Vermont PBS and Frog Hollow Spotlight Green Mountain Artisans | Live Culture

Vermont PBS and Frog Hollow Spotlight Green Mountain Artisans


"The Bear and the Poppies" by Jess Polanshek - COURTESY OF JESS POLANSHEK
  • Courtesy of Jess Polanshek
  • "The Bear and the Poppies" by Jess Polanshek

Last March, Frog Hollow Vermont Craft Gallery partnered with Vermont PBS' "Made Here" program to spotlight some of the state's star craftspeople in The Frog Hollow Green Mountain Artisans. On Tuesday, February 7, at 7 p.m., PBS will re-air this pilot episode, which was directed by local photographer and filmmaker Natalie Stultz.

It features Enosburg Falls bowl turner Alan Stirt, Burlington sculptor Kate Pond, Granville glassblower Michael Egan and Bennington jeweler Ivy Long. Three new half-hour episodes will air each Tuesday for the rest of month.

"We really wanted to represent a diversity of materials," Frog Hollow executive director Rob Hunter told Seven Days of the selection process for the pilot, "as well as a diversity of locations around the state."

Frog Hollow memberships funded the pilot and subsequent episodes. Hunter said he hopes to receive further "support and underwriting from the community when people start seeing the value [of the shows]." 

  • Courtesy of Alan Stirt
  • Bowl by Alan Stirt
The February 14 episode will use re-cut footage from an earlier series created at RETN; it features Colchester printmaker Carol MacDonald, Randolph woodworker David Hurwitz, Lincoln fine art photographer Victoria Blewer and license-plate artist Aaron Stein. The episode was created by Hunter and local filmmakers Benjamin Heitmann, Tree Spaulding and Kyra Taberman.

Hunter took the lead in directing the third episode, which will air February 21. It chronicles the life and work of Waterbury photographer Peter Miller, known for his black-and-white portraits and books including A Lifetime of Vermont People. Hunter first began to collect footage of Miller while preparing for an interactive exhibition, in which visitors will be able to listen to the photographer tell the stories behind his iconic images.
A Lifetime of Vermont People by Peter Miller - COURTESY OF PETER MILLER
  • Courtesy of Peter Miller
  • A Lifetime of Vermont People by Peter Miller
Hunter noted that he was inspired in part by Bill Phillips' 2015 documentary Sabra, on the life and work of the celebrated Vermont printmaker. "There needs to be more of this documentation of these great characters in our artisan landscape," Hunter said.

The fourth and final episode , called "Emerging Features," will debut February 28, and  focuses on  Stowe jeweler Jon Black, Jericho illustrator Jess Polanshek, Essex fiber artist Marta Sulocka and Mad River Valley ceramicist Noel Bailey. It was made by local filmmakers Jeff Caulo, Rob Lietar and Elizabeth Rossano.

"Everyone seems to bemoaning that all of our artists are graying," Hunter said. "There’s some great talent coming up — we need to pay attention and support these individuals." 

The current four episodes constitute season one of the artisan series, "and we’re trying to build season two right now," Hunter said. He hopes to continue showcasing artists by theme, as in "Emerging Features," with plans for an upcoming "Community Outreach" episode. Artists being considered are Shelburne printmaker Casey Blanchard, Burlington's A.O. Glass studio and ceramicist and Bristol Clay Studio instructor Matlak Mayforth.

Frog Hollow is hosting a meet-the-filmmakers celebration on Saturday, February 11, from 5 to 7 p.m.