www.vpr.net QH on Vermont Public Radio



After Barbara Hall Fiske Calhoun’s death, much media interest arose surrounding her life and the community she helped to create. Vermont Public Radio, the local affiliate of NPR, was kind enough to do this 11- minute interview with Ladybelle (Isabella) Fiske McFarlin.  It is brief, and inevitably there are things one would like to have clarified more fully, but it is a very kindly and warm point of view on a place and vision that shocked Vermonters to the core when it first arrived in Vermont in 1946 and later, when the “Hippies” arrived and formed it into a more communal version of itself (it had been seen by Irv and Barb as an artists’ and writers’ community, open to all who were willing to be peaceable, never strike or demean children, and not hunt or fish. Some have asked me (Ladybelle), if others were allowed, how then was it an artist’s community?  I think what Irving would have said– and most likely Barbara, too– would be that there is a great capacity for art and literature, music, and all the arts in each of us. This is sadly suppressed by our parents and schooling when we are young and we grow up seeing ourselves as not creative, not valuable, and not worthwhile. One of the magic qualities of Quarry Hill was, and  I hope, is, that it was able to draw forth the creative powers in every person who happened to walk up the driveway– and to help each to see the life they were in the process of living as a work of art.  Their own value became clear to them as they lived with us and found that “Being” was considered more important than “Doing,” though the artistic work involved in “Doing” was immensely praised and treasured. We are our own work of art… and our lives are our masterpiece, our magnum opus..


— Ladybelle Fiske


About Isabella Fiske McFarlin (of Quarry Hill)

I am the daughter of the founders of Quarry Hill Creative Center in Rochester, VT. I've been a writer all my life, and also love to draw in pastel, like my mother. My father taught me to write and many other things (rather as Prospero taught Miranda). I learned many things from my mother too-- not just how to draw, but how to be caring and kind to animals and things that can not protect themeselves. "They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain." That has been her central point of view and is one of Quarry Hill's mottos. We welcome visitors, love children, and have places to rent and sell if anyone wants to come live in the beauty of the Vermont Mountains. ladybellefiske@gmail.com

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