For 30 years, Charlet and Peter Davenport have opened the fields surrounding their Woodstock home to sculptors who fashion the familiar materials of Vermont — granite, wood, field stone and fencing wire — into fanciful creations.
And then the couple welcome visitors to behold those creations as they wish — no admission fee, open 365 days a year, stop by anytime there’s light in the sky.
And why not?
“We have land, and what do you do with land?” Charlet tells me as she leads me on a tour of the fields unfolding around their restored 1836 farmhouse. “We’ve always shared this place.”
Below: Charlet stands in front of When Sky Was Earth, by Herb Ferris:
On Saturday, the couple will stage the formal summer opening for a Sculpturefest ‘18, an exhibition featuring 32 artists — more than half of them women.
“I found I had, I think, only four women last year,” says Charlet, herself an artist who began as a painter before moving to crafting large installations with ceramics. “So I sought out some new young women.”
Sabrina Fadial is one of the creatives. I caught up with the South Barre sculptor as she twisted galvanized fencing wire and mild steel into a 35-feet-long leaf set into the hillside at 509 Prosper Road west of Woodstock Village.
Often, she uses a welding torch to bind her metallic creations together. But this time, she said, she used plastic packing tape as a temporary fix and found that it held up — a surprisingly permanent bit of impermanence.
“This has been the most delightful mistake I ever made.”
John Hikory is a returning artist, a man who used to carve memorials — “saints and soldiers,” he says — as part of the vibrant sculptor community working near the Barre granite quarries.
Now based in Windsor, he uses his tools to follow his imagination to more abstract places, like “A Walk in the Park.”
Below: Mima the Sculpturefest Corgi enjoys A Walk in the Park by John Hikory.
Like most of the pieces on display at Sculpturefest, Hikory’s sculpture is for sale. Charlet Davenport says the prices have ranged from $500 to $30,000 and she receives a commission on any sales. But sales are relatively few and neither she nor the artists are in it primarily for the money.
“I enjoy looking at this,” Hikory says with a laugh. “Why would I want somebody else to own it?”
Below: Winged Gate by Murray Dewart
Below: Figures by Sande French Stockwell
Below: Fitting In, by Hector Santos
Below: Brake Dancers, by Robert Markey
Below: Passage, by Jay Mead
Below: Breath, by Ria Blass
Below: Home Dream Home by Rob Hitzig
Below: Plunge, by Paul Machalaba
Below: Field Notes on Visual Jazz, by Roger Goldenberg