Episode 7: Out on the Ice

“The shanties have a big story but you know the real story is the guys inside of them...”
— Chad Ives

This month on VT Untapped we take a trip to the “Retreat Meadows,” a flooded, marshy area at the convergence of the West and Connecticut rivers in Brattleboro, Vermont, that regularly freezes over in winter. It was on this icy plain that Vermont-based Colombian photographer Federico Pardo noticed a small village of rough, squarish structures spring up each season. These ice “shanties” intrigued him and he began documenting them in 2016.

sky shanty.jpg

The VFC became involved when Vision & Voice Gallery Curator Ned Castle met Federico and the project expanded to include a series of interviews with shanty owners. In these conversations the fishers speak of their shanties as structures, remark on the amenities and people they house, detail the practice of ice fishing, and, directly and indirectly, reflect the relationships, connections and community they reinvent each year at the Meadows.

In this episode you’ll hear a selection of stories and voices - these are excerpts from much longer interviews that Ned conducted, all while sitting out on the ice. Being “onsite,” in the shanties for the interviews was key to gaining a deeper understanding of the experience of the people who built them.


More interviews and the full scale prints of Federico’s photos can be seen and heard in the exhibit “Ice Shanties: Fishing, Culture and People", on view in our Middlebury, VT gallery through Summer 2019.