Artists, vacationers and residents of the Northwoods have a common bond. We all seek places of great natural beauty to inspire and recharge. Northern Wisconsin has become a haven for many talented artists who make it their home and place to create. Thirty-three of these artists and their private studios have been selected to be part of the 18th Annual Northwoods Summer Art Tour. All the artists will be demonstrating at their studios. The free self-guided tour is held 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 28, 29 and 30.
Visitors are invited to get off the beaten path and experience the scenic back-roads as they discover the hidden private studios that are seldom open to the public. The tour meanders through Iron, Vilas, Oneida, Lincoln and Langlade counties. No reservations or tickets are needed. Guests are welcome to visit as many or as few studios as their interests and time allow. Brochures with colorful maps and directions are available at area Chambers of Commerce, many local businesses and on the tour web site at www.northwoodsarttour.com.
Many of the artists on the tour have a connection to place in their art. For some like Christine Alfery, contemporary painter and Karen Caldwell, La De Da Gourds both of Lac du Flambeau it is the peacefulness and the quiet space that allows them to flourish. Mary Burns of Manitowish River Studio expresses her love of northern woodlands and waters in her weavings. She has recently completed an Ancestral Women Exhibit, honoring women from the 12 Native Tribes in Wisconsin.
Other artists incorporate actual pieces of the north in their work. Wesley Bushor, of Lost Tree House, Tomahawk, finds his art materials of twigs and logs in the forest that he loves. For woodworker, Carl Gromoll, a native of Eagle River, the connection to the land is internalized when he feels the wind, watches the snow drift or water work around a rock. He expresses what he feels in functional and sculptural furniture and turnings.
For some the Northwoods provides much of their subject matter. An avid fisherman and hunter, Jack Stayer, Lac du Flambeau, often infuses his one of a kind glass pieces with images of wildlife and wild places. New to the tour this year, photographer Robert Koch, Eagle River, features native wildlife and seasons in his prints. Representational painters Andrea Fenner, Irma, Audrey Hood Hampton, Elcho, Lisa Kruger, Tomahawk, and Ann Waisbrot, St. Germain, use the forests and waters of the Northwoods as inspiration for their work. Tamara Lauder of T. Lauder Pottery and Printmaking captures the spirit of the north in her work. Susan Schurch of Land O’ Lakes creates wood burned and painted decorative home furnishings with a woodland theme.
Many visitors voice that they return each year and schedule their vacation around the tour dates as they find the artwork much more meaningful when they visit the artist in their element, and see their inspiration and working process. They stop to see their favorite artists’ new work and visit new members and studios. With the variety of ways of art making, art media and processes there is always something of interest to see. Whether guests are vacationers or residents, buyers or browsers, artists are excited to show their new work, greet returning friends and make new ones. Creating art is most often a solitary experience. Sharing that connection to material and source becomes a builder of community between artist and art appreciator.