Art Notes: Family makes new home for art in Windsor

Angie Follensbee-Hall, left, her husband, Joshua Hall, middle, and their daughter Isabella Hall, right, have started a new gallery, Jai Studios Gallery and Gifts in the Windsor House in Windsor, Vt., where they spoke with Alex Hanson, of the Valley News on Tuesday, August 29, 2023. Follensbee-Hall makes art with her own hand-made paper, Joshua Hall is a music teacher at Richmond Middle School and a candle maker, and Isabella Hall is cartoonist. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Angie Follensbee-Hall, left, her husband, Joshua Hall, middle, and their daughter Isabella Hall, right, have started a new gallery, Jai Studios Gallery and Gifts in the Windsor House in Windsor, Vt., where they spoke with Alex Hanson, of the Valley News on Tuesday, August 29, 2023. Follensbee-Hall makes art with her own hand-made paper, Joshua Hall is a music teacher at Richmond Middle School and a candle maker, and Isabella Hall is cartoonist. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — James M. Patterson

Isabella Hall, a 2023 graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, has started a new gallery, Jai Studios Gallery and Gifts, with her mom, Angie Follensbee-Hall, and dad, Joshua Hall, at the Windsor House in Windsor, Vt. In addition to her comics, her mother's hand-made paper art, and her dad's candles, the family said they are drawing on their connections with other Upper Valley artists and artisans who they respect to fill the gallery. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Isabella Hall, a 2023 graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, has started a new gallery, Jai Studios Gallery and Gifts, with her mom, Angie Follensbee-Hall, and dad, Joshua Hall, at the Windsor House in Windsor, Vt. In addition to her comics, her mother's hand-made paper art, and her dad's candles, the family said they are drawing on their connections with other Upper Valley artists and artisans who they respect to fill the gallery. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Several pieces of art by Angie Follensbee-Hall hang in her studio at Jai Studios, Gallery and Gifts in Windsor, Vt., on Tuesday, August 29, 2023. Part of Follensbee-Hall's motivation to open the gallery was to have an attached studio space with water where she can make paper for her projects. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Several pieces of art by Angie Follensbee-Hall hang in her studio at Jai Studios, Gallery and Gifts in Windsor, Vt., on Tuesday, August 29, 2023. Part of Follensbee-Hall's motivation to open the gallery was to have an attached studio space with water where she can make paper for her projects. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

By ALEX HANSON

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 08-31-2023 4:47 PM

For a long time, Angie Follensbee-Hall carried in the back of her mind the idea of opening an art gallery with a studio attached.

She saw it as a place where she could both make and show her art work, which consists of her own handmade paper combined with other media.

But sometimes an idea needs a push, and Follensbee-Hall received one from the elder of her two daughters, Isabella Hall. The newly minted graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies said, in effect, “Mom, we should open a gallery.”

That was in early July. On Friday, mother and daughter, along with husband and father Josh Hall, will open Jai Studios Gallery and Gifts in a prime spot on Windsor’s Main Street, in the Windsor House.

“Mom and I are kind of our enablers,” Isabella Hall said. “When she has an idea, I’m like, ‘Go for it,’ ” and vice versa.

In addition to providing space for Follensbee-Hall’s work, there’s a table devoted to Isabella’s comics and other graphic design work, and another holding Josh’s handmade candles. A family that has made a life in the arts is deepening their involvement.

Josh and Angie grew up in Claremont and graduated from the city’s Stevens High School, in 1993 and 1994, respectively. Angie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Plymouth State in 1998 and an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont in 2020. She’s also a longtime yoga teacher. Josh developed a career in music, studying at Ithaca College and becoming a teacher. He’s in his 27th year at Richmond Middle School in Hanover.

Isabella first sold her artwork at Cornish Town Hall to fund a trip to a camp for children with diabetes. The validation of selling enough work to attend the camp fueled her desire to make a life in art, she said.

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The family also hopes to give more artists and artisans an opportunity to display and sell their work, and to expand the notion of what constitutes art.

“It’s more than just painting or wood or pottery,” Isabella Hall said. “It’s whatever you can make something out of.”

For example, they take the view that literature is as handmade as visual art, so the gallery includes comics, poetry and novels by local writers. Books of poems by Strafford poet and critic Jim Schley and horror novels by Asher Ellis, a Brownsville neighbor of the Halls’, occupy a “book nook” in the gallery.

Other work in the gallery this week ranged from an exhibition of paintings by Strafford artist Kumari Patricia, who was Follensbee-Hall’s adviser at Goddard, to functional woodwork by Bob Patterson.

The gallery will fill a niche left open in the Upper Valley since the closing of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen gallery in Hanover in 2020. Galleries that display fine art and crafts are relatively few, though Long River Gallery in White River Junction is a notable example.

They plan to open the gallery to submissions from artists and artisans within two hours’ drive, but most of what’s on display now is from no more than 20 minutes away.

The Windsor House space was once a Vermont Handcrafters gallery, and most recently held a florist shop. The back room has a sink in it, a key piece of equipment for papermaking, which starts with a wet mass of fibers. In the last few days, Follensbee-Hall has set up her studio at the back of the gallery. The first batch of paper made in the new studio was laid out to dry on racks Tuesday morning. She’s tried to make art with paper not from her hands, but it doesn’t work.

“I have to make it,” Follensbee-Hall said. “It has a whole different feel when I start with the pulp.”

The texture and shape of the paper are essential to her work. Some pieces are like bas relief, with shapes like little hummocks or architectural elements pressed into the paper. It’s unlike any work I’ve seen in the Upper Valley, and now it has a home of its own.

Jai Studios Gallery and Gifts is open Thursdays and Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 10:30 to 4, and by appointment. It has a presence on Facebook and a website at jaistudiosgalleryandgifts.com.

Mourning and celebration

Thetford guitarist, teacher and recording engineer Ed Eastridge died Monday evening surrounded by his family after a long battle with cancer. He was 73.

Eastridge taught dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Upper Valley guitar students, and was a busy musician, performing with a wide range of ensembles playing everything from blues to bossa nova to the works of modernist classical composer Erik Satie.

A memorial concert is planned for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, in the Briggs Opera House. Aptly called the Ed Eastridge Star-Studded End Of Life Variety Showcase Spectacular, the event is likely to be a fun, sprawling musical tribute to a no-nonsense man of immense talent. Performers are limited to a single song or poem or interpretive dance or what-have-you, and there’s a form to use to sign up for a spot.

So much for summer

The unofficial end of summer, Labor Day weekend, brings with it a few festive events. I bet I’m not the only area man happy to urge this summer not to let the door hit it on the way out. Rain, rain and more rain will do that.

Before summer departs, the Chelsea Arts Collective is holding its fourth annual Arts on the Green Market & Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Rain or shine, of course.

The festival includes the work of more than 40 visual artists set up on Chelsea’s North Common. There will also be lots of food options and live music from Vermont guitarist Doug Perkins, the Hanover-based jazz quartet Sunday Table and Footworks, which plays Gaelic music from Cape Breton Island.

For more info, check out chelseavt-arts.com or call 802-685-4866.

Also this weekend, Randolph’s Chandler Center for the Arts holds its annual New World Festival of music from Celtic lands and French Canada.

The festival features more than a dozen acts, including some of the big names in traditional Celtic and French Canadian music. Spread over five stages around downtown Randolph, the festival starts at noon on Sunday and runs through 11 p.m.

Tickets are $65, but kids 12 and under get in free. For more information, go to chandler-arts.org.

And I hesitate to mention it, for fear of jinxing the whole thing, but Revolution, the vintage and local clothing store at the heart of White River Junction, plans to hold one of its parking lot parties on Friday evening, starting at the unorthodox hour of 4:45.

In the past, when I’ve written about these affairs, which feature DJs, food, art, dancing and other fun things, rain creeps in. The current forecast says “sunny.” The entertainment will include the Bread and Puppet Parking Lot Dance Co., a detachment of the fabled Northeast Kingdom theater collective. And all around the village, galleries will be open. Get the last of summer while you can.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3207.