For the past 10 years I have had the pleasure of being a tour member on Over the Mountain Studio Tour. It is in it’s 34th year and is the oldest studio tour in WV.
As we head into our tour weekend I find myself thinking about why belonging to this varied and changing group of artists matters.
As artists we tend to spend much of our time in a solitary space. To be in the process of designing, fabricating, refining our work it is necessary to focus inward. And then we open our doors, or lay our wares in front of our audience. To belong to a group of artisans is for me a middle space. Being among other artists is a place where the vulnerability of making craft can be understood. To be among others who have a daily or weekly, a regular practice of creating artwork, who can offer encouragement, suggestion or gentle critique from a place of understanding is a powerful thing.
I have the job each year of promoting the tour’s artists on our Facebook page and writing press releases. It allows me a deep dive into each artist’s new works, to pull our community into thinking about art if just for a moment. It allows me to stop and appreciate the process and progress of a very diverse group’s works. And to marvel at each individual’s skill and elegance of design, their sense of humor their thoughtfulness and their ingenuity.
And it allows me to reflect that back into my work with a renewed sense of purpose.
I hope you will join us this year for our tour.