By Susan Eaton Mendenhall
Our Spring Art Tour artists are busy getting ready for you. Their studios are a happening place where magic and creativity are center stage. Thought you might like an inside look at how these artists make the amazing creations you see as finished items ready for purchase.
Artists have patterns of how they nudge their work into being. Nana Schowalter works with metal. Her studio needs to have order – things in their place. At the end of each day, she cleans and organizes so it is ready for the next day’s work. Same is true for charcoal artist, Emily Reuter, who says preparing a clean workspace is therapeutic. Ceramist, Mikel Kelley, finds a clean and orderly studio provides the perfect environment for his work to happen. Sarah Aslakson’s colorful painting discipline starts with light colors moving into dark colors; beginning at the front of the painting working towards the back. Wood artist, Bob Bergman listens to audible books while his bowls are turned, sanded, and oiled. Wonder what tales are being told in his beautiful works of art? For jeweler, Julie Raash, a cup of tea is essential to the opening of her studio. Jeweler, Kerri Shannon centers hers focus by looking at her collections of gemstones and metals, then opens her sketchbook, scribbles ideas as she arranges and rearrange them into pleasing designs. This is very similar to jeweler, Patty Klarer, who lays out her materials to see and hear what is calling her. Could it be color? Could it be shape? Is that the voice of the muse, you ask? Assemblage artist, Sue Schuetz honors the muse and when ‘she’ calls Sue responds. Painter, Susan Mendenhall, intentionally invites play into her studio. Don’t get too serious. Let that playful muse out of the box! Letterpress printer, Christy Nesja, knows that her best work is done in the morning. Photographer, Vicki France keeps an eye on the weather and chases the outdoor drama with her camera. We all might want to join painter, Luci Shirek in her studio. Red Twizzlers are on hand to nudge that creative spirit into action.
Our artists also have reasons why they chose their art form. Photographer, Jessica Curning Kuenzi’s was inspired by her grandparents’ National Geographic Magazines. The photographs captivated her imagination. A gift of a $10 camera at age 8 began her journey that we now see through her lens of expression. Wood artist, Chad Grob, says he was meant to work with wood as he grew up on Wood Road. When his parents bought acres of woodland, he helped his dad harvest firewood. As a teenager he watched his uncle turn wood on the lathe. It was meant to be!
Artists have hopes and dreams for the pieces they create. Painter, Rick Ross, hopes that his paintings invite the opportunity for a person to get lost in the wonder and away from the present moment. Pamela Ruschman’s paintings are to share her love of Wisconsin, the land and livestock in this beautiful state of ours. Peggy Flora Zalucha’s hope is that each painting helps the buyer to find the positive in all things. The jewelry of Ivy Klarer is not only beautiful to wear but she wants it to raise the wearer’s vibration and energy as a reminder of beauty and love. “I hope to stimulate an unleashing of childlike curiosity, bringing wonder and joy to the Beholder,” says watercolorist, Katherine Ford. Upcycling artist, David Timberlake, has his fingers crossed that his creations of discarded materials show how they are still useful, even whimsical. The acrylic paintings of Karen Watson-Newlin invite the buyer to stop, look and observe beauty in nature. In a similar vein, Peg Ginsberg’s watercolors open us to the possibilities of what the world, particularly nature, have to offer.
Each artist creates with intention, passion, skill, and joy. Hours pass in the studio. Some days the work is finished. Other days it is begun. Many a day finds a frustrated artist just plodding along – doing the work, going with the flow, being honorable to the muse who calls. With each piece the buyer receives a part of the artist’s spirit, story, and journey. That’s the beauty of it all.
By Susan Eaton Mendenhall