Winning artists and artisans gear up for vacation studio tours



WINSTED — With the holidays fast approaching, two dozen artists and artisans are gearing up to show off what they’re made of — and what they’ve been up to.

Resident artists, artisans, specialty shops and guest artists will take part in the Holiday Open Studios Weekend at Whiting Mills, 100 Whiting St., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 3-4. Participating craftswoman Lynne Patnode said the event attracts thousands of shoppers each year to Whiting Mills, a creative haven on Whiting Street since 2004. Torrington resident Patnode owns Silver Spiral Creations in Whiting Mills.

“I love making jewelry with exotic stones,” she said, showing off an amethyst agate that nature made look like a sunrise and fashioned into a pendant. “Stones are central to most of my jewelry.”

Patnode said she has been making jewelry for 18 years and has had a studio in Whiting Mills for more than three years. Additionally, she conducts six-week metalworking courses and provides bench time for advanced craftsmen.

For more information about Silver Spiral Creations, visit

Another participant in the upcoming studio tour weekend is Savannah Marcus, owner of Savannah Marie Photography. “I specialize in newborn photography and maternity photography,” she said. “For the studio tour, I will most likely do a Christmas setup and take some family photos.”

Marcus has been doing photography for about five years, she said. She opened her business about a year and a half ago.

“It’s my main location (Winsted), but I do off-site photo shoots, usually in the Litchfield area,” she said.

For more information, visit

Barbara Gilman is the owner of Countryside Artwork in Whiting Mills where she has been painting acrylics on panel and primed canvas for over 10 years. She also collects discarded furniture near trash cans or at tag sales and thrift stores, she said.

“I take it and work on it,” she said, showing two salvaged coffee tables. On one, she had used colored pencils to render a scene almost identical to another she had rendered with glossy acrylic paints.

The walls of his studio are adorned with bold and bright paintings of countryside scenes, many filled with young people and animals. She said most will be exhibited during studio tours. Gilman can be reached at [email protected] or 860-482-3709.

Julie Rego, owner of Julie Rego Designs, is a textile artist and designer who creates colorful quilts and custom fiber installations. She has been at Whiting Mills for five years.

For the studio’s annual tours, she said, “I usually have a lot of little Christmas-type items for the holidays, heating pads, table runners, you know, little gift ideas.”

She said she had sewn all her life. “I started as a young girl and moved into clothing, then as a graduate student in textile design,” she said. She has a degree in interior design and was a lighting consultant before moving from Wisconsin to Connecticut 20 years ago when she returned to sewing and took up quilting.

Rego sells her work on Etsy at

Tyler Green owns Tyler Green FX Studio, a staple of Whiting Mills for three years. “I do workshops, I do courses, especially in special effects,” he said. “It could be sculpting, casting, casting, you know, injuries, things like that, to prepare students and adults if they want to get into the special effects field, or more into the world of carving and manufacturing.”

Green has worked in film and television, creating realistic sculptures of injured or disfigured people. He teaches prosthetic design, sculpture, mold making, live casting and more.

“Ever since I was little, I always loved monsters and movies, and I never stopped, you know. Jim Henson was a big inspiration to me. And I always loved realism which he created these characters with,” he said.

For the weekend open studios over the holidays, “Normally what I do is set up the studio so people can see what I’m doing,” he said. “I may have a few students working here on their projects, just so people have an idea of ​​what we’re doing here.

Green can be contacted at

Goshen resident Lori Barker has been a guest artist on studio tours for about seven years. This year, she will present new examples of photography on aluminum and some mixed media.

“I’m always changing,” she says. “Always adding new things to my repertoire.”

On her website,, she writes: “The work is about the poetry that lives beneath the surface of things where layers of paper, paint, wood, fabric, metal and images come to life by creating an altered world.

When asked why she loves what she does, Barker replied, “It fills my soul.”

For a full list of participating artists, visit or call Whiting Mills LLC at 860-738-2240. Parking and admission to the event are free. A food truck will be on site.

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