I had my official Studio Opening this Saturday last, November 5th.
I moved my Studio at the end of June, The Old Courthouse was sold by the City Council and we were given our notices to vacate. It took me a long time to get my Studio up and running, but finally most of the organizing was done, some storage shelves put up and my Studio mates and I decided on a day. A week before the Opening, I silkscreened some t-shirts with my original crow and raven designs – t-shirts were draped every where in the Studio. The ink needed to dry for 24 hours before I could set the design using a hot iron. The next day the t-shirts were ready to be hung on a rack and priced, paintings were hung in the hallways and on the walls. I left some wall space for my guest artist Monique Stewart – a wonderful printmaker, filter, fabric artist to name a bit of what she does. And then Saturday dawned.
It was a busy weekend in Owen Sound, with Christmas get togethers, concerts, Festive First Friday, where the downtown business stay open till 10pm and offer snacks and deals to visitors and shoppers. There was a party atmosphere in the air and we at the Circle Bar Studios (1198 2nd Ave East. 3rd Floor) were lucky to be able to take advantage of it.
The morning of the 5th started very early for me, with a quick stop at the Farmer’s Market before 8am, grabbing a delicious sandwich for brekkie, and talking 19-to-the-dozen to anyone who would listen about the Open Studio, and then at the Studio at 9.15am to get the coffee percolator going, double-checking my set up ( finding that I had forgotten to label a whole wall of paintings), wheeling out my rack of t-shirts into the hallway to make room for the food table. And before we were officially open people started coming, with beaming faces and questions. We hardly had time to breathe!
Around 11am we had a lull, and we rushed around looking into each others Studios, and the beautifully decorated stairwells, and trading for each others art pieces – I got a beautiful linoblock printed fabric ornament (Monique Stewart) and 3 mini tea cups (Ruth Dawson), lusted after Ron Schweitzer’s amazing mandolins crafted meticulously from old frying pans, pots, biscuit tins, his witty printed flags, breathed in the lavender honey (Robbin McGregor – bee keeper, and I recommend her honey!) and marvelled at Keira McArthur’s attention to detail and her draftsmanship on her new series Bells. And Bob Rice from Ningwake Learning Press opened his doors and displayed books and original art by First Nations Artists and explained to people about what they do.
And then the rush started again! It was 12.30pm before we could spin around, and we decided to start offering some wine with the coffee and tea choices. More cheese was unwrapped, another container of hummus opened, Oreo Cookies appeared disappeared just as fast.
I talked to young artists, older artists, met peoples parents. The Poets Laureates of Owen Sound dropped by (Larry Jensen and Rob Rolfe) and did a performance, other musicians jumped in to jam with them – Ron Schweitzer on box beat, Keira McArthur on cello, Pete Devlin on guitar – I peeked in to get some photos and the audience was sitting there in rapt attention. One beautiful little 3 year old boy wailed ” this is so much fun! I dont want to go home!”, when is parents beckoned to him. And next door there was mini cranial massage happening (Kristan Anderson) for people who felt a bit stressed and were in need of a bit of calming down.
And before we knew it it was 5pm and though a few people were still trickling through, we picked up our coffees, bottles of wine and left over foods and cheese and congregated into Kristan’s space, where his Mum was offering around a huge container of home baked butter tarts and we talked, and laughed and listened to Spoken Word and more music happened and a few more Studio family people came in. It was a wonderful, amazing day and I think I got a tiny feeling for that Beehive Paris Commune that we artists have read about. It left me feeling buzzed and excited and couldn’t wait to get back into the Studio to keep working on ideas and completing several paintings.