Tuesday, October 14, 2008



Saturday and Sunday, I unlocked my front door and welcomed strangers, friends and neighbors into my home and my studio. It was a little scary, to be honest, to open up my solitary studio space and process to new people. I felt a little uncomfortable letting others see unfinished work especially pieces still in process. But I loved doing the demos, showing children and adults how I do what I do.

That's the mission of Portland Open Studios Tour, to let the public see artists at work. And I believe and support that mission. I feel strongly that the more people see working artists, the more they'll understand and appreciate finished art work.

I've never done anything like this before, so it's all been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Since being juried into this year's tour in March, I've had a lot of new experiences. There were meetings large and small. I was a little intimidated attending the first large group meeting but very quickly felt at ease as everyone introduced themselves and we split up into smaller groups by our volunteer jobs and neighborhood areas. I went to smaller meetings for publicity. I volunteered to write for the group blog. I was a professional writer in a previous 'career' but hadn't used those skills in a while, so this was another new adventure for me.

During the course of the last seven months, I've met many wonderful, fun, creative and supportive artists. At my 'cluster' group get togethers, I met 8 other artists who all live within 5 minutes of my studio. I've demonstrated my copper repousse' work next to printers, stone sculptors, painters and weavers on a beautiful summer day in a park. I've interviewed at least 7 other artists for the group's blog site as well as writing the audio scripts for podcasts. http://www.infopods.org/

But most important of all, for me, was meeting all those curious 'tour' visitors. I showed how I form my screening sculptures and copper repousse' to men, women and children of all ages. As they wandered through my studio and home gallery, they asked all sorts of interesting questions, made wonderful observations and showed their appreciation of my work.

There are many people in my own neighborhood who have no idea what I do all day. So it gave me an opportunity to show my work to them. It also gave me a chance to display the pieces in a home setting, as well as explain the concepts and stories that direct and inspire my pieces.

I admit, I was exhausted at the end of the weekend. It was a lot of work. But it was also a very rich and rewarding experience especially when the last visitor of the day said that my studio was the best one yet!

For anyone in the Portland area this next weekend, my studio will be open again both Saturday and Sunday from 10-5. Buy a tour guide at http://www.portlandopenstudios.com/ then come on by and visit!!!

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