Annual Walpole Artisans Tour showcases diverse talents

Walpole Artisans
Chris Sherwin demonstrating his glassblowing in his studio on the Walpole Artisans Tour. Photo by Bill Lockwood

WALPOLE, N.H. – Displaying quite a diversity of “original art work and fine crafts,” the artists and crafters of the Walpole Artisans cooperative held their 17th annual tour over the Thanksgiving weekend, this time in three locations: their Walpole Artisans Shop at 52 Main Street in Walpole, the nearby Walpole Town Hall, and at the 33 Bridge St. galleries across the river in Bellows Falls. Members glassblower Chris Sherwin and musician and painter Scott Morgan have their galleries at 33 Bridge St. Sherwin, who gives demonstrations of his working with glass, said of not being actually in Walpole, “I can’t take my furnace with me.”

He says this is his 14th year being in the tour. He is on the tour committee that organized the event. He says that at one time the tour was of everyone’s individual studio, but this year they have consolidated into the three locations. He says the dynamics change every year. “New friends and old ones show up. It’s great.”

Welder Bob Taylor had his metal creations made from scrap metal, such as old railroad spikes, set up at the Walpole Town Hall site. He started participating in the tour in its second year, and he’s been there with his big metal birds and smaller creations every year since.

Newer to the event was Phillip Morgan with his wood sculptures featuring realistic birds. This is his third year. Donna Lund who creates pastels, watercolors, and prints was there for her eighth year. She noted, “This is the time of year for gift giving,” and the event is “definitely a good way of getting my work out.”

Lund was the organizer in charge of the Town Hall venue, which she said the tour has used for its last 11 years. She says the group shop has 20 members, and all of them participate in the annual tour as well as others from the area. Other artists and crafters in Town Hall were displaying their creations of glassware, paintings, photographs, notecards, leather goods, and fabric products and other related crafts.

One unique product was a collection of folk harps made by Joellen Knight. She says the small harps are used often in nursing homes and by hospice workers. She has been making them off and on for 30 years, having been taught the skill by a retired Walpole Episcopal minister and instrument maker who left her his patterns and tools.

The other venue for the tour was the Walpole Artisans gift shop that is open to the public year round. On Small Business Saturday, the shop was supervised by fiber and felted arts and knitter Carla Boyington. She says she has been with the group five or six years. She sees having the event in just three central locations as “better than at places out of the way,” but says, “It’s nice to have more than one place to visit.”

For more information about the Walpole Cooperative, go to www.facebook.com/Walpole-Artisans-Cooperative or call 603-756-3020.

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