Open Studios— Tour to showcase how artists create
- Published: October 24, 2019
Artists and artisans create their studio spaces where they can. Painter and illustrator Kathy Verner Moulton works in an attachment to her West Center College house that once served as her mother’s living area; jewelry maker and multi-media artist Talitha Green shares the basement of her Omar Circle home with her luthier husband; and glass artist Theresa Mayer has set up her creative operation in a converted garage at her family’s wooded property on the edge of John Bryan State Park.
The three women’s work settings are among 10 such spaces that will be featured this weekend when the Yellow Springs Open Studios Tour returns Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 20.
Traditionally held the third weekend in October, the free, self-guided tour is in its fourth year under the organization of the Yellow Springs Arts Council. The council picked up the event when the founder and lead organizer of the previous and similarly named YS Artist Studio Tour and Sale, locally based artist Lisa Goldberg, retired from that endeavor after 15 years.
This year’s outing will have a slightly different focus from past tours, according to Nancy Mellon, the YS Arts Council’s gallery coordinator and one of the event’s four core organizers, along with Moulton, Sara Gray and Dianne Collinson.
“It’s not so much about artists selling art as it is about artists making visible how they create art,” Mellon said. “Some will have tools out and answer questions. Some will show you how they work.”
Eighteen artists in all will be participating in the two-day event, with eight setting up as “guest artists” at several of the tour stops.
Their work ranges from glass, to ceramics, to photography, to sculpture, to print-making, to fiber arts, to jewelry, to wood-working, to acrylic, oil, watercolor and digital painting.
Some work is utilitarian, some decorative, some both.
Studios are big and small, austere and cluttered. Equipment and tools vary depending on materials and processes.
Kathy Verner Moulton
Moulton’s studio, found by walking along a brick path around the side of her house, is a sun-drenched space filled with color and whimsy, reflected in the paintings and illustrations she creates there.
Animals are a frequent and favorite subject, with a collection of Beanie Babies and other plush toys serving as inspiration, especially for the children’s story illustrations she makes. Moulton is also known for her painted series of familiar buildings and businesses in town, the images of which have been transformed into prints and greeting cards.
She said vivid colors and whimsical illustrations have appealed to her since she was a child.
“I loved Walt Disney,” she said.
While her early work involved paints or pen and ink, she began using a computer as a creative tool in the early 2000s. She made the transition after working for a time with local builder Jonathan Brown to complete computerized house plans.
She enjoyed the process and wondered about using the same tools for art-making. Today, she works almost exclusively in a digital format.
“It’s really fun,” she said. “And this is cleaner,” she added, pointing to her monitor and digital drawing pad.
Moulton said that the computer serves as a tool for her individual process.
“I work in layers, and I like to move things around. It’s kind of like a puzzle,” Moulton said. “I can save [images] and reuse them. It’s just a different way to draw and paint.”
While Moulton works in the digital realm, Talitha Greene’s materials are tangibly earthbound.
A jewelry designer who worked at the former Rita Caz shop for 24 years, Greene uses natural stones and metals to create her various series or one-of-a-kind pieces.
She takes inspiration from natural materials, some of which she collects on hikes and in her travels as a cross-country truck driver.
“I look at a stone, and say, ‘This will work good like this,’” she said.
If asked to choose, she said her favorite stone is lapis, but she said she appreciates the endless variety.
“I love all the different rocks there are, and how gorgeous they are,” she said. “It’s just amazing how many kinds of stones there are — fascinating really.”
She also enjoys working with trilobites and other fossils, as well as fossilized wood, setting them in a variety of metals that include sterling, gold, copper, brass and bronze.
Greene’s professional artistic path began with a metal smithing class given by Rita Caz’s co-owner Mark Crockett. She said she was hooked on the process, and followed up with more classes, some at the Bryan Center and others at area colleges and schools.
“And I got on-the-job training, too,” she said.
In addition to her personal creations, Greene said she also completes a variety of custom work for local clients.
“I’ve designed a lot of wedding rings for people here in town,” she said.
Greene’s artistic expression also extends to painting, stained glass and photography, some of which will be on display this weekend.
She said she plans to set up outside in her backyard, with tents and a bonfire, for the tour.
Glass artist Theresa Mayer, who creates jewelry along with other glass-based work, will be giving lampwork glass bead demonstrations in her cozy studio on John Bryan Road. The lampwork process involves using a torch, or “lamp,” to melt the glass, which is shaped with various tools.
Jars of thin, colored glass sticks fill the surfaces of her artist’s retreat. With a small propane flame, she melts the sticks, forming them into large and small beads, or using them like paint to decorate and create designs on her beaded creations.
Mayer said her first forays with glass were in stained glass, and then she worked for a time with the fused-glass process — creating works by fusing different pieces of glass together.
But a class in lampwork bead-making at the Springfield Art Museum opened up a new and rewarding pursuit, she said.
She said the process was also physically easier for her to manage than other glass forms, as she lives with mobility effects after breaking her neck in a car accident more than two decades ago.
A teacher before the accident, the extended recuperation time left her looking for an alternative fulfilling pursuit.
“I loved art, and used to take art classes as electives in college,” Mayer said. “When I couldn’t teach anymore, I went back to something I always loved.”
She began signing up for classes in watercolor, illustration and glass. She responded most to glass.
“I love color,” she said. “The color in glass is so beautiful and vibrant.”
The process, however, involves more than color. There’s a science involved, too, in the properties of the materials, their expansion rates and the heat levels involved. Mayer seems to relish the complexity.
Her studio also includes four kilns of different sizes and purposes, one of which reaches nearly 1,000 degrees in temperature.
Mayer said she has learned a lot from other glass artists, and she also appreciates the support of the local artist community.
Greene and Moulton also said they value the local community and activities like the Open Studios Tour.
“We know there are a lot of artists in town, but we don’t always know what they do,” Moulton said, speaking as a local resident as well as an artist.
The open studios give visitors a chance to see new art, meet and talk to working artists, learn more about their creative process, buy original work and learn the story behind their purchase.
The event also represents a collaboration between the organizers, the artists, the Arts Council and the village. The Chamber of Commerce provides support, and Bing Design developed the tour website — -ysopenstudios.ysartscouncil.org.
The website offers a variety of features, including a color-coded, interactive map of all the participating studios and a listing of artists with biographies, photos of their work, contact information and links to their individual websites.
The listing of artists will remain online as a directory after the event, so that visitors can continue to have access to artist information and contact details.
In addition to Moulton, Greene and Mayer, other artists participating this year are: Lynn Riewerts Carine, wheel-thrown functional ware; Jeannamarie Cox, wearable designs and mixed media; Carol Culbertson, weaving and pottery; Dennie Eagleson, photography; Susan Finster, functional ceramics; Sara M. Gray, fused glass; Pam Geisel, art quilts; Beth Holyoke, painting and ceramic tiles; Nancy Mellon, fiber, clay, paint; Bruce Parker, wood furniture and decorative pieces; Janine Phillips, jewelry and essential oil diffusers; Kathryn Pitstick, printmaking; Libby Rudolf, watercolors; Angela Smith, photography; and Michael West, wood-turned household items.
The Yellow Springs Open Studios tour will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 20. Maps are available online at the website listed above, as well as at the YS Arts Council Gallery, the Chamber office at the Train Station and various locations throughout the village. Admission is free.