Art lovers return for tour year after year
Carloads of people driving along scenic routes alongside trees bright and full with colourful leaves slowed as they approached Studio Tour signs dotted along the landscape throughout the county last weekend. The signs, each marked with a different letter, led people on a self-guided tour to 25 studios and showrooms of local artists and craftspeople and their guests on the first weekend – Oct. 5 and 6 – of the 32nd annual tour.
In Lochlin, at Studio R, Lia’s Glass Dreams at 4764 Gelert Road brought visitors from the colours of the season to a colourful studio and showroom filled with Lia Howe’s work.
“We do this every single year,” said Terri Hudson, who was visiting friends on Gull Lake from Toronto and was waiting to have a purchase wrapped at Lia’s Glass Dreams. “There are six of us that come together and we do the Studio Tour. It’s just a lot of fun.”
Hudson said the group had the stops mapped out, and would likely visit five or six stops along the tour this year.
“Every year we do try and sort of do something different, so we do check them all out, maybe every three years,” she said.
Howe has been on the Studio Tour for 10 years, after applying for a spot for 10 years.
“I love the camaraderie between all the artists, trying to bring everyone together to promote the arts in the community,” she said.
Howe said the Studio Tour offered a good chance for people to “see what’s out there and buy local,” offering the opportunity to “come out and feel it and touch it before you buy it.”
She also said the tour offers something different each year with new or guest artists, and as artists learn and become interested in new techniques and trends.
“We’re all totally obsessed so we all are always into something different,” she laughed.
In Minden, longtime friends and artists Carole Finn and Mary Intven Wallace were together at the Finn Artist Centre at 15 Newcastle Street, Studio Z on the tour.
The artists dubbed the stop on the tour “works of old friends together again.” Their friendship goes back decades, and both individually and together they have a longstanding history with the arts. Finn was a founding partner in the Haliburton School of the Arts, now Haliburton School of Art + Design, and founder and first curator of the Rails End Gallery, among other achievements, and Intven Wallace was a founder of the Studio Tour more than three decades ago, among other achievements.
“It’s just been lovely, reconnecting,” said Intven Wallace of being invited to show in Minden alongside Finn and being able to meet with local friends and artists after having moved out of the area. “It’s kind of like full circle, close the circle, come back and it’s wonderful.”
Finn and Intven Wallace both continued with formal education as adults, and their experiences with the Canadian landscape and passion for the natural environment have been instrumental in their work.
“Her big thing has been about going to the Arctic, and it has made her life and her focus and everything entirely different, and my big thing was going to Great Bear Rainforest, and getting involved with all that,” said Finn. “Just the parallels are spooky. Different places, no connection, nothing, and I think that is just wonderful.”
“She had this great brainwave of how we’ve both gone on similar paths in totally different places without knowing we were doing the same thing,” said Intven Wallace. “It’s just been lovely reconnecting.”
Between telling stories of her career to guests, and hugging old friends stopping by for a visit, Intven Wallace continued to paint, pausing only after completing a few brush strokes.
“It’s just that passion, how can you share it?” she said. “Oh, I know, I’ll just paint it!”
The 32nd annual Studio Tour continues on the weekend of Oct. 12 and 13. To learn more about the Studio Tour or to download a self-guided tour map, visit thestudiotour.ca.