Julia Brandis finds inspiration in nature and light.
The result is an array of golden hues, soothing blues, and deep purples that will brighten even the dreariest of days. Brandis creates stained glass lamps, fire screens, and window panels in her new Westminster studio, which will be open to the public for the 41st annual 2019 Putney Craft Tour Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
Brandis and her husband, Demian Wyman, spent the past four years building the studio—using wood milled entirely from the couple’s rural property in southern Vermont.
After outgrowing a small, 200-square-foot workspace in the back of their home, Brandis and Wyman knew they needed something bigger and more functional. Wyman started harvesting pine and hemlock trees on their hillside property, setting the logs aside for a local lumber mill to cut into various sizes and widths. The studio, which Wyman mostly built himself, reflects Brandis’s deep connection to the outdoors.
The new space includes an open sky to one side, giving sunlight to illuminate the glass with natural light. The back of the studio faces forestland and a small brook that provide tranquility and inspiration for Brandis’s nature-inspired stained glass pieces.
“It all circularly ties together how art is inspired by nature,” she says.
The 2019 Putney Craft Tour
Brandis is one of 22 Vermont artists featured on the Putney Craft Tour, the oldest continuing crafts tour in the country. The tour showcases glass blowers, potters, jewelers, weavers, painters, woodworkers, as well as artisan cheesemakers, winemakers, and evening performances. This year will mark Brandis’s 12th year on the tour, and the first in her new studio.
Brandis, who grew up in Virginia, attended Virginia Commonwealth University (where she met Wyman) and moved to Vermont in 2004. In Virginia, she began working with stained glass while apprenticing at multiple studios, where she learned how to make stained glass panels, fire screens, and lamps.
“That’s how I got comfortable with glass and learned how to make things well,” she says.
Her love for nature and color is evident in her work, where some designs illustrate trees, water, and mountains. Brandis also takes pride how her glass pieces change at different times of the day and in different seasons, depending on the sun’s angle.
Some of her designs are organic while others are more linear, and Brandis says her work is influenced by Charles Rennie Macintosh, a Scottish architect, designer, water colorist, and artist.
“Macintosh was thinking about nature and using color and forms found in nature, which is what I’m trying to achieve,” Brandis says. “In some of my pieces you can see a hillside or a mountain, but in a lot more of the organic ones you can see water and movement.”
You can see Brandis’s colorful work for yourself at the Putney Craft Tour on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To start the tour, stop by The Gleanery Restaurant at 133 Main Street in Putney for information, maps, and a preview exhibition of the artisans’ works.
2019 Putney Craft Tour Evening Performances
Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Sandglass Theater presents “When I Put on Your Glove,” a puppetry, dance and spoken word piece performed by Shoshana Bass.
Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Next Stage Arts presents contemporary folk/singer songwriters Antje Duvekot and Marr Nakoa.