What’s happening on September 13th? All I can tell you is that the word is
WOOF.

Speaking of woofs, Grace and I headed up to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and St. Johnsbury to visit Vermont’s most famous dog artist, Steven Huneck and his wife Gwynn. You probably have seen Steven’s work often featuring his black lab, Sally. We have several of his woodcuts in our office and Steven and I share one very important passion – dogs. It’s about a 2-hour drive to Dog Mountain, the home of Steven’s Dog Chapel and Gallery. I’d been there once before about 5 years ago for the dedication of the Dog Chapel. As we headed up route 2 with Fantail and Hammerhead, it wasn’t hard to find the road to Steven’s place. He had created a very large statue of a woman walking her dogs to mark the road.

We drove up the steep road and parked in the gallery parking lot and put a collar on Hammer (he usually is naked) and leashes on both the dogs. As we walked to the Gallery, Gwynn met us and suggested that it would be better if the dogs were not on leashes, which we (and the pups) gladly agreed to. She told me that the only time they have ever had any problems with dogs on Dog Mountain is when they are leashed. Free dogs tend to work things out and that was certainly the case with Fantail, Hammerhead and about a dozen other dogs wandering about.

Steven not only makes pictures with wood cuts and ink-jet technology but he has a complete shop and production facility to produce sculpture and furniture. He is also a prolific author and illustrator of children’s books. You can see Steven Huneck’s work at

http://www.dogmt.com

As we entered the gallery Steven greeted me after he had spent some time getting acquainted with Fantail and Hammerhead. A warm greeting from Steven was followed by him presenting me with portraits of Fantail Shrimp and Hammerhead that he had drawn in the couple days since he had mysteriously asked me for pictures of the dogs. They were an awesome present and we were very grateful for this unnecessary kindness. I had come to Dog Mountain to talk with Steven about how we could work together. I was especially interested in talking with him about Project Burlap but our discussions went the gamit from dogs to holographs to dogs to inner sanctums to dogs to art galleries and back again to dogs. We hit it off because of our affinity for our canine pals and what was supposed to be a short meeting ended up being a 3-hour get together. It was a beautiful day and we were sitting outside next to the Dog Chapel (the dog chapel is devoted to dogs and its walls are papered with individual pictures and rememberences of dogs from Steven’s thousands of devoted fans). The dogs were playing and out of the corner of my eye I noticed Hammerhead investigating the cellar hole that Steven had excavated for his inner sanctum project. The hole was filled with water and as Hammer slipped and fell into the water I discovered that he breeder had told me the truth when she said “bulldogs don’t swim”. I saw him go under once and beat his legs for the surface and as I ran over to the hole he went down a second time. I jumped into the water on the edge and was able to grab his collar (good thing I had put that on!) and drag him out to the bank. He seemed none the worse for wear and shook himself off all over Steven and Gwynn but they didn’t care and we are all happy that Hammer was rescued. I spent the rest of the day with squishy socks and wet shoes and I made sure Hammer was not out of sight.

The good news from Dog Mountain is that we will be offering Steven’s work at our store and on the web very soon! You will be hearing more about that growing relationship. Steven is also working with the State of Vermont to have a “dog friendly” establishment program to increase tourism and we’ll be involved in that, too!

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