Sometimes it’s hard to believe that this is actually my job. Well, jobette. And that they pay me to do this!
A few days ago, I left work around 11:00 am to go on a tour of artists’ studios. This is a new local business, and the tour operator wanted to take around some people as a sort of test drive. There were 8 of us: me, two gallery owners, my counterpart at the Chamber of Commerce, and the rest worked at hotels.
We were driven around in a comfortable, climate controlled van, equipped with water bottles and a flat screen TV, which showed movies of the artists we were going to visit. It was one of those postcard days when even I can hardly blame the tourists for driving so slowly, and it was great to be able to actually look at the scenery instead of the long and winding road.
We visited Paul Reiber, who does wonderful things with wood. Here is his studio:
He made these mirrors. The round heron one was made for his mother, and he got it back when she passed away. The circle of life…
He also made these charming toys:
And this breathtaking headboard, showing various stages in an iris’ life:
We had a lovely tray of appetizers to accompany our wine tasting at the Wine Shop:
We had a tasting flight of five wines, four from the County and one was what Mark, the sole proprietor, calls a “ringer” from another county, in this case, Sonoma. They were all delicious. Mark says, “The first law of wine is drink what you like.”
Next, we visited Richard Yaski’s studio. He does amazing things with metal:
This is a memorial to his late wife:
It reminded me of what Christopher Wren’s tombstone in St. Paul’s Cathedral says: “Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you.” I imagine this beautiful, hushed place was dear to her when she lived there. It is a very moving piece.
This house on Richard’s property is made out of an old school bus:
He drove it here when he moved from Los Angeles more than 40 years ago, and he lived in it for many years. Now it’s rented out. Here’s another view of the house (note the tail lights beside the front door):
Next was Julie Higgins’ house. By this time, I felt like I was on an episode of “Cribs: Hooterville”. This is Julie’s home and studio:
Here is some of her work, displayed in her living room:
It was a wonderful experience to be able to meet the artists and be welcomed into their homes and/or workplaces. This area is famous for having more artists per capita than anywhere else in the country, so it’s really special to be able to talk to the artists about their work, their inspirations*, and techniques, in the very place that the artwork is created.
*One thing that struck me was that all the artists are inspired by the local ravens, which seem to be very powerful symbols. They are supposed to be able to divine the future as well as being keepers of secrets. Some say they are bringers of light. Whatever they are, they are inspiring and mysterious.