Debbi Wetzel April Featured Artist

Debbi Wetzel

Debbi Wetzel

Debbi Wetzel is this month’s Artist of the Month. Debbi is a nationally renowned artist who has partnered with her husband, Adam, in creating functional wooden-ware for over 30 years. Adam handcrafts the small boxes, lazy susans and switch plates that Debbi paints in her colorful, folk-art style. They also purchase locally made splint baskets that Debbi decorates. In addition, she enjoys painting custom house portraits and Vermont village scenes on canvas. Currently, she is working on her chickadee series for spring.

As an active RAC member she works in the store, is a member of several committees, teaches classes at the shop and does many of the River Artisan signs. She and her husband participate in a number of craft shows throughout the year, and help to design the T-shirts for the annual 4th of July celebration in Saxtons River. She also volunteers at the Rockingham Free Public Library in Bellows Falls. As if she’s not busy enough, she has taken her grandson Oliver under her creative wing, mentoring his emerging talent.

Over 50 juried members keep the store filled with a wide variety of items, each finely crafted by hand. New artists are welcome and may apply for membership at any time. For more information on Debbi’s work or the River Artisans, please call 802-869-2099, visit or visit the store.

Ella McIntosh chosen as our featured artist

Ella McIntosh

Ella McIntosh

Ella Bullock McIntosh has been selected as this month’s featured artist at the River Artisans Cooperative. She is a mural painter who has branched out into painting roofing slates. The slates provided to her by a friend in the roofing business, are transformed into colorful wall art. She also does private commissions for pet portraits.

In 2003, McIntosh moved to Vermont from California. After being laid off, she decided to take up her paintbrush again. In 2013, she was encouraged to join the Cooperative and has found it to be a rewarding experience. She is motivated by the support of her fellow artists and volunteers at the retail store regularly. Come in to the RAC shop at 26 B Main St. see Ella’s work. She may be there to greet you.

For more information on Ella’s work or the River Artisans Cooperative, call 869-2099, visit or come into the store.

Feb 28: Blue Lights Closing Event

The culminating event for “Blue Lights for Winter Nights” in Saxtons River will be held on Friday Feb. 28 from 5–8 p.m. Attendees are asked to dress in blue as they gather to enjoy some special treats and chase away the winter blues with music and good food.

The River Artisans and The Saxtons River Market are extending their hours. The Market will serve free hot cider and our shop will have “blue dot specials” as well as door prizes during the three hour event. The Worn Again resale shop will keep their doors open offering half price on blue tags and all blue clothing.

Across the street  The Saxtons River Inn, will award prizes based on customers’ blue clothing and live music (including the blues) by “Triology,” with Franz Robert II on keyboard, Thomas Durnford on bass and Bill Ballard on alto saxophone. Ballard, from Saxtons River, is a well known fixture at the Vermont Jazz Center, where he participates in student ensembles, the Wednesday Night Jam Session and the summer workshop. In addition to jazz, he has played in contra dance ensembles, sung in MSA Gilbert & Sullivan productions, and entertains on the sidewalk for the Saxtons River 4th of July celebration. Franz Robert II is from Dummerston Center and is a junior at the Compass School. He has studied piano with Vladimir Odinokikh at the Brattleboro Music Center and currently studies with Eugene Uman at the Vermont Jazz Center. Thomas Durnford, from Keene, NH, is a student at Vermont Academy and currently studies bass with Steve Cady.

At the other end of the village, Pleasant Valley Brewing will host Rocky Roberts and Friends at 8 p.m. Their music is described as “real country with bluesy overtones.” Rocky was Neil Young’s guitar tech for the last 40 years and is currently touring with My Morning Jacket. The rest of the band is made up of local superstars Matt Sharff, Bethanie Yeakle, Don Macauley (who is The Rolling Stones drum tech), and Bob Hennessey (The Ware River Club.) The chef will offer some blue themed specials and blue drinks will be offered at the bar.

Organizers invite all to come out and enjoy the company of friends and neighbors in the village during this final February “Blue Lights for Winter Nights” event. For more information call 802-869-2729.

Franklin Geist featured artist

Franklin spends much of his time in his workshop.

Franklin spends much of his time in his workshop.

The River Artisans Cooperative announces woodworker Franklin Geist has been selected as this month’s featured artist. Franklin’s expertise in woodworking has produced beautiful cutting boards, lamps, rolling pins and rocking toys for children. All are for sale in the shop. He uses many hardwoods such as maple, cherry, black walnut, oak, ash, birch, basswood and poplar much of which he cuts down from his own property in Saxtons River.

In 2004, after 43 years as a math teacher and coach, Geist retired–now volunteers his time to civic and academic organizations as well as pursuing many hobbies and interests. He has been an invaluable help in the operations and maintenance of RAC. To find more on Geist and examples of his quality work by visiting the shop or his web page on the website:

RAC is very active in February. Along with being a sponsor and participating member of Saxtons River village’s “Blue Lights for Winter Nights”, they will be continuing their Sunday workshops program that includes classes in needle felting, crochet and painting 4-seasons mini- canvases.

The RAC’s Valentine’s Day celebration is on Friday Feb. 14 with a sweet treat given to customers with purchases over $10.

On the weekend of Feb. 15–16, River Artisans will hold an ongoing bake sale and indoor tag sale to benefit the non-profit cooperative.