Off The Beaten Path Artists Open Studios for 10th Anniversary Tour

October 26, 2010
by: 
Mike Antoniak
Pulp Painting by artist Cherry Cratty to be given away
William Kooienga

Art lovers from across Tennessee and throughout the Southeast will be in DeKalb County this weekend, October 29 - 31, as the Off The Beaten Path Artists Studio Tour marks its 10th Anniversary.

This free three-day event draws thousands of visitors each year for the opportunity to experience the beautiful fall colors of our area and the Center Hill Lake region and tour the studios of some of the region’s leading professionals in fine art and craft.

“It’s a different tour every year as we keep it exciting with addition of new artists, new studios and our own work continues to evolve,” says Louie Colombarini, one of the founding members of Off The Beaten Path and member of it’s executive committee.

“People who take the tour are always pleasantly surprised to see what we do tucked away in the hills and hollows. It’s like a treasure hunt.”

The 2010 tour features 11 stops and ten working studios with more than 25 participating artists. Their varied work encompasses a full range of traditional and contemporary craft in wood, ceramics, fiber, painting, metal and jewelry making.

New stops include the studio/gallery of master woodcarver David Sharp, and the nearby Red Bow Studio of Cherry Cratty, pioneer in her patent-pending pulp painting technique. All visitors will have an opportunity to enter a drawing for this year’s art prize, the painting “Off the Beaten Path” donated by Cratty.

At each studio, guests can meet and converse with the artists and learn about the methods, material and environment which inspires their creativity. Visitors will also have an opportunity to purchase or commission original works by all participants.

Demonstrations of a variety of crafts are planned at several stops throughout the weekend: glass blowing at BareGlass Studio; wood and pumpkin carving by David Sharp; Raku firing of clay at From the Earth and Sea Originals; paper making at Liberty Paper Mill; weaving at Cosmic Clay studio; spinning and weaving at Beech Hollow Studios; and demonstrations of a wood fired kiln, blacksmithing and felt making at Creek Bend Pottery. Other participating studios include Fresh Chairs and Made by deMay in Smithville.

Although tour stops are numbered, the event is intended to be entirely self-guided, giving visitors the opportunity to drive from studio to studio in any order. Bright black and yellow signs will be placed throughout the county to direct them to each stop.

Stella Luna Gallery in Smithville is this year’s official tour hospitality center and also a showcase for the work of Off The Beaten Path members and other leading artists of Tennessee. There, visitors can pick up a copy of this year’s tour guide, plan the day’s or weekend’s itineracy and enjoy light refreshments.

“Our tour is a great reason to get out and see the work of all these different artists when our area is ablaze with color,” says Colombarini. “People who take the tour have never been disappointed.”

For more information, or to download a copy of this year’s tour map and guide, please visit the group’s website, www.offthebeatenpathtour.com.

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