Thursday, October 16, 2014

Horsehair, Crows, Porcelain and PR: It's Open Studio Time Again.

I love doing an open studio tour.  I meet some of the most warm, fascinating people.  I get to show and tell what I do behind the usually closed doors of my studio.  And I always learn something new.

This year has been a little different.  And that's a good thing.

As an artist on the Washington County Open Studios tour, I've made many new friends.  And this year, my new artist friends have been teachers and inspirations.  
Terry Grant's fiber crow on the right.

Terry Howard Grant is a fiber artist who helped me with the group's new blog.  She wrote a great blog about her amazing studio here, which I admit, I wish I had a studio like hers.  I wanted one of her cool, fiber crows and we traded...her crow for my porcelain mug and bowl.  She even put a picture of my mug filled with her morning coffee on her blog.  She did several blogs on using her iPad to do digital drawing and with her help, I learned how to do it, too. 
Karen French showing her raku kiln and our finished pieces.

Karen French is a potter who helped me with the group's event listings and online calendars as part of the public relations job I'm doing for the group.  She is excellent at excell.  She is also a wonderful potter who generously shared her raku kiln with me.  Twice now, we have hauled out the kiln, fired up our pots and draped them with horsehair which we finish with paste wax.  Her studio in back of her house is spacious enough for a wheel area on one side and two kilns on the other.  Ok, I have studio envy here, too.

My newly inspired raku pieces and crows.

I've learned about digital drawing and iPad apps from Terry.  I've learned about new clays and tools from Karen.  Terry's digital drawings and crows inspired me to make my own digital drawings and crows in porcelain.  Karen's horsehair raku vases inspired me to try horsehair raku on my masks and crows.  

Karen demonstrating raku on Good Day Oregon TV show.

Both of them inspired my approach to public relations this year.  Terry's studio by a bubbling creek was featured in a local Homes & Gardens article.  Karen's horsehair raku and studio set up was featured live on a local TV and radio morning news shows.
Terry Grant's cozy studio.

I've been a writer for decades, personally and professionally.  And, maybe, I've been an artist for that long too, but didn't know it.  The last 15 years, I've concentrated on my artist side, sidelining my writing to just my blog.  But this year, I've been able to combine them both. I'm doing my own art and using my writing to promote art and artists right in my own neighborhood.

I'm happy to do it and can't wait to open my own studio doors, too.  After I get off the computer and get it cleaned up, that is!  By the way, the Washington County Open Studio tour is this weekend from 11am-5pm, a free map is online at  

If you're in the area, come on by! 


Lisa Griffen said...

Great post, Susan! We all have so much to learn from each other.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

I'm always grateful for all the teachers who come my way...wether it's a stranger or a friend or a child...I just keep on learning!