Susan Abbott Gave us:

"Pens, Paper, Paint and Passport: The Art of the Travel Journal"
An exhibit painter, Susan's work is also held in swank private collections ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Oprah Winfrey.  She studied with many name luminaries and created her first travel sketchbook in Paris twenty years ago. Since then, she has never taken a trip with out one and the tools to record her impressions in it.  A sketchbook, she explained, is a way to deepen your appreciation of your journeys through artistic observation and expression, whether you're a pro or a even just a beginning sketcher. She covered some  fascinating history of sketchbooks and explained how they powerfully evoke your memories of place -- of light, form, color, textures, smells, encounters with locals. She shared sketchbook she completed in France, Italy, England, Spain and India. Susan also conducts popular workshops abroad. (Fall 2014)
Susan's website:


Rosemary Gladstar Gave us:

"Herbs for Winter Health: Recipes for Wellness"
A internationally renowned herbalist, author and plant conservationist, Rosemary covered a wide array of herbal recipes and strategies for keeping emotional and physical balance through the heightened stressors of a Vermont winter.  She brought written recipes for some of her most popular herbal tinctures and recipes to share, blended to help with coughs. colds, flus and seasonal depression. We tasted some of them and heard about their biological components, actions and quality control issues.  Rosemary founded Sage Mountain herbal retreat enter and Botanical Sanctuary on her 500-acre preserve in Central Vermont.  She is the founding president of United Plant Savers and Director of the International herb Symposium and the New England Women's Herbal Conference.  She has also written eleven books, been featured in documentary film, and authored a home study course.  (Fall 2014)
Rosemary's website:

John Stark Bellamy gave us:

"True Tales of Murder and Crime in 19th and 20th Century Vermont"
Crime author John Stark Bellamy has extensively researched and written about notorious homicides, stories of disappearance, mishap, manslaughter and criminal justice procedures of the day. His most recent book is Vintage Vermont Villainies. Of this volume author Howard Frank Mosher wrote, "Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler would have loved it."  John has appeared in documentaries on A&E's The History Channel and The Discovery Channel.  He presented his subject matter in a wry and witty style, and told entertaining stories about the fact gathering process and local, latter day public reaction to his historical accounts.  (Spring 2014)

Our Gallery of Past Edu-tainers

We created this page to recognize, with buckets of gratitude, our past presenters who so generously donated their valuable time and extraordinary knowledge. This will also give you an idea of the types of subject matter we've had thus far, if you're thinking of doing a presentation.  And we've provided links, where possible, to learn more about these remarkable people in our community.        

Lark Upson Gave Us:
"The Relevance of Color Theory to Your Everyday Life"
Lark Upson is a renowned artist, designer and interior creator whose work has been featured in Yankee Magazine, Vermont Life and was on the cover of House Beautiful. She operated her own hand-built furniture company for a number of years, acquiring high end clients such as the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.  She designed and built her own home as well as much of the furniture in it. She most recently took up portrait painting, to great local acclaim.  Lark spoke about how our eyes see color values, what's pleasing and why, and how color choices influence your sense of well-being in the home, at work, in the garden, even in what we wear.   (Spring, 2014)

A great way to tap into knowledge and
know-how lurking in your community

Trevor Tait gave Us:

"Empower Yourself at Home: Handling Common Power Tools"
Trevor Tait teaches kids about design and construction and runs the Design Technology Department at Twinfield Union High School in Marshfield, Vermont.  Someone needs to do a documentary one day about Trevor's canoe-building program for Twinfield students.  Beginning in January for the past several years, they start with a pile of cut logs, they learn to build beautifully finished modern canoes and paddles from scratch, and then they embark on a week-long class trip/canoeing adventure that spring. in his Town Braintap workshop, Trevor covered the anatomy, handling skills and tips for using common home power tools: a boatload of info for DIY-ers.  (Spring 2014) 

Fred Wilber Gave Us:
"Ageless Musical Concepts in the age of Ones and Zeros"
Fred performed a few of his compositions on keyboard pairing them for effect with pre-recorded digital tracks, breaking down the creation process.  The audience used their voices and "found" musical objects in the room to make and record an original musical soundscape.   As founder, owner and operator of Buch Spieler  in Montpelier, Vt, Fred has spent 40+ years in the retail music business, an accompaniment to his life long love of creating and playing music.  He's taught music video making to inner-city youth and played in New York City clubs and studios. He also holds a degree in philosophy, a perspective that forms a backbeat to his musical endeavors.  (Fall 2014)

Tom Blachly Gave Us
"Take Two Sonnets and Call me In the Morning"
Tom reflected on his bone deep love of Shakespeare's work, touching on how it banished his blues  and cured his boredom. Through the analysis of sonnets, Tom spoke of the Bard's enduring impact on the art. language and the powers of human  reason.  Tom Blachly has written roughly 40 plays, which include a cycle of nineeten 5-act works about American history inspired by Shakespeare's English history cycle. He has directed plays for over 30 years at Unadilla Theater in East Calais, VT  He also co-founded a group called Shakespeare in the Hills where he produced a series of plays and ran a summer camp for young thespians. (Fall, 2014)

Judy Cyprian Gave Us:
"Positive Tactics for Settling Disagreements (and Soothing Hotheads)
Judy is a certified mediator focusing on communication and conflict management, in private practice for 12 years. She covered tips for settling disagreements wherever the need may arise: work, at home, in public or social settings.  She spoke about turning conflict into opportunities for improved relationships, and covered positive ways to communicate with people and motivate them to problem solve with you, so you can reach mutually beneficial outcomes. She has an M.Ed in Counseling from the University of Vermont and is a graduate of Woodbury College's Mediation/Conflict Management program  She provides consultation and facilitation for non-profit boards and organizations, leads community dialog groups and mediates issues of divorce and special education. (Fall 2014)

Jeanne HAskell Gave Us:

"An Introduction to Enneagram Theory"
Jeanne Haskell is Certified Enneagram Instructor, consultant and life coach (and also a co-creator of Town Braintap.) She revealed how Enneagram Theory and its personality charting tools can offer fresh approaches for solving problems that are blocking growth and creativity, at any age. You might, for example, recharge a sluggish creative drive or overcome a difficult relationship.   She explained how over time, as you continue Enneagram work, you may discover who you really are and what else you might want to be or do. (Spring 2014)
Jeanne's website: 

Leda Schubert gave us:

"Creating the Children's Picture Book: An Introduction"
Leda Schubert is the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding non-fiction from the National Council of teachers of English. She was a core faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.  Her published books include Here Comes Darrell (illustrated by Mary Azarian) and Ballet of the Elephants.  Leda presented an advice-packed agenda, covering the art of creating the children's picture book, explaining how text and imagery combine in 32 pages to produce a unique whole, and dissecting some of her favorite books by other successful authors.  A bonanza of solid, authoritative information for budding authors.  (Spring 2014)
Leda's website:

Ellen Blachly  Gave Us:
"The Upholsterer's Craft - A Glimpse into the Art of Restoring Old and Antique Furniture"
"Ellie" is an upholsterer specializing in historically accurate 18th century techniques and natural materials. The upholstery trade is still-taught with the old-time apprentice master system because it is simply not practical to learn it any other way.  Ellie welcomed us into her professional workshop, spoke about her love of this craft, her experiences learning it and some of what it entails.  A great look-listen-touch experience.  She works out of her Marshfield Shop, Eaton Hill Upholstery.  Following her apprenticeship she earned a Master's Degree in Furniture Restoration from Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK.  Her projects have included work for the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh, Scotland and she serves as the official upholsterer for the Vermont Statehouse. She's also available for local reupholstery projects and consults.  
Ellen's website:  (Fall 2014)

Anais Mitchell gave us:

"Song Lyrics and the Imagery Behind Them"
Internationally acclaimed recording artist Anais Mitchell has been called "first and foremost a storyteller."  One reviewer called her work "a perfect example of how art, and the power of a song, can transform the merely anecdotal into something almost mythic."  Her Album Child Ballads took Best traditional Song at the BBC Folk Awards. Young Man in America made many "best lists," including those of NPR and the Wall Street Journal.  She gave us her thoughts on how songwriting pairs poetry with melody, and melds inspiration with structural theory. Like having a backstage pass to schmooze with the artist, only way better. Anais is a literary as well as a musical force to be reckoned with.  And, yep, she brought her guitar.  (Spring 2014)
Anais's website: