Art studio tour signs brighten my day.
For an artist to let you into their private space is a treasure and an honour.
If you have never ‘done’ a Studio Tour or wanted to do one but not known ‘how to’, here is my listicle:
- Get the brochure ahead of time and circle your ‘must see’ stops. Include at least one artist who is totally out of your comfort zone. Most tourist bureaus have copies of upcoming events brochures and each artist should also have copies. Or go to the website and print it out. Or use a mobile site as your map.
- Take a friend!
- Plan a route but don’t feel you have to stick to it. Plan at least 10-15 minutes minimum at each stop. Of course some stops will surprise you and you will feel you’d like to stay for hours!
- Take snacks in the car. Some studios treat their guests with light refreshments but not all artists do this, nor should you expect it. View this as a bonus. There may not be a restaurant nearby.
- Wear easily-removable footwear. You may be asked to take off your shoes as you trek through someone’s home.
- Make sure to meet the artist in person. Ask the artist one question about their work.
- Ask before taking photos and posting anything on Instagram. Ask each artist for their hash tag.
- Plan to purchase one piece of art at least at one studio. Yes! Everyone can afford a greeting card or bookmark! Whether it be an expensive original work or a greeting card it is amazing what you will find and these artists really want your support. Take cash and your cheque book. Many studios are not set up to exchange credit cards or debit. Some are, but don’t count on it.
- As a fun exercise, choose your favourite piece at each studio and explain why to your travelling companions. Sort of like a treasure hunt at each stop.
- Notice the surroundings. Sometimes the outside of the studio and yard are just as fascinating.
Stretch out of your comfort zone. Let me know how it goes.
I spent all of 2016 focused on an endeavour called One-a-Day Ephemeral Art Project*.
Every day for a year I went outside and had a short conversation with nature. I made a piece of art with foraged objects and left it for someone to find (or not) celebrating whatever the environment offered me each day. I documented the entire year on Instagram by posting two photos each day; a close-up and an in situ shot (Leonie Barton gave me that idea.)
The project was a discipline and became like a daily meditation for me, visual prayer. It was a combination of contemplative photography, long hikes, strategically placed garbage and pushing the limits of imagination. I promised that I wouldn’t use any tools (somedays that would haunt me!)
And believe me, it was hard. Some days I had to force myself to go outside. Some days I couldn’t get past my own yard. Some days I hit it out of the park. Some days was a struggle to forage in 20 degrees below with frozen fingers. Somedays it was like finding mana (like the afternoon I came across a whole box of jelly-filled donuts in a parking lot). Somedays I felt like a pirate, somedays a weaverbird.
Somedays I felt on the edge of vandalism and trespassing. Most days I was just a small town sleuth and magpie.
I tried not to censor my work but just take the first idea which came along and try to work with it. I found myself becoming repetitive and doing mandalas and lines of things a lot.
“Sum 115, divide by 4113 = 0.92796”
Then I would try to push myself out of that normalcy into something I didn’t really think was beautiful. And especially on really cold days….just make a mark, dang it and get your hands into your mittens again!
I jumped right in on January 1st, thinking what a neat project this was. Being in a northern clime I really never thought about what I would do the deep winter, even though it WAS deep winter when I began. But there are various ‘types’ of snow (as the Inuit know) and only some days are good for snowmen. So I would use snow when it was just right.
Somedays I longed something other than snow to work with. I longed for colour.
The really cool thing was going back days later to a spot and seeing that someone else had added to my art or modified it. This didn’t happen very often but it was fun when it did.
The enemy of the ephemeral artist is wind! Yet I tried to use it to my advantage some days and take a video of the movement of the leaves or something I made hanging from a tree. Click on the photo to see the video.
The truly memorable days were the ones I would be accompanied by my grandson. “I gotta do my artwork” he would mimic.
I also got to teach at a couple of schools.
I had a follower on Instagram who almost every day would give a title to my photo. She was brilliant and I looked forward to seeing how she would interpret my work with her eyes.
“A Chorus Line”
I was very timid about being seen doing my art. If you are a geocacher than you will know the term ‘muggles’. I was much happier if no muggles were about. Sometimes I would even hide. I guess I just didn’t want to have to explain myself.
I got very tired of pavement, yet I do love seeing things in sidewalk cracks. So the days when I could get on a real nature hike were very welcome.
I did this the morning of April 26th and little did I know that my mom would die 8 hours later. Maybe she needed this map to find her way home.
Somedays I took little videos as the in situ shot. Click the photo and see the video…
The project really slowed me down and made me an observer.
You can view it all here, https:// http://www.instagram.com/ wavesongart/
Click the photo and see the video…
*I am indebted to Shona Wilson for starting all of this and to Leonie Barton for the inspiration. If there is any one else I didn’t give credit to, please forgive me.
“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way — things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
I’m challenging myself in 2016 to produce an ephemeral art piece each day.
So what is ephemeral art? It’s a piece of art made on a walk with no tools and only what I find and then leave behind for others to find (or not).
This came as a result of gazing around Instagram and coming upon the work of Leonie Barton who had done this in 2015. I was totally inspired.
I have loved land art, or temporary art installations, since encountering Andy Goldsworthy‘s work years ago.
My kids and I have done “Goldsworthys” on beaches in numerous places. I have left behind many pieces of art over the years. But never one a day.
So here goes….
snow chunks on pavement
Rotting apples on grass
Markings in snow on pond ice
Acorn caps with Water Main cover on cement
Please follow me on @ wavesongart to get the rest.
I’ve been weaving a series of coiled basket creations mounted on driftwood, which I call “Bird Nests”.
Recently someone purchased this one and sent me this beautiful story.
Nests evoke all kinds of emotions and bring forth thoughts of birthing, creating, preparing, anticipating and incubating. This Christmas I am gifting one of your nests to a very good friend who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer.
When I first saw your creation I thought of all within her that is being nourished and cared for and lovingly healed, in anticipating of the creation of health and a life filled with grandchildren, friends and family. The nest holds so many possibilities. It is the vessel for life used by feathered beings who fly free, seemingly effortlessly. It is safety, a sanctuary, a haven for life.
The nest is a place of living into hope. At Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of hope, peace, joy and love in the form of Jesus, we are reminded that God breaks into our world in tiny, fragile ways. Indeed we are the inhabitants of God’s nest of creation.
Thank you Susan, for sharing.