Who We Are

Severia Drake, Proprietor – ByWay Books & More is a culmination of Severia’s work in the book business. She has worked at libraries, publishing companies, and bookstores. To find that special book for someone is a pleasure.

Severia has recently spent almost 10 years working for a nonprofit in Stamford, CT where she operated two used book shops. She managed volunteers, marketing, sales and operations and developed a collection of books that served a highly diverse community. Severia is eager to bring her experience to our community and to help you find books that will satisfy your curiosity, entertain you and encourage you to be who you are.

Elizabeth Drake, Mom & All-Around Employee – Elizabeth moved to Vernon in 2019 after 25 years as a college professor in Gainesville, Florida. She now lives her lifelong dream in a home with the woods as her backyard. Since arriving in Vermont she has been trying—unsuccessfully—to retire. Liz still keeps her fingers (laptop fingers) in education as an online adjunct professor. She has authored computer programming textbooks for several large publishers and continues to write and edit as a freelancer. Her true avocation, though, is writing young adult dystopian fiction. When her daughter talked to her about opening a bookstore in Brattleboro, she eagerly jumped on board. She believes that this will be her most challenging endeavor.

Martha Haskins of Mythic Forest Designs – Mythic Forest Designs in Vernon has been busy producing realistic felted animals and fanciful creatures. Martha Haskins has been creating with needle felting for three years. Needle felting is the art of sculpting with wool and a special needle. Unspun dyed wool, primarily sourced from Vermont, is used to make these special animals. The natural wool gives her creations an earthy and realistic look.  It is a craft that takes much time and care and is a labor of love. Also a painter, Martha has a background in art and design and has a deep spiritual connection to the creatures that inhabit our local forests.  She strives to capture the soul of the animals by her craft. Her felted animals are for sale at ByWay Books in Brattleboro Vermont. Find Mythic Forest on Instagram: @mythic_forest

Julia Sorensen, Julia’s Art – Much of the power of art is in its ability to evoke feelings in the viewer and to reveal something about the artist; each person will experience a piece of art differently and bring to it their own unique experience.Julia Sorensen’s process when painting abstractly involves expressing her own feelings through painting. She often doesn’t know what shape or form a piece will take, but rather begins with a color palette that speaks to her and lets the painting become what it wants to be, almost sculpting the painting, bringing in multiple layers and techniques. She most commonly engages in oil or acrylic painting, including abstract works, landscapes and still life. She also occasionally works in encaustics (painting with hot wax) and enjoys the texture and depth that medium provides. See more of Julia’s work on Instagram @julsorart.
Bronna Zlochiver, The Village Potter – If you are looking for beautiful pottery, check out the Village Potter. Bronna Zlochiver creates lovely and functional mugs, bowls, soap dishes, sponge holders, pourers, and more. Her affordable pottery is available in several Brattleboro locations as well in Putney and Springfield Vermont. You’re welcome to visit Bronna in her studio. Bronna’s passion for making pottery started with her first ceramics class in 1969. She took classes at the San Antonio Art Institute (SAAI) in Texas and with Valley Possony in Falls Church, Virginia. She continued potting for decades while working full time and raising a family. Bronna retired and moved to Vermont in 2008, intending to make pots full-time. Through her involvement with the Brattleboro Clayworks, she became familiar with the local craft scene. Bronna set up her home studio and founded Pacem Pottery in 2012, later renamed The Village Potter. Her website is www.villagepottervt.com.

William Mwanga, Arts By Mwanga – William Mwanga began painting when he was very young, growing up in Entebbe, Uganda. He was fortunate to have a neighbor who was an artist, specializing in illustrations for books and magazines. He helped Mwanga develop his love for art. Mwanga studied Fine Arts at the Michelangelo College of Creative Arts in Kisubi, Uganda and graduated in 2004. Many of his paintings reflect African cultural activities and lifestyles, centered around Lake Victoria, including fishing, ceremonial dancing, farming, livestock, and daily life in the Village. He also enjoys painting animals found in Eastern Africa in the Great Lakes region, including Uganda’s national bird, the Crested Crane. Mwanga currently resides in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Blake Hyatt, Full-Stack Developer – Blake Hyatt was born in West Palm Beach, though lived his first 8 years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 2016, he graduated from the University of Florida with a Master’s in Engineering. He’s been working as a full stack developer the last 6 years. Blake is dedicated to providing scalable, lightweight web services – from general IT to web and software development. He also composes and produces music as a passion project under the pseudonym The FloodShark.

Eddie Bender, Graphic Designer – Eddie Bender was born in Pennsylvania, where he studied graphic design at Shippensburg University. He now lives in sunny Tampa, Florida. With over 8 years of professional experience and 12 combined years of art & design experience, Eddie’s goal is to continue to create great designs and graphic work for clients while establishing meaningful relationships along the way. Eddie strives to use his creative passion to turn your ideas into thoughtful and effective visual solutions.