A master crafter, Joan Lester is River Artisans’ Artist of the Month

Artist of the Month Joan Lester sets up her display of tea-cozies and tea blends.

Artist of the Month Joan Lester sets up her display of tea-cozies and tea blends.

Joan Lester was chosen as River Artisans’ Artist for the Month of October. If you search the word “multi-talented” on the internet, you’ll probably find Joan Lester’s name. A proficient artisan and chef, it seems whatever she learns, she masters.

Lester’s love of all things crafty began at the age of four when a neighbor taught her how to make shoes for her dolls out of ribbons. This sparked her lifelong passion for learning about, teaching and creating hand-crafted items.

Originally from Bermuda with its British influences and with 20 years in Vermont, it’s no surprise that the sea, the scenery and tea fuel her interests. Always seeking new sources of inspiration and outlets for sharing her work, she finds that being part of the River Artisans gives her opportunity to do both. Lester joined the cooperative 20 years ago, serving as its president for two years. Within the next few months, she is looking forward to teaching classes on crochet and how to set up an Etsy shop at the e-commerce site.

Many of Joan’s creations are available in the shop including: jewelry; crocheted hats and baby items, and teas and tea-cozies at our shop. Lester’s work can also be purchased online at her popular Etsy shop, Sunshine Cottage found at www.etsy.com/shop/sunshinecottage. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sunshinecottage1.

Serenity, fragrances and quality featured this month

Flo Nestor, our the featured artist for September

Flo working at home on her beautiful creations

Flo working at home on her beautiful creations

Flo Nestor has been named September’s Artist of the Month. Nestor, a newcomer to our cooperative, is the owner of Common Scents Sachet, a business she began almost two years ago. She enjoys working at home in a room filled with elegant fabrics, spools of colorful ribbons, bins of vintage buttons and beads, and the calming scents of lavender, balsam and holiday potpourris. She feels that creating beautiful items others can treasure and enjoy makes her efforts very rewarding.

Nestor retired in 2010 after teaching for 41 years. During her last years as an educator, she designed and implemented a gifted and talented program that included performing and visual arts for the public elementary schools in Brattleboro, Vt. Through the years she has been a designer and creator of costumes, clothing, draperies and a variety of crafts. Flo has enjoyed sewing and knitting gifts for family and friends. It was during the designing of her daughter-in-law’s gown and bridesmaids’ dresses that set her on the road to a new venture. Working with the beautiful silk fabrics inspired her to focus on designing one-of-a-kind sachets. Her product line offers sachets and eye pillows for men and women from quality cottons and linens with fragrances including lavender and balsam; apple and spice potpourri pumpkins; and balsam-scented favors for the holiday dinner table.

SAChet_RAC0007wChoose from a selection of Flo’s sachets and aromatic eye pillows at our shop. We are open year round: hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Tues.–Fri.; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat. and Sun. For more information on Flo’s work or the River Artisans Cooperative, call 869-2099, visit www.riverartisans.com or come in to the shop.

Special orders are available for bridal and baby showers, wedding favors and hostess gifts. Contact Flo directly by email at flo@sover.net or through www.etsy.com/shop/CommonScentsSachet.

Pat Bellows August Artist of the Month


Seamstress par excellence Pat Bellows

We are featuring the work of Pat Bellows for the month of August. An excellent seamstress, Pat’s creations include a varied assortment of clothes for American Girl dolls, quilts, bags, aprons and wall hangings. She also collaborates with another member of the cooperative who makes doll bunk beds, which are outfitted with Pat’s original quilts, mattress and pillows. These unique bed sets do not stay in the shop for long, but the two artists are always ready to create replacements, each in new colors and patterns.

As a member of the cooperative, Pat can often be found clerking in the shop, which is open on weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. She is available to help people with sewing questions and from time to time offers sewing project workshops. To get more information, stop in or call the shop during business hours at 802-869-2099.

River Artisan’s Featured Artist Carolyn Harris

2_IMG_3664The River Artisans Cooperative in Saxtons River, Vt. has chosen Carolyn Harris as the July Artist of the Month. Carolyn is a seamstress who creates a wide variety of items using colorful and lively printed cloth. Her work includes placemat and napkin sets, aprons, potholders, bags and purses, wall hangings, and baby bibs and caps.

After being a member of the River Artisans for only two years, Harris was elected co-president of the cooperative at the annual meeting in April. She has been sewing most of her life, first learning the skill at 10 years of age with her grandmother’s treadle machine. She tackles difficult projects with great skill, creating multi-pocketed wallet organizers and other goods that are not only beautiful to look at, but that will stand the test of time.

A retired school guidance counselor, she remains active, skiing and volunteering at Stratton Mountain in the winter and kayaking, biking and hiking in the summer. She also enjoys doing cross stitch, needlepoint and knitting. She works regularly in the shop, and welcomes questions about sewing anytime that she is on duty.

The River Artisans Cooperative is located in the center of Saxtons River village, at 26B Main St. Open year round, hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Tues.–Fri., and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat. and Sun. Over fifty juried members keep the store filled with a wide variety of items, each finely crafted by hand and priced reasonably. Interested artists may apply for membership at any time. For more information on Carolyn’s work or the River Artisans Cooperative, call 869-2099, or come in to the shop.

Painter, Collage Artist Jeanette Staley Artist of the Month

This month’s featured artist at the River Artisans Cooperative is painter and collage artist, Jeanette Staley. Her painting career has spanned over 30 years while single parenting three kids and keeping a house, a garden, a small menagerie and various full time jobs.

As proprietor of an art studio in Hudson, Mass. for 12 years, she provided a venue to support emerging visual and performing artists and musicians. Staley taught classes in painting and collage to students of all ages and organized and executed group and individual art exhibits. In 2001 she closed the Art Center relocating to Vermont where she continues to teach and paint. Awarded a Creation Grant through the Vermont Arts Council in 2005, she took this creative opportunity to produce a new series of large works combining painting and collage. These large paintings, often incorporating ripe, curvaceous pears and enticing apples, led to studies of smaller work, eventually finding their way onto boards. Staley’s recent position on a Vermont farm informs her most recent work. Turnips, potatoes and eggplant, cows, chickens and ducks have found their way from the farm into her studio. These small paintings are sold in selective galleries throughout New England.

The shop is open weekdays from 12–5 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. For more information, call the shop at 802-869-2099 during work hours.

Click on the images above to see the full piece of art. 


River Artisans Tag and Bake Sale May 24

The River Artisans Annual Tag Sale and Bake Sale takes place from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat. May 24 in front of St. Edmund’s Church on Main Street in Saxtons River. There’ll be assorted second-hand and new items offered at bargain prices. Come buy, or donate items to help the non-profit cooperative with overhead expenses for the shop. For more information call 802-869-2099.

Last minute special gifts

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The River Artisans Cooperative is grateful for your business and wants you to know that we are open Sunday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. for last minute MOTHERS DAY gifts. Remember we also have gift certificates if you are not quite sure what Mom might like.

Tag and Bake Sale coming up

ALSO – We are having a tag sale and bake sale on SATURDAY MAY 17 to raise funds to help with our overhead expenses. If you have items to donate to this sale, they may be dropped off at the shop, or (preferably) on the day of the sale in front of St. Edmund’s Church, two doors east of the shop, where the sale will take place.

Thank you for considering the River Artisans when you are shopping for gifts or looking for that unique hand made item!