Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Three Rivers Studio Tour 8

We spent Saturday on the Three Rivers Studio Tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Three Rivers is located east of Visalia on the way to the Sequoia National Forest. The town is graced with the picturesque Kaweah River which tumbles across huge granite boulders as it makes its way along the Highway 198 corridor. It was a perfect Spring day and wildflowers were blooming everywhere as we drove through the countryside to meet each artist in their studio.

I was pleased to finally meet Carole Clum, the featured artist on the tour this year. Carole's sculptures are shown on the cover of my catalog above (a little worse for wear). Unfortunately, my camera batteries were dead and the extras I brought were also dead - so I wasn't able to take all the photos I would have loved to that day. I had seen Carole's work in Visalia at Arenas Gallery last year and wanted a chance to see more of her work. Carole's beautiful studio, built by her husband, is nestled among her gardens at the 1800 foot elevation. Carole described her property as a wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary. Carole makes unglazed clay sculptures and uses two different sculpture clays. The Black Mountain clay she uses is beautiful unglazed and has a primitive quality to it. I was amazed when Carole said she doesn't wedge her clay and only fires her sculptures once to Cone 10 - no bisque.

I also met Nancy Jonnum of Big Rock Pottery on the tour. Nancy's studio space was uniquely hers with a path of mosaic clay tiles leading to the interior. I had seen Nancy's whimsical sculptures in magazine articles before, but was amazed when I went into her studio and saw "Coyote Woman" and "Coyote Man" in front of me . Nancy's sculptures are much bigger and more fantastic than they appear in magazines. I realized photographs of ceramic pieces can be deceiving even if the size is posted with the photograph. I think I can better appreciate ceramic work in person rather than a photograph.

Have you ever seen a gourd made into art? Well I met Lynne Bunt on the tour and she does just that. Lynne makes lamps, vessels, fountains, masks and more from gourds. Lynne embellishes each one with beads, paint, stain and lots of other ways to create one of kind sculptures. You can see some of Lynne's wonderful creations at her website, Gourdland.

The more artist's I meet the more I see that "rules" are meant to be broken. Each artist not only develops their own style but their own method of working in their medium. Whether it be paint, clay, or gourds, every artist seems to stretch the boundaries of tradition, creating new methods of working in their medium and finding or developing a process that works for them.

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