For close to four decades, the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour has seen a continued evolution, presenting only the finest professional artists and craftspeople working within Muskoka. Each year, there is something new to discover and this year visitors to the tour will have the opportunity to explore the studios and creations of three new members.
While certainly not new to the art and craft community of Muskoka, Mary-Ruth Newell (also known as “The Village Potter”) joins the tour this year, offering the public a chance to learn more about how she creates her functional stoneware and how her work is informed by her ecological values. “My husband and I built the studio by hand,” explains Newell. “From the log buildings, to the timber frame kiln shed, to the wood fired kiln itself. The kiln also burns waste wood, which is a reflection of our desire to be self reliant.”
For Huntsville artist Pam Carnochan, becoming a member of the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour has been her goal for over 20 years. “I have been honing my skills for a long time so that I would be accomplished and original enough to become a member of this tour,” says Carnochan. Drawing on 25 years of experience dyeing and working with wool, Carnochan has developed a technique she refers to as ‘watercolours with wool’. “I take the raw dirty wool from my own sheep, dye it and then use it to create art – it is really thrilling to be part of the entire process,” says Carnochan.
Dwight artist Mark Reeder is the third addition to the tour this year. Although Mark’s artistic pursuits span a variety of media, it is oil painting that has become his main focus. “I love how painting can blend principles of drawing with the expressiveness that comes with using a brush to create an image,” says Reeder. Working from a studio that once belonged to his grandfather, wildlife and landscape painter, Bill Kratzer, Reeder appreciates the sense of continuity that he feels while painting in the space. “That history and connection makes working here very special to me. I love working here and knowing that it is still a place for art.”
For two consecutive weekends this fall, these three artists will join 17 returning artists and craftspeople as they open their doors to the public. “We are really excited to have such a nice mix of both new and veteran artists on the tour this year,” says tour chairperson, Miranda Britton. “It keeps things fresh to have new members, but it is also really incredible to have members who have been here since the first year back in 1979, it really gives the tour a sense of continuity and permanence.”
The Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour began its artistic journey in the late seventies, when sculptor Richard Green, joined by a few friends, first developed the innovative concept. Dedicated to the belief that a piece of art is best understood when the viewer can meet the creator. Since then, the members of the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour have enthusiastically opened their studio doors and shared not only their finished work, but also the processes behind it.
Through discussion, demonstrations and displays, visitors to the 2015 Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour will be able to deepen their understanding and appreciation for a multitude of artistic mediums and techniques. The Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour takes place throughout the district of Muskoka on September 26 and 27 and October 3 and 4 from 10 am to 6 pm each day. Further information about the tour can be found at muskokaautumnstudiotour.com