Friday, February 17, 2006

Studio Tour Saturday

One of my art friends, "M" turned 12 last weekend. As part of her birthday suprise, her mother and I arranged a Saturday afternoon "Studio Tour Field Trip."

Our first stop was the studio at my workplace [pictured on an earlier post], with a tour of the artwork we've produced over the last few years.

Next: The Boneyard Pottery Studio. The owner, Michael Schwegman, was very warm and hospitable. He invited us to look around, and then sat at the potter's wheel and threw a pot and a bowl for M, explaining what he was doing, and teaching us about the molecular structure of clay, along with other scientific tidbits: Clay will constipate you, and is one of the ingredients in Kaopectate.*

He showed us the kilns, and told us about the different glazes and chemicals he uses. There was another lady there, I didn't get her name, but she was equally nice, giving M a hunk of clay to toy with, to understand the consistency of the starting material. There were some friendly cats standing buy to entertain us also. Everyone wished M a Happy Birthday and thanked us for coming.

They treated us like 3 visiting princesses. We bought nothing on this trip, but rest assured that The Boneyard Pottery will be one of my first stops when gift shopping from now on.

Our last stop was at a painter's home in Savoy, Illinois: Barbara McDonnell. Her artwork was hung in every room of the house, so we got a grand tour thru every room.

Her work was lovely, consisting of pieces in several different media: chalk pastels, pencil, and oil pastels. The subjects varied greatly. Her husband is a football coach in town, and so there were 2 large sports pieces in their living room. There were several landscapes, and a few portraits of her friends.

She showed us her studio, explained the media she's currently working with, and told us some about her artistic career. She was a very calm, serene lady, and I was most struck at what little fanfare she made about her art.

One thing I loved that she shared with us was this small workspace, that she prefers to her studio. She works here when she cannot sleep, she says, and she prefers the light in this room.

If she ever had any, Ms. McDonnell seemed to have cleared any and every mental hurdle that artists set in front of them; she is unconcerned about time or space or money or shows, though she has had her own shows and sold her art, and will continue to. She just Makes Art; it's as much what she is as who she is. I loved that.

A nice combination, her husband does woodworking and builds all of her frames for her; we also got a tour of his studio.

It was very fun and enlightening day with some very nice, and very accommodating people. I want to do MORE studio touring!

*Legal Disclaimer: Do not eat clay! Stick with the Kaopectate, if you must have it.


  1. Clearing the mental blocks and all the hassle is very important. Spot on. Looks like you were as good a tourist as they were good guides...

  2. What a wonderful birthday gift!

  3. pick me to come along next time! oh please pick me! what an amazing day. and how great that you have young friends, too. as you said over at mine, being in the middle is the best, isn't it?

  4. I'm so inspired! I recently ran right up into a wall vis-a-vis my own art. Maybe I should rethink giving it up.

    I think I want to do my own studio tour now. What a fantastic present.

  5. Clay will CONSTIPATE you? I'm staying away from mud pies from now on!

  6. Felicity: Sometimes you just have to keep moving forward...

    Wendy: It WAS a wonderful gift, I was honored to be invited to play along!

    BP: This one a lot more than 15 years younger than I am! But yes, it's nice to have young-younger friends too.

    Holly: Do it! Don't wish you had!

    Kurios: All the good food you post on your blog, I'll bet you could make a mud pie look palatable.

  7. madgirl the first (M)3:12 PM

    Thank you so much for arranging the art trip with my mom. My favorite part was seeing all of the paintings at your office. I really liked the pottery studio, too, and can't wait to learn how to throw my own bowl someday!

  8. C-dog3:18 PM

    Wazup gnightgirl. did u change how old i am yet if you didn't im 10 almost 11 signing off

    C-dog (m's younger brother who's 10 not 9)

  9. Yo, C-Dog,

    All ages have been updated, I have made note that you are 10 almost 11. My bad.

    Peaz out

  10. Madgirl,

    Your post didn't come thru my e-mail, didn't see you there!

    What a fun day; when you throw that pot...since I know nothing about it, I'll just stand in the background, and let you know if it gets wobbly. That oughta be a big help!

  11. Now that's a cool fun trip! Good for you! I think you glossed over a very important point that sums up everything baout how and why I can do what I do; "She just Makes Art; it's as much what she is as who she is." That's exactly it. Well said. Now go live it. :-)


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