Home is Where the Art Is 10 October – 15 November 2021

Home is Where the Art Is 10 October – 15 November 2021

About the Artists

by Susan Mendenhall

Home is Where the ART Is, the theme of the upcoming exhibit of the Mount Horeb Area Arts Association and the Driftless Historium, October 8 – November 15. This exhibition invites both artists and patrons of the arts to cozy up with a piece of art that takes you to a warm, welcoming, inspiring place. Fifteen artists share a work that speaks to this theme in their specific medium of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, pottery, and jewelry.  Each artist’s passion and intention in creating art is both seen and heard.  What inspires them?  Where does their inspiration take them?

Let’s meet the artists, see their work, and hear how they speak of where a sense of home is found in their art.

MHAAA

Pamela Ruschman, oil painter, claims “home has always been the driftless region for my artistic soul. After living and working in the Milwaukee area for more than 30 years, our family decided to leave the city lights and rediscover the solitude of country living. I’m so delighted to be close to my artistic muse of the livestock and landscape of this beautiful part of southwestern Wisconsin. It’s good to be back HOME.”

Richard Fayram’s watercolor is of a National Register Historical Site that has always been a family home in addition to other businesses that were present, including a hostelry and brewery. “As I completed the watercolor, I realized that it also had a powerful connection to our family. My great grandfather Considine (my grandmother’s family) was a riverboat captain on the Mississippi River of the same era. It was likely that he stopped here on his trips up and down the river as a part of each trip he made.” 

Mount Horeb Area Arts Association
MHAAA

Julie Raasch, photographer and jeweler, is influenced by where she lives. “My restored prairie is where I walk, meditate, and make photos. It influences my creativity in many ways. Home is the heart of my creativity. It is where I live, become inspired, and create.”

Oil painter, Pamela Grabber, speaks to the “validity of our emotional connections with the places where we dwell. “Turn to the Sun” was painted from life in my home studio with sunflowers from our garden. As a gardener, I’m invested in my plants as I tend their needs and await the blooms and fruits Capturing the glory of these vibrant giant sunflowers in oil feels so rewarding – their beauty and my efforts to cultivate them lives on in paint long after the flowers wilt.”

MHAAA
MHAAA

Judy Robb, oil painter, is ‘drawn to the mystique of nature and the curiosities of creatures and their surroundings which is their homeland. History and lore, fact and tradition inspire me and how I translate feelings and ideas in art.”

MHAAA

Chuck Bauer’s oil paintings capture the essence of an emotion and location. “Home is a relative feeling, not only a place. For example, even a park shelter can feel like home, at least for awhile, especially if you’re caught in a thunderstorm as I was while painting one afternoon.”

Susan JAZZ Mendenhall’s watercolors frequently showcase houses. “From the lines of the rooftops to the foundational structure, the design of a house fascinates me. Creating a home is much like creating art. The process is intentional, personal, and forever evolving. Just as each house tells a story of the people who live there, the same is true of a piece of art – both revealing a bit of the artist’s soul.”

MHAAA
MHAAA

Ceramic artist, Heidi Clayton feels called to create for the heart of the home, the kitchen. “When I think home, I think home cooked meals and breaking bread with those I love. I am honored to be included in these rituals through my work, in the hands of those who share important moments with their loved ones.”

John Pahlas who sculps in salvaged steel shares, “My home IS art. Without artistic expression I am literally, spiritually and figuratively homeless! My art has flourished here in the Mount Horeb area, and because this place has taken me in with such outstretched and loving arms, I can keep evolving as an artist, father, & concerned member of this growing community. I feel I’ve found my true self amid the prairies and Savannah’s of old oaks & I am beyond thrilled to see what the future holds here.”

MHAAA
MHAAA

Vicki France uses her camera to capture photographs that remind her of home. “These are the roads that take me home, these are the hills and valleys I grew up with.”

Luci Shirek’s watercolors bring light and color to the paper.
“Home means a sense of peace, a sense of belonging, a place to feel warm and secure.”

MHAAA
MHAAA

Katherine Ford’s watercolors are full of flowers. “Flowers are a gardeners reward for their persistence. It is the anticipation of their beauty that gets me up in the morning and going out to see the changes. Taking close up photographs of flowers allow me more time to interpret their beauty into watercolor paintings and admire the complexity of their design.”

Sue Schuetz, assemblage artist, selected a variety of objects to “represent how women were kept together and held down, often being denied the opportunity to work outside of the home. Their work was, for the most part, contained to home chores.”

MHAAA
MHAAA

Karen Watson-Newlin, acrylic artist, finds “I am most at home with nature and being outdoors walking, hiking, and gardening. This painting is a different look at one area I find for inspiration.”

For photographer, Jessica Curning-Kuenzi, “When I look for a good photograph, I try to find a subject or scene that conveys the peace and serenity of the nature all around us. I capture a moment in time, in hopes that it will provide the future viewer a chance to see the same beauty and feel the same peace I felt while I was there making a photograph. When a piece of my art is in someone’s home, I hope that it can provide them with happiness every time they look at it.”

MHAAA

Mikel Kelley back for his 14th year on the Tour

Mikel Kelley back for his 14th year on the Tour

Mikel Kelley back for his 14th year on the Tour

Mikel Kelley has been with the Spring Art Tour since the beginning

Mikel’s ceramics studio has been a part of the Mt. Horeb community for over 20 years, and he is one of the original organizers of the Tour. His work can be seen all over town—from private sculptures to his iconic Grumpy Troll mugs. Stop by 4th Street Ceramics June 4-6 to see the artist at work, view artwork, or commission a piece.

Mikel Kelley's mugs on display at Grumpy Troll

See Mikel Kelley’s work

during this year’s Spring Art Tour, June 4-6. Meanwhile, see a preview, get tour information and more at his Spring Art Tour Artist page!

Kelley Mikel, ceramic green mug

Kelley Mikel, ceramic sculpture, 'Phuk Covid'
Kelley Mikel, ceramic tile
Heidi Clayton: Wunderkind, president,…

Heidi Clayton: Wunderkind, president,…

Heidi Clayton: Wunderkind, president,…

A full plate, and a beautiful one at that!

Heidi Clayton, co-owner of Center Ground Studios, potter, teacher, wife and mom, MHAAA president tireless worker at other jobs as well, and just barely into her 3rd decade of life? Wunderkind! We at MHAAA are thrilled to have Clayton as our hard-working, utterly charming, inspiring leader, and are so grateful for all that she does.

Heidi Clayton, potter, unfired serving dish
Heidi Clayton, potter, unfired serving dish

That said, Heidi, lately got back into the studio after too much time taking care of everything and everybody else. She recently writes:
“First time back in the studio for what seems like forever. I wanted to try an oval serving dish and some medium bowls to get back in the swing of things. I have to say it feels really good to touch clay again!”

Back in the Studio…

creating more beautiful, functional ceramic ware for you to enjoy in your own home. You can see Clayton’s wonderful ware in person during this year’s Spring Art Tour (her 6th year on the Tour), June 4-6. Meanwhile, see a preview, shop her online store, get tour information and more at her Spring Art Tour Artist page!

Coffee pitcher by Heidi Clayton
Heidi Clayton, potter; wheel-thrown, ceramic bowl
Ceramic Oil Cruet by Heidi Clayton

Hello Spring. Hello Spring Art Tour.

Hello Spring. Hello Spring Art Tour.

Hello Spring. Hello Spring Art Tour.

June 4, 2021: the Tour returns!

It’s a new year, and after taking a hiatus in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the Spring Art Tour is back for 2021, June 4-6! Well, 29 of us that is, in slightly different studio spaces—some of us might be outside of our studios, in tents, garages, or barns… We will be wearing and requiring masks to be worn inside our studios. More info can be found at our Spring Art Tour page.

outside wall of Market Weight Press, the studio of S.V. Medaris

Zuzu on guard outside Market Weight Press during the height of the Pandemic, 2020

In 2006

…the first group of artists met at Zalucha Studio to make a plan and determine how to proceed. They included Peggy Flora Zalucha, and several artists who are still on the Spring Art Tour to this day: Tamlyn Akins, Jane Varda, and Mikel Kelley.

As Tamlyn explains: “We tried to join the Fall Art Tour initially but were declined because they felt they couldn’t expand their tour area. At that point we decided to create our own tour. We discussed the desire to create a high quality tour with the intention to have a Selection Committee who would be responsible for maintaining a high standard. We discussed in depth how the tour should be coordinated, conducted, and when it should take place. We also decided to create a non-profit arts organization so that we would be eligible for grants.”

Peggy Flora Zalucha's 'Ready to Roll,' watercolor and ink

Peggy Flora Zalucha

Opulent Orchids, watercolor by Tamlyn Akins

Tamlyn Akins

Jane Varda's 'Amber Waves' oil

Jane Varda

Kelley Mikel, ceramic green mug

Mikel Kelley

It would be a lot of work.

Needing to take it to the next level, Peggy and Tamlyn, working with an attorney and CPA to get all their legal ducks in a row, created the organization legally, filed for non-profit status and all of the necessary IRS and WI Dept. of Revenue documents. It took them almost a full year. Because they didn’t yet have their 501(C)3 status during the 2007 tour, they filed for grants under the non-profit umbrella of the WVA. Peggy, who had served on the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission/Dane Arts and knew a lot about grant writing, coached Tamlyn through the process. To this day, Tamlyn is responsible for all of the grant writing for our organization. She continues to secure grants for the Spring Art Tour, and the MHAAA—necessary financial support without which our nonprofit would not exist.

From 2007-2020, up until last year, when a new Board of Directors was formed, Tamlyn was responsible for designing the Spring Art Tour brochure, the website, writing grants, and helping in just about every aspect of the Tour (whew!), pushing to make the Spring Art Tour the professional, successful, popular event it is today, attended by hundreds every year.

Spring Art Tour brochure from 2020 (which was subsequently cancelled due to Covid)

With many thanks…

As the new Board of Directors works to ensure the Spring Art Tour is a continued success, we recognize the herculean effort, work and time Tamlyn put into the Spring Art Tour these past years, and we are grateful for her continued work as grant writer and co-chair of the Spring Art Tour to this day. From all of us at MHAAA: Thank you for all that you do, Tamlyn!

The Spring Art Tour: This project is supported by Dane County Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.