Students create pretzel-inspired charcoal drawings


Max McCurdy

Student art is displayed at Feldman’s Bagels in the South End. The exhibit will run through April 30.

One local breakfast eatery is showing off some of its finest products in the best way possible, all thanks to two classes of UVM students.

Leslie Fry, a local artist and an adjunct lecturer of studio art at UVM, assigned her two “Introduction to Drawing” classes a subject with a delicious twist: a pretzel.

With the incentive of having their portrait potentially included in an art show held at Feldman’s Bagels, students crafted individual charcoal compositions of a single pretzel, eaten or uneaten, torn apart, or totally whole.

Fry, a friend of Roy Feldman of Feldman’s Bagels, was inspired to use pretzels because of their unique texture and shape, both for the eye of the artist and for the eater.

Her moment of inspiration came when Feldman and Fry were having a conversation, and Feldman pointed out the similarities between his pretzel-making process and Fry’s work as a sculptor.

That was the moment when she had her epiphany, Fry said.

“Bagels were too boring —they’re a very sculptural shape,” she said. “With pretzels, there’s more going on, and they have a destination, which is back to the origin of where they came from.”

As opposed to the traditional class model, where students work on a still-model placed in the center of the classroom, everyone worked with their own model on their desk under natural light, according to Fry.

Students were given full freedom to tell an intimate and nuanced narrative with their own baked treat, according to Fry.

“We just walked in one day, not really knowing what was going to happen, but there were just like a hundred pretzels on the table” sophomore Maddy Zarro said.

Students worked with white and black charcoal crayons, and sketched their pretzels on grey paper.

“They had to draw the light and the dark,” Fry said.

After initial sketches — and some eating in-between — both of Fry’s classes looked at the drawings and discussed how they could strengthen their compositions, according to a few of Fry’s students.

After a little more work, 32 sketches of pretzels, broken in half or whole, were placed against a “butter-scotchy” yellow wall in the Pine Street eatery.
“We really do anything we wanted,” Zarro said. ”There were a lot of different interpretations, which was cool to see in the end.”

“It was nice to have this finished product, and to see our creation on top of what their creation was is pretty cool,” junior Eric Guzzetta said..
The show will continue until April 30.