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Inside VPR

The Story Behind The New Artist Mug

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Meet Althea Freeman-Miller of Burlington, designer of the VPR Artist Mug for this drive. Check out her Etsy shop here! And, you can get her specially-designed artist mug for a pledge of $90 - or get two for $144!

I grew up surrounded by art. I was born on Martha’s Vineyard. My mother used to have a children’s clothing business. She hand block printed all of her fabrics with linoleum prints. I spent lots of time in her studio. She is now a full-time ceramic potter. My father works in studio arts, mostly oil paintings and pen and ink drawings.   

I attended Johnson state College. That’s what brought me to Vermont. I studied elementary education and art. My studio is in Richmond, Vermont. 

I find beauty in simplicity and playfulness.  I like to think of my images as little invitations to reminisce a moment in your past or capture a feeling of joy. Most of my images are simple recognizable objects, a carrot, a tricycle, a hammer.  The woman hanging laundry is often a favorite. I think the viewer tends to see her as someone they know, a mother or a grandmother maybe. There is something romantic about clotheslines.  I think it provokes feelings of a nurturing love, and finding the beauty in everyday tasks. It’s a nice reminder to slow it down and take care in what you do. 

All my designs start as pencil drawings. My drawings are traced onto linoleum blocks and then hand carved with Japanese wood carving tools. I print by hand using a barren and or the back of a wooded spoon.

 
All my finished prints are mounted on recycled wood. I size, sand, and paint each wood piece to compliment it's print. I often incorporate nail holes, knots, and imperfection to gain a one of a kind rustic look. The paper is mounted using acid free stick flat glue. My last step is to apply 3 layers of a protective clear coat finish. They are then ready to hang. 
 
I have done wedding invitations, logos and other custom work. 

I am proud to support VPR. I am a huge fan of public radio my favorite shows are Splendid Table and This American Life. I mostly listen in the car or with morning coffee.