If you were to look up Artists' Studio Tour on Google you would find over 38,000,000 entries. So I guess it would be safe to say that Artist Studio Tours abound in the US and most cities and towns engage in this form of promoting the arts.
In St. Lawrence County, in Upstate New York, we have been having artist studio tours for at least 20 years and I have been actively participating for at least half of those years. I have seen this event grow and become a great opportunity for artists and the public. This year there were 39 participating artists. Our usual brochure grew into a booklet and many studios were open for the full 3 days of the event.
I think this event is very special which is why I am writing about it. It is special to me because for a remote, rural county-- geographically, the largest county east of the Missippi River-- we have an exceptionally active artistic community. And we have a very interested public. In addition, we now have an active and forward looking Arts Council with a Director, Hilary Oak, who believes in the arts and is very good at their promotion. Not only is a studio tour a smart marketing opportunity for artists, it is also a chance to educate the public about how our individual creations are made. For me, the fun this year was involving my guests in ceramic bead glazing and glass fused pendants. All that participated experieced a sense of joy in participating in their own creative process. And I felt so happy that I could make this happen and give back to my guests who are friends, customers, and people new to me this year.
Here is a photo of some of the lovely ceramic bead glazing my talented guests did.
After the tour was over, there was still some of the colorful glazes they had used leftover in the paint dishes. Since I don't usually use much glaze, mostly stains, I thought about throwing them out since they were getting dry. But in the end, I didn't have the heart to do it, so I began glazing some beads that I had around. I took my own advice and put on several coats so I would get bright colors. And did I ever love the results. Now I want to make more and here is what I have to play with for the next weeks. So I say thank you to my guests for coming and letting me share my skills with them, and I say thank you again for using all those bright colors and getting me inspired.