ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 17 * * All Arts News On the Web * * March 14, 2013


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., at various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!

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      Rotary Club of St. Albans opens the 21st annual Home & Recreation Exposition with free admission tomorrow. The EXPO annual fund raiser runs through Sunday at the Collins-Perley Sports and Fitness Center. Under the guidance of manager Rene Meilleur, 100% of the profits from go to support the local charitable work.
      Don't forget to wear green there on Sunday!
      The Champlain Collection has had a major exhibit at the Home Show for several years. Photographer Chris Hungerford and other artists will have exhibits as well.
      2013 marks the ninth year the Champlain Collection has published a new Fred Swan poster at the Home Expo. "We will also have a new, incredible winter piece," Collection owner Norm Choiniere said. Winter at Brush Hill Farm is an early evening piece with the snow falling. "It's a good strong image for Fred," sold as a new canvas giclee framed by D.J. Pattullo at the Village Frame Shoppe.
      "Rene Meilleur of RPM Logos also asked us to do the Fred Swan Corporate Collection," Mr. Choiniere said. They will debut a series of calendars, Christmas cards, and note cards as well as framed Fred Swan ceramic tiles, all with company logos or corporate imprints, at the Home Expo.
      Significantly more home improvement will happen again this year than new home construction; that home improvement can easily help showcase your own collection of art.
      Rotary supports local organizations. The Learn to Ski Program takes youngsters to Smugglers Notch. They offer annual support to programs like Martha's Kitchen and Special Olympics. They particularly like to help the start-up or expansion of local programs or facilities such as the Hard'ack snow making equipment and expansion at the St. Albans Historical Museum, Club Respite, and the Library, as well as new playground equipment in area parks.
      Admission is free. The doors open at 2 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. The Collins-Perley Sports and Fitness Center is located just off I-89 at Exit 19. Click here for more info.


     I have been talking with area artists and photographers about using Print on Demand sites to host artists' galleries and to fulfill orders. We have visited a website belonging to Franklin County artist and photographer Natalie LaRocque and looked at POD itself as well as how and why an artist or photographer might use it.
      This week I'll list some of the features I think a POD site should offer.
      Information tops the list. I had extraordinary difficulty on some sites drilling down to find out what kind of printer the company used or what size papers were available or how much they charged. Ease of finding info and navigation tops my list of needs as an artist looking for a subcontractor. It's right up there with the quality of the print produced.
      As you investigate your choices, send each one a customer service query. If they answer slowly, poorly, or not at all, that may tell you how they will handle problems.
      Print Quality is an interesting question. Some firms offer wet prints (using a film-style mini-lab); others print with an industrial quality inkjet (usually made by Epson). I prefer wet prints but the inkjet inks and papers available today are hard to beat. Except for Black+White. Silver prints still rule B+W. Inkjets rule canvas.
      Inkjet prints cost almost twice as much in gallery sizes. A 16x20" color print on Kodak Professional paper costs $9.60 from Adorama. The same print costs $15.99 at Zenfolio and MPIX and costs $16.50 from myphotopipe on an Epson archival inkjet paper.
      Will you offer other materials? Most sites have a smorgasbord of choices from aluminum plate and calendars, to canvas and giclee prints, greeting cards, panoramics, photo books, Plexiglas™ plate, stationery cards, and even tote bags, t-shirts, and wall peels. They may offer matting and framing and will certainly have more mat and frame choices than you can keep in your own back bedroom. Still, I was unable to find any that would allow you to specify your own default mat color or frame style.
      Some of the sites let you do all the work to set up an online Gallery with a shopping Cart on their site but a couple are strictly contractors for you. I want to hand off the order fulfillment, payment processing, matting/framing and have them package and direct ship to my customer. You may prefer to have the bare print come to you and handle the rest at home.
      In the coming weeks, I'll review a few of the POD sites and talk with other artists about their choices. Email the All Arts Council if you use any of these services to produce the prints you sell.


SOUTH HERO--The Blue Paddle Bistro presents Carol Ann Jones in a solo show of holiday cheer tonight at 6:30 p.m. The Bistro's Thursday Night Music series spotlights a line-up of Vermont musicians. Reservations are encouraged.
      Call 802.372.4814 for reservations or click here for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--Backstage presents Justice with Scott Belisle on bass and backup vocals; Todd Dunn, lead and rhythm guitar; Gary Greeno, lead vocals; Mike Stella, drums; and Scott Guptill, rhythm guitar and backup vocals in a St. Patrick's Bash on Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m. They will all wear green, right?
      Click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--Young Tradition Vermont will co-present several events during the 18th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival. Next up is the Benedict Koehler and Hilari Farrington presentation on the Musical Instruments of Ireland in the Pickering Room of the Fletcher Free Library on Saturday at 11 a.m. They will also have a petting zoo.
      There's much more to the Irish Festival than those. The 7th annual Burlington Irish Music Showcase kicks off in the BCA Center at 7 p.m.
      The Festival features Irish music, dance, and cultural events across the entire St. Patrick's season that began March 3 and continues through March 30. Click here for complete details and a schedule of events.


     Temecula photographer Robert Kaler specializes in landscape, automobile, motorcycle, and vintage architectural photography. He uses a Zenfolio portfolio site but does some of his sales elsewhere. His site includes a gallery, recent and featured work, a registration page and guest book, a bio, and contact info. Like other Zenfolio sites it includes a flash-based slide show. He didn't enable the music, though.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2012 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
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