This past weekend John and I went on the Fall Art Tour. It was fun and inspirational. We started by visiting artist Bill Grover who works a lot in clay. We talked about his whimsical and political sculptures. Then we discussed his prairie restoration work and he pointed out his his girls… a small herd of Shetland Cattle.
Then we moved on to a sculptor who works with metal and stone and his wife who paints. Their gallery and her studio were in an old church. His work is interesting and inspirational. I’ve seen his sculpture on the UW campus, next to the Botany garden and always found it inspirational. I want to create a pendant with similar feel some day.
Then we moved on to Mineral Point and strolled the main streets, stopping in several galleries. Along the street was a vacant store front that had paper mache monsters in the window. They were colorful and fun.
While in Mineral Point we stopped by Shake Rag Alley and wandered the grounds.
While it was nice to stroll the main streets in Mineral Point, I realized I can do that any time. What I love about this tour is the opportunity to meet the artist and see the space they work in, as well as see their work. To hear their story and see what inspires them. This set the tone for the rest of the tour.
As we left Mineral Point and headed to Spring Green we stopped to visit a couple of artists along the way in Ridgeway. The first was a glass artist (The Glass Works) who works in an old drafty barn during the warmer months and then moves to her basement when the weather gets cold. She had a couple of visiting glass artist demonstrating. We watched Margaret Kailhofer demonstrate the art of lampwork. Lampwork is use to make small glass items. Usually beads, marble, etc. She demonstrated first how to create an icicle and then while we were all still enraptured started on a marble. While the icicle has room for imprecision the marble takes a lot of precision to get it right. If you’re off by a bit you end up with trick marbles… something just a little off that doesn’t roll strait.
The next stop was the shop of Edward Wohl. He does fine woodworking. There was beautiful furniture and lot of fine wood cutting boards in every size imaginable. It was also like a men’s coffee clutch… you’ve seen them at places like McDonald’s in the afternoon. All the retired men meet for coffee, conversation and comradery. Well, Edward’s shop was crawling with retired men… sitting in one area chatting with Edward’s assistant. Another group was standing around a router, asking questions. It was great to see, since elsewhere on the tour you usually see couples, women or groups.
Once we hit Spring Green we realized that the tour was drawing to a close for the day and there really was not time to see much more. Obviously if we were going to see more artists we would need a second day. Good thing we started the tour on Friday.
Saturday we worked around the house and Sunday set out again to visit more artists.
The first stop Saturday was a blown glass studio and gallery (Gallery Art on 23). In the studio behind the gallery there was a demonstration about to start. Taking front row seats just behind the artist’s bench we got a close-up view of the process.
After leaving Spring Green we stopped by No Rules Jewelry’s studio. It was interesting to see their studio and to see an enameling demo. Interestingly enamel is done with finely ground glass and hardened in a kiln. It is glass fusing on a small scale. I can see where you can really get interesting results with enameling, depending on the technique you choose to use.
On our way from Spring Green to Baraboo we stopped to see Micheal Alexander who does some very interesting wood working. We learned about their process and viewed finished work as well as slabs that will become tables, desks, etc. He used large old trees that have fallen down and need to be removed. They carve off large slabs, leaving the bark attached, and finish them into fine furniture.
After leaving there we headed to Baraboo to see several studios. We received a warm welcome at A Different Angle and Helen’s Daughters Studio… we were welcomed with homemade squash soup. After talking to jeweler Frank Kudla we moved into his wife’s studio for birthday cake… celebrating the 17 years of the Fall Art Tour!
During the Fall Art Tour we saw lots of great art, met talented artists and visited many studios… it’s like looking behind the curtain without diminishing the mystery.