life in the Kearsarge area

what's happening in the Kearsarge/Lake Sunapee area of NH

Archive for February, 2015

Nile Project New England Tour

Here in the Upper Valley, the dominant feature of our landscape is the Connecticut River. We cross it, we play on it, we farm lands made rich by it—and sometimes we are flooded by it. This same presence is true for communities up and down the river, from the Canadian border to the Long Island Sound.

The folks at the Hop got super-excited a few years ago when they heard about The Nile Project, bringing together musicians from the dozen or so Nile Basic countries to promote cultural exchange and bring awareness of the critical region-wide issues of water use and river stewardship.

The Hop’s immediate thought was: let’s help bring this project to the Connecticut River region and work with other New England arts presenters – plus environmental groups, educators and more – to develop exciting local programming that promote our own river stewardship and cultural exchange.

This spring it all comes to fruition!

*March 23-27, 2015         BU & World Music-Crash Arts

*March 28 – March 31   Flynn Center & UVM Lane

*March 31-April 3            Middlebury College

*April 7                                UMass Amherst

April 8-11                            Wesleyan

April 12-13                          Portland Ovations

April 14-18                          Hopkins Center

Here are some of the things happening at the Hop:

  • Two performances April 17, one in the evening and one a special family matinee (it’s school vacation week)
  • Spotlight discussions with the artists following both performances;
  • A downloadable community family study guide for upper-grade students, with background on music and instruments, environmental sustainability, water rights/control, and watersheds
  • In collaboration with the Upper Valley Land Trust and the Montshire Museum of Science,  “Watersheds!,” a learning camp involving regional and Dartmouth faculty experts, with hands-on discovery projects in the CT River watershed, culminating with the family matinee at the Hop, and the study guide
  • A Saturday-morning free “HopStop” (ages 3-9, designed to be children’s very first introduction to the arts) by Nile Project artists on April 18
  • A public panel discussion, “Who Owns the Water: Water Control Along the Nile and the Connecticut,” involving Dartmouth Environmental Science, Geography and Geology faculty
  • A GIS-mapping projects to for Dartmouth geography students that contrasts and compares environmental aspects of the Nile and the Connecticut, shared broadly via Nile Project website
  • A River Musicians Exchange uniting Nile musicians with local acoustic musicians, to share firsthand music-making in an intimate setting
  • A “River Pen Pals” program digitally linking local and Nile middle school youth
  • A small Hood Museum exhibit of contemporary photography of water environments demonstrating both water’s ability to draw people together, and the effects of human-made water disasters

Learn more at or

Meet a Zing vendor: Kathleen Sirois

Here’s a profile of one of our wonderful Zing into Spring vendors: Kathleen Sirois Jewelry.


What to do with a sheet of copper left over from another project? Well, if you’re Kathleen Sirois, you use that sheet to make earrings and necklaces.

SKathleen 2irois always has “her fingers into something,” she says. It started with birdhouses (copper was used for the roof), and switched to jewelry four years ago. “I had the sheet of copper in the basement,” she says. “I cut out circles, hammered them into domes, and added pearls.”

Later she transferred an embossing process to metal and pushed the limits with it. She’s secretive about her methods, but somehow Sirois uses an acrylic paint — resembling nail polish — in thin layers, sanding in between each layer. The copper dome, heart or square is antiqued with patina and sealed to protect from oxidation.

Her jewelry themes are mostly nature: flowers, waves, snowflakes, trees, birds, butterflies and ferns, to name a few. There are also a few organic swirls and heart designs. She adds Czech glass, ceramic beads, tiny amethysts or fuchsia pearls. Sometimes one pendant stands alone; sometimes she links them together.

Kathleen 3The results are stunning: lightweight pendants embellished with a bit of colorful, original art. A necklace featuring a fuchsia pink daisy with a bright orange center makes a statement when paired with an outfit as simple as a T-shirt and jeans. Earrings — one-inch diameter copper discs embossed with hearts in shades of pinks and antiqued with patina — add something special to any outfit.

Many of her pendants hang from a neck wire in two lengths: 16 and 18 inches. But her newer necklaces use an adjustable rawhide or leather cord. “You can decide if you want it closer to your neck or longer,” she says. “I like the options the cord provides.”

Sirois creates every day from a studio in her Warner, N.H., home. You can find her work on Etsy (KatesKottages), Artisan’s in New London, and at the Warner Farmers’ Market. “I’m lucky to be able to work here at home, making affordable items for people,” she says. “I love to make someone’s day.”

Contact her at (603) 746-5534 or You can also meet Kathleen (and purchase her work) at the Zing into Spring event on Saturday, March 21 in New London. Learn more at

Pop-Up Learning in Bethel, Vt.

Last year, a one-of-a-kind university popped up in central Vermont. During March, “Bethel University” (BU) hosted free mini-courses in the Town Hall, the school, the library, and in homes and businesses all over town. Anyone could become a “professor” and teach a course on any topic under the sun, and anyone could take courses for free.

Bethel University will pop-up again this March. Registration will open in early February and Bethel University will run from March 1 to 31. Like last year, the program will conclude with a community-wide “graduation” celebration on March 29 with food and fun, plus a new showcase of the courses featuring photos, art and “TED-style” talks.

Two exciting new additions will be offered this year. People can also propose “meet ups” – or informal gatherings for people interested in a certain topic or hobby – without having to commit to teaching a course. And for those who do want to teach, organizers will offer two workshops and a manual to help people design great courses. Professors do not need to have college degrees or years of experience – just a genuine interest in sharing their knowledge and skills. Businesses and organizations are invited to propose courses related to their offerings and use BU as a way to connect with the public and gain exposure.

Last year, 21 professors offered courses ranging from Zumba to vermicomposting, quilt making to wine tasting. The courses drew 134 registrations from 11 towns, with significant benefits for both the participants and for the Town of Bethel. The project supported 11 local businesses, brought new people to town, and highlighted Bethel’s assets and the talents of residents. More than 75% of participants said in a survey that they learned new skills and information and 95% of professors said they felt more connected to the community.

Bethel University is organized by the Bethel Revitalization Initiative, a group of Bethel citizens working to make Bethel a more vibrant, connected and livable community. A core group of volunteers came together to start Bethel University last winter, after hearing a great deal of enthusiasm for the idea. Numerous local organizations offer free space and support for the program, including the Town of Bethel, Bethel Elementary School and Whitcomb High, the Bethel Village Sandwich Shop, the Bethel Public Library, and the Christ Episcopal Church.

Learn more at