On Friday through Sunday, October 6-8, the Hidden Studios Art Tour will give art lovers an opportunity to view an exceptional variety of fine art on a self-guided tour of working studios in central Wisconsin. Twenty-five different artists are featured at nine different studio locations, the most artists in the Tour’s 20-year history. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. A full description of Tour details, including artist biographies, working media, images and in-studio demonstrations, as well as maps to studio locations, is available at HiddenStudiosArtTour.com.
Regular and first-time Tour participants will have much to explore. New artists with national reputations will make their first appearance on the Tour while exhibitors from past years will display work in entirely new mediums. And as always, the evolution and growth of familiar artists exploring well-known methods means unexpected surprises at every stop.
New as a studio host this year is Tammy Rae from A Touch of Glass Studio. Her glasswork jewelry and art objects feature Borosilicate glass, a material known for spectacular colors and strength. Alternately melting and layering the glass creates shapes with great depth of color, which she combines with sterling silver, copper, and other materials. Her studio, a converted 1888 church with original stained-glass windows intact, will host guest artists Rachelle Miller, ceramics, and mixed media works by David Gilbertson and Joy Wallace.
Miller’s ceramic pieces range from vibrantly accented pieces for everyday use to whimsical display pieces, like garden boxes meant for display. Gilbertson and Wallace combine painting and printmaking skills with found objects and sculptural elements to construct exceptional mixed media pieces echoing natural landscapes and forces.
Mike Jagielo, host of The Wood Plane Studio near Almond, is a Tour artist expanding the scope of work in his chosen medium, wood. In past years, he has been known for fine furniture, cabinetry, and wood objects combining multiple species of woods. Now he has added figurative and sculptural elements to his oeuvre. Joining him this year are leatherworker Ilze Heider and jewelry maker Brenna Klassen-Glanzer. Heider makes handmade leather bags with colors and patterns inspired by her Latvian heritage that are durable and functional as well as singular art objects. Klassen-Glanzer, a Minneapolis based jewelry maker, uses silver and copper elements to create organic natural forms with modern design, giving her pieces an untamed yet elegant quality.
Red Sky Studio, LLC, home studio of Mary Lee and Gene Reineking, is another host studio on the southern end of the Tour. Mary Lee’s work combines watercolor, acrylics, oil, and mixed media collage techniques to produce a stunning variety of pieces that contain elements of natural forms, transformed by hues and textures that surprise and delight. Gene, for years working in three dimensions as a sculptor, will exhibit a new passion, two-dimensional landscapes, fashioned in oils with a palette knife. Guest artist Larry Anderson crafts intricate wood boxes using remarkable combinations of patterns and wood species.
Jessie Fritsch is the host at Buzz In Art Studio in Arnott and works in the ancient technique of encaustic painting using molten, pigmented beeswax. The difficult medium requires patience and spontaneity to produce the compositions of luminous color. Melissa Helene is the guest artist, exhibiting works that use a Scratchboard technique to reveal highly detailed images in black and white of wildlife and landscapes.
Five studios are congregated in the northeast part of Portage County including Atelier Vermeil, the studio of Mark Bruggeman. Mark’s works include prints, paintings, drawings, and collages on multiple grounds, often featuring elements of musical instruments and specific musical scores. He also combines imagery with letterpress text of poetry as single page broadsides and bound books on handmade paper. Joining Mark is Minneapolis-based guest artist Jennifer Nunnelee, who fashions jewelry using sterling silver and natural rocks gathered from the Great Lakes area.
Sharon Fujimoto Glass Studio houses the working kiln and glass blowing tools that she uses to transform molten glass into art and functional objects. Her one-of-a-kind pieces, based on a transcendent simplicity of form and color, connect directly with the viewer. Her display space is shared with ceramicists Chris and Sue Holmquist and oil painter Larry Nagler. The Holmquist pieces feature cheerfully whimsical images on durable, everyday tableware and display pieces. Nagler’s distinctive oil paintings, using brush and palette knife for landscapes and portraits, often employ the unusual practice of oils painted forward over a darker background.
The Keven Brunett and Kristin Thielking Studio showcases their collaborative and individual sculptural works in a restored barn. They utilize many materials, including iron, glass, and paper, for their small- and large-scale pieces. They are joined by painter Ruth Fromstein and sculptor Kate Bradley. Fromstein’s acrylic images, assembled in many layers with a plethora of materials, contain textures and depth of surprising inventiveness. Bradley’s stone sculptures are made directly into stone, without preparatory modeling, and contain elements of human and natural forms, playing on their symbolic meanings.
New Hope in Wood, the studio of Paul Klein, exhibits his structural lighting pieces and workspace in another restored barn. Paul fashions his distinctive lamps from wood, stone, metal, and handmade paper shades, combining fluid abstractions and figurative elements. Guest artists include Jef Raasch, displaying sculptures of humans and fantastical creatures from fired white clay, painted with stunning acrylic pigments, and Rebecca Hungerford, who fashions vessels and objects from pewter.
New Hope Art and Design, the studio of watercolorist Jim McKnight, features representational landscape and figurative works that combine the spontaneity and transparency of the medium with attention to detail that distinguishes the work. Emily Graf, an artist working with silk and wool felt in subtle natural colors, will display her wearables, rugs, and other objects as guest artist.
The 2023 Tour, the 20th continuous year, will set several milestones, a testament not only to the quality of the work on view but proof that the community recognizes and supports the positive cultural and financial impact made by artists in their lives. Since its start in 2004, HST has not only become an optimal cultural and social event set in a vibrant, fall landscape, but has also generated more than $1 million in direct purchases to local artists. With an average of more than 1,000 visitors each year, indirect spending by Tour visitors has benefitted local economies and Tour business sponsors.
In appreciation, Tour artists will again donate a percentage of sales back to a chosen local, non-profit charity, with this year’s chosen recipient being the Waupaca Arts Council.
Artist Mike Jagielo has added sculptural elements to his woodworking.
Jesse Fritsch finds artistic inspiration in the apiary.
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