Local artists will open up their creative spaces to the public this weekend for demonstrations and intimate discussions about their work in the seventh annual Carroll County Artists Studio Tour. More than a dozen artists will be on hand at eight studios all around the county.
"We think it's important to see where people do their work," said Gwen Handler, of Hill Farm in Westminster. "We have studios on the tour so people can see working places, not just a gallery."
Handler raises sheep on the farm, spins and dyes yarn and makes fiber crafts. Her husband, Larry Fisher, is a woodworker. Some of his handmade projects include cutting boards and wooden boxes.
Handler said the studio tour is her chance to make new friends and to talk with longtime supporters. Some people come every year just to visit or shop for the holidays, she said.
Hill Farm is listed as Stop 7 on the studio tour, but Handler said the order of stops is only a suggestion. The group of artists laid out the order of stops in a way to make it easy to get to all the locations in one day. Visitors can go to the studios in any order or only visit the sites in which they are most interested.
Joyce Shaum has won acclaim as a basket maker with previous exhibits at the Smithsonian Craft Show and Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, among others. She said she will be chatting with people at Stop 1 at Thistledown Farm Pottery, in Taneytown, because her home studio is not handicapped accessible.
Several artists said that handicapped accessibility was an issue on previous studio tours. This year, all the studio stops on the tour have ramps and handicapped-accessible restrooms to make it possible for those with disabilities to visit all the locations.
Schaum said spreading education about the arts to as many people as possible is always important. She said the studio tour is a chance to talk to people about the arts in an environment that is less chaotic than an art show.
"It's a really good chance to meet everyone one-on-one," she said.
Also, she said, in a studio environment, visitors may think of questions they wouldn't have thought of in a regular show. They see what is present in the creative process.
At Shiloh Pottery in Hampstead (Stop 5), artist and teacher Ken Hankins wants visitors to try their hand at pottery. Hankins teaches ceramic arts at McDaniel College as well as pottery classes for adults and children at his studio.
Visitors can throw their own piece. It will be glazed and fired by the professionals and then they can pick it up in a week or two, said Hankins.
Another well-known local potter, Nick Corso, will also be at Shiloh Pottery. Someone will be spinning wool, and a blacksmith will be at work at the farm and studio.
"We will be out there showing people what we do," said Hankins.