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Countdown to Tour

In less than two weeks is the Off the Beaten Path Art Studio Tour. If you are in central Florida, this is happening the weekend of February 22, 23 in West Volusia County in the towns of DeLand and Lake Helen. This will be my third year on the tour and I cannot wait to have my studio filled with visitors! (I am stop #6 on the tour!)

Visitors to my studio will probably be surprised and maybe puzzled by some of the equipment they see. The purpose of this tour is to allow folks to see us artists in our “natural habitats”, see the tools and equipment we use, and enjoy demonstrations of us working. All of that will be on full display. Comments from past visitors have been about how bright my studio is. Very true. I painted the walls a soft sea glass color, added white floor tile to reflect light, and did a major upgrade to the ceiling lighting, changing to a zillion LED can lights around the perimeter and some LED strip lights in the middle. Why? Well, the only existing natural light is from the four PORTHOLES in the walls!! Yep, real portholes from a navy submarine. Why? I have no idea because this was done by a previous owner of the property. He liked them and I just kept them (too expensive to change!) and put a metal fish inside one and flowers inside the others!

Behind the Scenes…But what if you could be a fly on the wall of my studio when it isn’t Studio Tour weekend? My natural habitat is a noisy place most time, with hammering, sawing, and all sorts of other loud sounds. There are leaves on the floor, dragged in on the long fur of my Polish Lowland sheepdog assistant, Sammi. And there are toys, balls, and a water bowl that I inevitably bump into at least once a day. Music is blaring, ranging from Bocelli to the Bee Gees, depending on how I am feeling. And I generally sing along and dance, too, if I feel like it! Fortunately, my studio is in a stand-alone building so no one else can hear me!

You would probably see a cold cup of tea brought in early in the day and forgotten. You would notice the white board with all kinds of lists scrawled on it. There would be papers stacked and projects in various stages of completion dotting the room. I tend to move from one project to another throughout the day. I rarely start and finish a project straight through. I like to wander around the room and check in on all the works in progress.

And then you would certainly see a bunch of things totally unrelated to metal work or jewelry making. I spend a great deal of my time volunteering at the historical society just a few blocks away. I am in charge of a youth program we started 2 years ago called History Seekers. I do weekend workshops for kids, hands on workshops teaching them “handed down” crafts. I use my studio to make the tools, the samples, the displays and whatever else I need for my workshops. Since some of my tools are like miniature woodworking tools, I am able to do small woodworking projects like creating wooden handled paper bead tools. Mini cut off saw? Check. Drill press? Check. Belt sander? Check. Sandpaper? Check. All of this stuff comes in pretty handy at times!

In the course of creating my Double Vision collection, I worked with natural fibers to create some felted items which will be on display during the tour. I really enjoy working with fibers and decided to jump into felting with both feet. Yes, feet. I decided to make a pair of felted shoes for myself for a costume party a few weeks ago. So, my studio became a fiber wonderland and I created a pair of shoes…

So, that is what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in my studio. Never a dull moment! Please feel free to comment, ask questions and get in touch at any time. And take a look at my collections. Perhaps you will see something that makes you smile!

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