GlitterPickle: Gateway Back To Art

Feed your soul.

There are a number of things I haven't done. One of them is to Sip and Paint. You may have seen photos of your friends doing this, gathering together somewhere--a studio, bookstore, museum--to raise a glass and follow an instructor. Each participant ends up with her own painting to take home, maybe suitable for framing. I am too intimidated. Mind you, I have bravely marched into courtrooms to represent people who are in a tough spot, in front of hostile judges. But the thought of producing art with strangers scares me. It's funny where one's courage runs weak.

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Enter GlitterPickle.  White River Junction's Sarah Maxell Crosby has developed the home version of Sip and Paint. You can order a complete painting kit from her to  use at home with your guests.  Each carton contains everything you will need: paints, brushes, canvases, and even a tablecloth for those inevitable mishaps. Instructions are included; for Crosby, this turned out to be the most challenging aspect of producing her product. She was inspired by the step-by-step instructions that come with meal kits like Blue Apron and Plated. One-page only, and easy to follow. You supply the beverages and 4 to 6 friends. Your kitchen turns into an art studio, with wine.

According to Crosby, sipping and painting is a growing industry, with over 1000 sip and paint companies in the United States and Canada; one company, Boston-based Paint Nite, earns $55 million dollars in annual revenue. Crosby has discovered that as popular as these parties have become, there are still those who might prefer to become artists in the comfort of their own homes.

The daughter of an art teacher, Crosby studied art history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Art has inspired her business. She quotes Picasso, who said "All children are artists; the problem is what to do with them when they grow up." Kids face down an expanse of canvas with no fear and abundant joy; witness any child with a box of crayons and a blank page (or wall). Crosby believes that "somewhere along the way most of us absorb ideas about what 'real art' is and who 'real artists' are, and we don't include ourselves in that category . . .In my wildest dreams, GlitterPickle could be a gateway drug back to the art store."

And the name GlitterPickle? A year ago, Crosby was shopping with her mother when they found a pickle ornament covered in glitter. Crosby liked it so much--"kind of fun to say"--that she went home and bought the domain name. On her website, (and see photo of the carton above) the pickle wears a party hat, because "above all, GlitterPickle is meant to be fun."

The late Kurt Vonnegut had advice. He believed that "practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow . . .Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories . . .(Note: He has even encouraged children to draw faces in their mashed potatoes). Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." If he were still with us, GlitterPickle would be Vonnegut-approved.

(All photos used with permission of Sarah Maxell Crosby)


I write about the arts in the Upper Valley. Please sign up to receive an email each time I post something new to this blog, ArtfulEdge, by clicking here. To view my profile page, please click here.

This is the first of a two-part blog piece. Lisa Nichols, my blogging colleague at the DailyUV, introduced me to GlitterPickle. She is inspired, and will be following up with her own piece about hosting a GlitterPickle sip and paint party at her home. Watch for the story on her blog, The Mothership.

Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge

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