Sunday, February 5, 2012

Three Rivers Artists' Biennial Studio Tour Ten

January 28th the artist's gathered at the home/studio of Elsah Cort. We were to spend the day visiting one another's studios. This is in preparation for the Three Rivers Artists' Biennial Studio Tour Ten, March 23, 24, & 25. For me, it is the dessert before the main course, a chance to spend time with artists, to see how people work, to admire their artwork, and to help one another plan for the Studio Tour Ten. About half the artists were able to attend.

Elsah has hosted the Studio Tour for twenty years and it is always an amazing experience for artists and guests. As usual Elsah fed us well. The breakfast of quiche, fruit salad, bacon and sausage, breads and cakes, juices, coffee, tea were delicious, and we felt extremely well cared for. Thank you, Elsah.

After we ate, she welcomed us.
Elsah, Ann, and Mona sit on the stairs that lead to Elsah's studio.

We each introduced ourselves. When you buy tickets on the day of the Tour, you will be greeted by Ann. She will give you a booklet that has directions to each studio, a name tag to wear, and answer any questions. We then proceeded up the stairs to Elsah's studio.

Karen hidden and Martha observe Nikki Crain at the loom.

Nikki is the featured artist for this year's tour so we started at her studio out on the South Fork. She is demonstrating weaving techniques. The colors in Nikki's studio, the variety of looms, the setting in which she lives, and works, captures one.

Anne Birkholz is showing us burl in contrast to the bowl it might become.

Not far from Nikki's is Anne's woodworking studio. Anne's enthusiasm is contagious. A new electric saw, tools every where, finished wooden bowls, candle holders, pieces of raw wood yet to be worked on, and more, graced the studio. Her love of wood is very evident, a stop not to miss!

Christine Sell-Porter shares the curtains she painted with Marn and the other artists.

Christine lives up on the South Fork Estates. This is her first Studio Tour and she is very excited about hosting people to share her artwork. Her studio is small, but packed with color, watercolor paintings, cloth on a frame that she is working on, beads, colored pencils, paints, tools, and more. Her paintings hang in every room of their home. Her husband Clayton is a jewelry artist and he too will be a part of the Studio Tour Ten.

Nancy Jonnum in her potter's studio.

We moved on to Cherokee Oaks for our next group of artists. As you walk toward Nancy's studio you will walk on a tile path made with recycled tools, chains, glass, in cement, made by her husband Jerry. Nancy is demonstrating how she sculpts the wonderful and strange critters she is known for. She also does practical pieces like dish ware, bowls, and more. 

Jeffrey Jay in his garage, holding the beginnings of making a guitar, with Mona looking on. 

Jeffrey is new to the tour, and looking forward to sharing the delicacy of guitar making: the temperature of the garage must be so, the sawdust vacuumed up or will interfere with other stages of putting the guitar together. He played the various guitars displayed so we could hear the differences. 

Jim Entz holding up one of the pieces in progress.

It takes Jim at least a year, sometimes more, to create his art pieces. The color in his studio is stunning. To have him explain the process a treat, filled with information he has gathered to influence his artwork. 

Karen Kimble is explaining the process of clay mono prints to the other artists.

Clay Mono Printing is a medium that many people are not familiar with. On a table in Karen's studio is a huge clay slab. She layers colored liquid clay onto the slab, rolling each layer into the clay's flat surface, using various techniques for design, and eventually takes a print off it. Each print one of a kind. In her home hang many samples of finished pieces of art to demonstrate the versatility one can produce in this medium.

Deborah Dal Zuffo Studio: a new piece of art she is working on.

We left Cherokee Oaks and headed for North Fork. Not long ago, Deborah and her husband finished building their home and her studio. She is looking forward to the new adventure of living in Three Rivers, and participating in the tour for the first time. So welcome her to Three Rivers when you visit the studio. She has many interesting and inspiring items throughout her studio. 

Marn Reich display's ceramics and doll.

Marn is known for a sense of humor and when you see the critters, teapots, mugs, and vases you will find yourself chuckling. She works in cloth as well as ceramics.

Rick Badgley's underground studio.

A big culvert is the body of the building, half of which is buried into the hillside, with a sod roof, and Rick makes furniture in this unique studio. Martha, his wife, makes the leather cushions and pillows that are beautifully matched to the wood pieces. I dare you to sit in one of his rocking chairs. I did last tour and now it sits in my home! :)

Martha Widmann watching Rick share his studio with the artists.

I owe Martha an apology. When I downloaded all the images, I realized I had no pictures of her studio. On remembering the day I, I was recovering from the walk from Rick's studio to Martha's. They are in separate buildings. To get to hers you walk down steep rock stairs, which I have done many many times before and never a problem. Having not long ago had knee replacement, the steps were good exercise for my recovering knee, but not so good for the other knee that is waiting replacement. With the help of Nikki (thank you) I made the trek, but obviously didn't feel like taking pictures in Martha's studio. She paints in acrylic, shared her process, and showed us her beautiful pieces of art. There is an easier way to get to her, from the road, walk down a driveway comfortably, so if you have walking issues, just ask. Martha or Rick will point the way. 

Mona Selph's studio was last, but not the least by any stretch!

Mona has been an artist longer than all of us. Her studio always makes me feel star struck. Paintings, drawings, clay work, collages, an endless array of art. I look at her quality of work and promise myself that this year I will up my quality, inspired by her. She's up off the Mineral King Road and her property is situated in a beautiful spot.

One of the attractions people feel on the tour is that the hillsides are beautiful and spending a day wondering from studio to studio in Three Rivers is a delight, adding nature's artwork to the tour.

My studio was some where in the middle, after Marn's and before Rick's. But of course, I was too busy hosting the artists, and feeling nervous that my studio and art is up to snuff. I came to art late in life, and so many of the artists have done art their whole lives. It's hard not to compare myself with them. But as they keep reminding me it is better to find your creative self late, than never to have found it at all.

Old School house on Kaweah River Drive  Photography by Shirley A. Blair Keller ©

The Studio Tour is a great time to share the images, ceramic masks, and other art forms with people who come from all over, to host them here on Spirit Hill. I just cannot wait!!!