This past weekend was the Northwoods Art Tour on July 24, 25 & 26. The tour is in it's 10th year and features 25 stops and over 30 artists.
This is my 7th year participating on the tour. I was at Riverrun Center in McNaughton, WI for the first 3 years. This past weekend marked the 4th year at my own studio in Lake Tomahawk. Here are some shots of my studio.
The purpose of the tour is to expose the participants to art, artists & the art making process. Demonstrations are a focal point of the tour experience. At my studio I like to involve the tour goers in my clay demonstrations. Two years ago during the summer and fall tours I had people make tiles to form a permanent clay guestbook for 2007. The first group of tiles were framed last year. This past weekend my friend Jeanne Debbink helped set up the remaining tiles, plus some Lake Superior stones, my own tile pieces and a cone pack into the 2nd framed grouping. Later it will be grouted and hung next to the other tile piece on the exterior of my studio.
Many people who made tiles have come back to the studio to see the completed project. Below is the Nowak family. Their daughter Emily made one of the tiles when she was 3 year old.
This year I had a guest artist with me at my studio. Katlyn Koester is getting her B.F.A. in ceramics at Viterbo in La Crosse. I met Katlyn when she was 15. She was a student apprentice at Riverrun while I was the Artist In Residence at the center. Katlyn will finish her degree next year. She plans to move back to our area and set up her own studio/gallery space.
Kate and I decided to do another group activity for this art tour. We encouraged tour participants to make mini clay heads. With only a handful of finished examples, a bag of clay and our open tool boxes, we managed to coax at least 30 people to make tiny sculptures. I am going to make a clay frame to house all the heads we collected over the last three days. They will be on display in time to entice another round of amateur artists during the Fall Art Tour.
The weather during two of the three days was rough, but it didn't stop people from coming out. We had great groups come through each day. We each made some good sales and I'm sure made a playful impression on our guests. We were both touched by the kindness of friends AND strangers that took time to learn about our work. By nature, artists are a private bunch. The tour opens a window into our world and inspires us to shine.
The Northwoods Art Tour happens again in the fall on Oct. 2, 3 & 4. For more information please visit the website, post your question here, or visit Pigeon Road Pottery on Facebook.