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Beauty, Form, and Function: Vermont Artists Display Many Talents

Mar 24, 2022 02:22PM ● By By Dian Parker. Photography courtesy of the artists.

Tessera bowl.

There is no shortage of talent in Vermont, and the stunning work from three local artists is proof. From nature-inspired jewelry crafted with love and intention to beautiful, functional glasswork and paintings that capture the beauty of our surroundings from a new perspective, it’s well worth exploring the artwork of Elizabeth Ricketson, Nicholas Kekic, and Allison Korn.

Elizabeth Ricketson  |  Painter

Elizabeth Ricketson | Painter

Artist Elizabeth Ricketson not only finds inspiration from landscapes, animals, and floral still lifes, but she is also a lifelong runner. The discipline of running supports her daily art practice. She often rises at three in the morning to begin painting—a peaceful time of quiet when she can concentrate on her work.

Not wanting to replicate what she sees, Elizabeth paints an interpretation of what she is focused on. A Woodstock sidewalk turns into a scene from Dickens’ London. Graceful ballerinas grand jeté through muted tones of pinks and gray. Her horses gallop at full speed, their manes wild with running. Giraffes, lambs, children, cows, iconic Vermont red barns, winter scenes drenched in snow and ice, vases of sunflowers—all of these subjects interest Elizabeth. “I find the exploration of form and movement inspiring and forever a focus of study,” she says.

After acquiring a BA in English from Providence College, Elizabeth went on to have a family. When her children were very young, she decided to pursue the visual arts. She studied figure drawing at the Rhode Island School of Design on nights and weekends, juggling school with the demands of mothering.

In recent years, Elizabeth has been exploring abstract expressionism, saturating her work with vibrant colors, primarily with acrylic and oil paints. “I like to use unusual colors to represent the usual,” she says. Merging the abstract with representational themes, Elizabeth has found a new direction in her work. She also continues her devotion to running, which feeds the paintings. “The form and movement of runners have always been a place of study for me, whether it’s watching athletes race or perfecting my own running form and movement,” she says. “It’s a fascinating way for me to understand grace under pressure, as well as strength and endurance.” Painting ballerinas and racehorses is a perfect complement.

Elizabeth lives and works in South Pomfret, Vermont, with her husband Jon and their dog Cub. Her work can be found at Artistree in Pomfret, where she teaches painting classes. She also exhibits at AVA Gallery, Bryan Memorial Gallery, and at Collective–The Art of Craft in Woodstock. You might also catch her running.

Pomfret Road (30" x 36" acrylic on canvas).



Nicholas Kekic  |  Glass Artist

Nicholas Kekic | Glass Artist

The magical process of working with hot glass has intrigued and challenged artists for generations. For Nicholas Kekic, glassblowing has been and continues to be an empowering experience—a combination of chemistry, physics, and the human touch.

Nicholas was born into a glassmaking family. He took up the torch (literally) by attending a glassmaking class at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, where his father had been 20 years earlier. Today, the third-generation glassworker has had 30 years of working and playing with hot glass. “I am humbled by the material nearly every day,” he says. “One can spend a lifetime working to master its unique and curious tendencies.”

While making glass objects that are beautiful and functional is important to him, making the work responsibly has also been important. Because melting glass requires high heat to soften the material sufficiently for blowing, a lot of fossil fuels are used. In 2018, Nicholas moved his studio to a building next to a facility on the Connecticut River that generates hydroelectric power. “I can now melt and cool the glass using renewable energy from an existing carbon-neutral energy source, shrinking my carbon footprint and my impact on the climate.”

Tessera bowl.

The resulting glasswork is elegant, sleek, colorful, and impeccably made. Imagine touching one of the cool goblets to your lips. Arranging a spray of flowers in a tall, graceful vase. Decanting wine in a Rolling Red wine decanter, designed to help the wine breathe more effectively. Or illuminating a room with a pendant light in the shape of a bell that highlights the transparent and translucent properties of glass. The many colors of the designs are richly striking, whether opaque or clear.

“My focus continues to be designing and making work that is both beautiful and useful. When working with hot glass, it takes years to develop control of the material. As I’ve developed more control with the material, I allow myself to think more sculpturally, to express more about form, color, texture, and proportions.”

Transparent colored pitchers.

The artful and exacting glassworks by Nicholas can be found in many galleries in the Northeast and around the country, as well as online at his website and at Nick’s work is available at Collective–The Art of Craft in Woodstock, and you can also find him refining his designs in his studio in Bellows Falls, where he continues to make work that combines sheer beauty with excellent craftmanship.

Allison Korn  |  Jeweler

Allison Korn, Jeweler

Allison Korn uses metal-clay to make her jewelry. Different from silversmithing, the clay is created from recycled silver particles with an organic binder. The method was invented in the 1990s in Japan. Allison buys her metal-clay from a company that extracts the silver particles from old silverware, x-rays, and photographic negatives. When you wear one of her designs, around your neck dangle many stories.

Allison first learned metalworking in Ecuador. When she later learned about the metal-clay material, she educated herself through many online and in-person workshops, working diligently to improve her technique. When she moved to Vermont in 2014, she was ready to start a jewelry business, which became Allison Korn Designs. At first, she sold her work at the local Brattleboro Farmers’ Market, eventually at a number of art shows, and now her work can be found not only online but also at many art galleries throughout Vermont and New Hampshire.

The jewelry is often embedded with gemstones. “I feel like each stone has its own energy,” Allison says. “Creating a design is like I am collaborating with the stone. A blend of dreamworld and a labor of love.” The earrings, necklaces, and birthing jewelry, which celebrates and honors the process of birth, are testaments to Allison’s ethics and workmanship. “I want people who wear my pieces to feel empowered and supported and to be reminded of their resilience, bravery, and strength.”

Dawn Sky triangle studs.


People who wear Allison’s jewelry have often felt this way. “Her jewelry is poetry in solid form,” says one fan of her work, while another considers it “A daily reminder of tending to my inner light so I can share it with the world.” Another remarks, “Wearing the jewelry helps keep me connected to potential and possibility.”

Flowing Open turquoise necklace.

A passionate lover of hiking and the outdoors, Allison, along with her husband and two children, through-hiked the Long Trail this past summer, logging in 272 miles. She is also passionate about social justice and antiracism, which comes through in her art. “My personal beliefs are not separate from my art. What I care deeply about really informs the jewelry I make.” Allison Korn Designs are rustic, earthy, intimate, nature inspired, and intentional. And beautiful.

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