FARMINGTON — Vera Johnson fell in love with Maine 19 years ago during a trip to the East Coast and knew she belonged here. A year and a half ago she moved to East Dixfield.

On Wednesday, she will hold the grand opening of Vera’s Iron and Vine at 155 Front St. where local artists can display their work and people can attend art, music and craft classes.

“Vera’s is me recreating the best parts of myself,” she said.

Johnson has 20 years of experience in home-schooling. She started a resource center in Seattle, Washington, that served more than 500 families.

A community organizer, Johnson ran a permaculture educational farm in West Seattle. Garden tours and farm-to-table dinners were some of the programs offered.

Johnson will use those experiences in her new endeavor. She said several artists already have their work in her store.


“Three more are confirmed and a lot are asking how soon (their work can be added),” she said.

Hours are Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For the grand opening Wednesday she will be open until 6 p.m.

Johnson said two rooms at the back of the store are available for classes or workshops, preferably taught by others, when the store is closed. One room is ideal for jewelry making or sewing classes. The other room features a large table that can be taken apart.

An outdoor space in back is also available. Johnson hopes to keep bees there, among other things.

“I have a whole list of classes. Silk-screening, quilting, painting, jewelry-making, goddess dolls, birdhouses, guitar lessons,” Johnson said. “I want this to be a community-used space for all ages — parents with children, teenagers. A lot of people are looking.”


Johnson does a lot of metalwork and blacksmithing, and she is transforming a sketch titled “Evolution of a Woman.” When finished, the large metal sculpture will have two different views.

She also likes to work with reclaimed materials. One of her pieces was crafted from materials found in the barn of the “old Osgood farm” where she now lives.

“Discarded doesn’t mean worthless,” Johnson said.

For more information, call 418-0374 during store hours; 645-4464; online at; or

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