Tamara Weiss and Amanda Benchley’s Vineyard Folk is an intimate journey into the lives and inspirational places of some of the many talented artists who have always helped make up the larger community of Martha’s Vineyard.
The island, located just seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod, has a long history as geographic muse. Lillian Hellman and William Styron wrote overlooking the Vineyard Haven harbor, and Thomas Hart Benton—whose influence is still felt in island painters today—depicted the stone walls and winding roads of what is known as “up-island” more than a hundred years ago. Now, a new generation continues to build on these creative legacies, inspired by the island’s diaphanous light, endless beaches, historic towns, and rolling fields and vistas.
Vineyard Folk features painters, potters, poets, musicians, writers, and actors and the unique ways they work, live, and play here. From Tiffany Vanderhoop’s hand-beaded earrings based on original Wampanoag designs, to Julie Taymor’s screenplay inspired by the animals in her backyard, to Micah Thanhauser’s pottery made from the island’s natural clay, and Allen Whiting’s pastoral scenes of his farm, each page is filled with island treasures. The book also reveals the legacies of the island’s origin as Noepe—as the Wampanoag Indians originally named the land—the whaling industry, and the historic Black community of Oak Bluffs.
Above all, Vineyard Folk is a love letter to a remarkable island community, an homage to those who came before, and a testament to the current challenges of living on a resort island where the weather can be fierce and the housing scarce. With personal interviews and stunning color photography, it is a collage of creativity, resilience, and hope. Come celebrate the artistic island folk of the Vineyard, captured at a golden moment of time that might not last forever.