PORTSMOUTH — Since 2001, artists have furiously cleaned their studios and thrown open their doors inviting the public to learn, unearth hidden treasures, and buy direct from the maker during the Portsmouth Holiday Arts Tour.
This year’s tour takes place this weekend, Friday through Sunday.
“Nineteen years ago we decided to invite people into our home studios to show collectors what it is we really do, and where we do it,” says Maureen Mills, one of the founders. “Today the tour is part of the season’s tradition for artist and visitor.”
It’s a party with benefits. For the artist, it’s a chance to experience the public’s reaction to the work, and to get to know them. For the buyer/viewer it’s a way to be more informed about the art and its maker.
“It’s a celebration of sorts,” Mills says. “It’s friends with mutual interests sharing an experience.”
The participating artists, selected for skill and variety, range from masters of their fields to emerging artists. Its roster boasts some of the best in their chosen medium.
This year’s event features nine studios with 18 artists. Two are Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant recipients, and nine are members of the League of NH Craftsmen. The majority have exhibited nationally. Seven have shown, taught and or demonstrated internationally, among them Kristina Logan, Maureen Mills and Victoria and Lawrence Elbroch, Lisa Grey, and Peter Happny.
“I think one of the reasons people enjoy it so much, and come back year after year, is they’ll see familiar artists, but always a few new faces,” says Lisa Grey, a print and textile collage artist. “I also think the variety of medium, style and price range has kept people interested, that and the fact it’s a low-key event, perfect to take in with friends.”
This year’s art includes stoneware and porcelain wares, monoprints, mixed media collage, printmaking and drawing, photography, carved and illustrated ceramics, jewelry (glass beads and fused, metal and porcelain), felt scarves and wall art, hand-cut designs, cabinetry, blacksmithing/metalwork, illustration, woodwork and acrylic and encaustic paintings.
“It’s surprising what’s tucked away in these nine locations,
Mills says. “It’s also surprising who is there.”
The tour also features Karen Orsillo, Nancy Kanner, Emma Ashby, Diane Stradling, Tess Feltes, Lucinda Clarke, Bill Clarke, Dyanna Smith, and three generations of women artists: Kristina Logan, Reg Logan and Sophia Logan-Barré.
As always, many of the artists will demonstrate their processes periodically throughout the tour.
PHAT’s FREE Studio Checkpoint Pass and Raffle is also back. Visit all nine studios over the course of the weekend, get your passport marked at each one, and be eligible to win one of a number of original works by participating artists.
A free passport and information on how it works is available at each studio.
For information on the artists, tour times, the raffle, and to download the Portsmouth Holiday Arts Tour tour map check out www.PortsmouthArtsTour.com.