By Gail McCarthy
---- — The Cape Ann Artisans, now celebrating 30 years, is holding the first of its two 2013 open studio tours this weekend.
The free self-guided tour follows the coast around Gloucester and Rockport, and provides visitors with an inside glimpse of an artist’s working space. The tour takes place Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The studios are marked with bright magenta Studio Tour banners and signs to guide visitors inside.
The Cape Ann Artisans 30th anniversary studio tour includes 23 studios. The group, which was honored with a major exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum, is now comprised of 26 artists working in more than 15 mediums.
The organizers note that many of these studios are hidden gems on Cape Ann, such as David Montgomery’s painting studio on the Annisquam River and David Archibald’s collection of rhododendrons in Lanesville.
There are six new studios on the tour, with the artists juried in by their peers to ensure the quality and diversity of the tour. The newcomers are Mike Foley, a granite sculpture; painter Rob Diebboll, noted for his beach scenes; Jacqueline Ganim DeFalco, who makes jewelry from sea glass; and young artist Julia Garrison, who is keeping alive the Folly Cove Designers’ tradition of block printing at the Sarah Elizabeth shop in Rockport.
“Having Julia Garrison carry on that tradition is really special,” said Marty Morgan, a founding member. “Having young artists in the group adds a new energy.”
Diebboll said he and his wife had taken the studio tour a few times, after which a friend suggested he should apply to become part of the group. He was thrilled to join in on the 30th anniversary. This weekend, his new studio at his Rockport home in the South End will be open to visitors who can see the variety of his paintings, many which reflect beach scenes.
“I paint wherever I go. I love doing figures, which includes people and dogs,” said Diebboll, who studied painting at Bennington College in Vermont. “This is really a diverse group, and having been on the tour before, it is a wonderful opportunity to go to people’s home studios, and now it will be great to welcome people to my studio.”
Also new this year is Elizabeth Harty, whose Rockport studio features impressionistic mixed media paintings and original prints. She recently won the Ann Fisk Award for Excellence in Innovative Painting at the Rockport Art Association’s first summer show.
The offerings are broad, ranging from Pam Stratton’s garden of mosaics in Rockport to Bart Stuyf’s studio where he creates whimsical designs out of copper at his Magnolia home overlooking Gloucester Harbor.
Visitors love the variety.
“I’ve gone on the studio tour four times and every time I discover something new. What makes this tour special is that not only is the art stunning, but the land, sea, and environment compete for your attention as you drive along from stop to stop,” said Julie Cook of West Newbury.
In downtown Gloucester, Beth Williams works at her studio where she creates glass beads in the Venetian tradition with a contemporary flair and has an array of jewelry.
Other well known names include David Piemonte, who works exclusively with traditional black and white film to create silver gelatin prints of landscapes. On the harbor in East Gloucester is Sinikka Nogelo, who paints contemporary works of sea and sky.
And there are more than a dozen more studios where the artists invite visitors to become part of their world and share with them about the craft or art.
Off the beaten path, with a sweeping view of Ipswich Bay, one can find Judith Wright’s studio where she works in pastels and also creates tables, birdbaths, and other items enhanced by rich mosaic designs. Tucked away on Goose Cove, Mace and MaryAnn Wenniger have a gallery full of collagraph prints and watercolor paintings.
There are several pottery and ceramic studios and photography studios to explore, as well as the studio of founding member Sara Wright in Rockport, who works on a large loom, making original hand-woven accessories.
One way to start the tour is to begin at Mike Foley’s sculpture studio in West Gloucester, wind through downtown to East Gloucester, then follows the coast to Rockport and Lanesville, ending at David Montgomery’s peaceful riverside setting, where in addition to art work, boats are still being built.
Detailed descriptions and maps are found on the website www.capeannartisans.com and brochures with a map can be found at many tourist locations throughout Cape Ann, including the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce on Commercial Street, the Rockport Information Booth on Route 127; and at each of the studios. For more information, call 978-281-3347.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or firstname.lastname@example.org.