31, Jan 1: New Years Eve and Day Check out this link for more info on different Pictured Above: Three Wise Guys by Robin Kent holidays. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/winter-holidays-around-the-world.html If interested in being part of the exhibit please contact Rob. 17
Help Us Grow!
Frog Hollow | 85 Church Street | Burlington, VT | 802.863.6458