Meeting the neighboring artists…

This past Sunday John and I decided to meet some of the artists on the MHAAA Spring Art Tour, a tour of artist studios in Verona, Mount Horeb, Blue Mounds, Black Earth, Mazomanie, and Cross Plains. We wanted to learn about artists in our area.

4 iron lamps on pedestals and a wood top table with iron legs

Luke Proctor's work.

man hammering on an anvil

Luke working iron on his anvil. His anvil fits exactly where the original anvil stood in the old shop.

The first stop was L. Proctor Ironworks in Mount Vernon. This was of particular interest to us for a couple of reasons. I really like wrought iron and the shop was in nearby Mount Veron. We drive past the shop every time we head into Madison. Blacksmith Luke Proctor bought the building—which originally served as a blacksmith shop, but had become a giant storage shed—and brought it back to life. We had watched him restore the building, wall by wall, as we drove past each day and wondered about the progress.

Luke explained that while he uses traditional iron working techniques he found it easier and more practical to use modern equipment, such as a gas forge instead of wood or coal. During his demonstrations he also showed off his 50-lb electric hammer. Luke informed us that it saves his arm when doing the initial forming and then he finishes and details his pieces with a hand-held hammer.

man working iron and candle stick holder

Luke using his 50-lb electric hammer (left); wrought iron candle stick holders Luke has made (right).

To find out more about L.Proctor Ironworks go to

2 glass pears on a love seat

Audrey Handler's art.

glass pears

Glass pears in the kiln (left).

man sitting

Audrey's husband (top); inside of a walnut (bottom).

The next stop was Audrey Handler’s glass blowing studio. Audrey explained the process of glass blowing and how she built all of her own equipment. Her ovens and kilns were built in place in the cheese room of an old cheese factory her studio now occupies. After looking at her beautiful work of plates, fuit, and sculptures, we went upstairs to her husband’s woodshop.

Her husband showed us how he puts together the furniture that Audrey uses in her sculptures. It was very interesting to hear how he creates with the wood and especially to learn how he sees the wood itself. How he used the grain of a certain wood to create the impression of woven chairs. Or the pattern in a different type of wood to simulate an oriental rug. He had even found other interesting uses for things, such as the native walnut. He has sliced it in thin pieces and plans to use it as a chair back… who knew the inside of a walnut could be so beautiful.





signs and tools

Signs in Audrey's glass blowing studio (left); I especially like the 'no smoking within 50 feet sign' they hung next to one of the glass furnaces; glass making tools (right).

If you wish to see more of Audrey’s work go to

arrow pointing at the door

Arrow saying 'Here It Is' points to the entrance of Jill's studio.

After leaving Audrey’s studio we headed out to jill2day. The studio of Jill Kerttula. When I first entered Jill’s studio I was stunned by the wall of sweaters. She had a huge selection of sweaters from which to create. Jill confessed that she had more sweaters stashed in another room. Those are her sweater groups. Jill groups her sweaters in threes. Then she makes several items out of that one group. Jill makes lovely sweater dresses, tops and skirts. She has recently added knit tops to her inventory because clients wanted to wear her clothing in warmer weather too!

woman in front of a wall of sweaters

Jill reaching for a stack of sweaters.

sweaters and thread

Wall of cubbies full of sweaters (left); wall of thread and inspiration (right) - note the blocks.

dressing dummies and row of clothing

Dressing dummies with projects in progress (left); row of knit tops (right).

To see more of Jill’s work or buy one of her pieces go to

printed pig

Life-size print of a pig.

stuffed chickens and shadow box

Corn king shadow box with chicken friends.

Jill recommended that we definitely make it out see Sue Medaris’s studio. Sue is a printmaker whose work I had coincidently seen on campus at the Art Loft. Sue prints everything from very large, like the life-sized pig, to the very small, a book that was about 2 inches x 2 inches. After looking at the 8-foot-long wood cut I was in awe. Sue said she printed something that large in three sections. The ink would just dry too fast to be able to print the whole thing at once.







Printing table (left); ink (right).

lino cut

Lino cut used for printing.


Print samples (left) - each as an additional color added; printed book Sue created and the lino cut it was printed from (right).

prints in large frame

Prints of farm animals that Sue likes to frame in large, detailed frames.

desk area

I love to see what inspires the artist. Sue has small toy farm animals in this box and around the desk area.

To see more of Sue’s work go to

It was a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon and great to see the talented artists in the area.

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3 Responses to Meeting the neighboring artists…

  1. Thanks for the great tour of artist’s studios! Great photos- very inspiring.

  2. jill2day says:

    Thanks so much Julie – It was so good to see you again!! Jill

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