It is snowing in New England as I draw open the drapes. A picturesque Vermont Winter landscape greets me. Overnight, a light snowfall has draped whiteness over bare branches and dusted the arms of evergreens. A blanket of snow on the ground is broken by the tracks of small mammals, curious bluejays, snowshoes and tire tracks. I’m thousands of miles away from home and the hustle and bustle of Chicago and I couldn’t be happier.
Vermont is home to the studios of Katherine Henry and Harry Hudson, partners in life and art, and the founding members & curators of Atelier Annex. As I grow comfortable in my role as newly appointed Director of Atelier Annex, I’ve been invited to visit their studios and their home, staying in a charming guest room in the barn, to learn more about their art and their work.
Katherine Henry is the creative spirit behind Arcadia Park Designs. Katherine produces elegant, thoughtfully designed pillows. Her studio is laid with a palace sized, near antique rug and adorned with all manner of tech and plush materials needed to create her exquisite silk pillows. The walls are covered in wooden shelves and artwork. On display are pieces of her fine art photography, treasures from her portfolio work. Photography is where most of Katherine’s pillows begin, but once she is seated at her desk, a lengthy design process results in works that are drawn from images of architectural details of the past, curling wrought iron scrolls, detailed bas reliefs & the slopes and folds of sculptural figures. When reimagined into a textile print, these homages to the past are at once classic and contemporary in a luxurious silk.
Entering the space of Harry Hudson’s studio and spending time with Harry is a meaningful and profound experience. Harry is a multi-media artist and scientist who has come to the art world in a roundabout way after a career in graphic art and conservation, but his dreamy illustrated work and delightful haiku are far from the corporate world he left behind. His studio is layered with found objects and beloved collections from nature during his explorations of various landscapes across the country. Harry’s music also echoes the spirit of those landscapes he has touched. His work for Snow on Water runs the gamut from instrumental recordings, illustrated haiku (known as haiga) hand painted on ceramics to audio recordings of his insightful essays on life and nature.
Being invited into Katherine and Harry’s home is a glorious experience of discovery. Each treasured object has a story and a purpose, things are beautiful and beautifully arranged, everything comes together in a harmonic and interesting way. Their kitchen in particular seems to embody everything about their lifestyle that is enviable and alluring, an antique pot bellied stove that came with the purchase of their home laden with a colorful array of fresh fruits and vegetables, a footed vase of fresh flowers, a special batch of green eggs from the local store, live edge wooden boards used for open shelving, and vintage rugs underfoot to keep the chill of the cellar at bay.
It’s been a wonderful experience being here, enjoying the stillness of life in Vermont. I understand why many people who have been guests here have said they don’t want to leave. I suspect it is because Katherine and Harry have made a lovely home by appreciating and enjoying nice things. I’ve always been of the mindset there’s no reason to save nice things for later, it’s best to enjoy them on a daily basis, whether it’s a too-pretty-to-use tea set or fancy-occasion-only dinnerware or a too-nice-to-touch throw. A life well lived is filled with adored people and objects that bring you joy. Katherine and Harry have truly mastered the art of being home.