By ANNE LARSEN
All over Morgan County, W.Va., dogwoods are blossoming, a perfect backdrop for the Berkeley Springs Studio Tour. Each day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Memorial Day Weekend, artists and craftsmen open their studios to the public. In addition to offering their wares for sale, participants will answer questions and demonstrate various techniques they use. The free, self-guided tour can be divided into sections that fit into a day or spread across the entire weekend.
The tour’s website, berkeleyspringstudotour.org, includes maps and driving directions suitable for smart phones and tablets. In addition, visitors can print a PDF of the tour brochure, which contains all this information, or they can pick up one at The Lion’s Lair (81B North Washington St., in Berkeley Springs) and at hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants around town. The web site includes links to lodging, dining, shops, galleries, and outdoor activities in Morgan County so you can easily plan your Memorial Day getaway. Berkeley Springs is only 90 minutes from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metropolitan areas.
Morgan County’s resident artists are regionally and nationally recognized for their work. The roster of participants in this springs Studio Tour include makers working in diverse metals, textiles, ceramics, glass, painting, and printmaking.
Hsu Studios produces jewelry, mobiles, and wall-mounted sculptural pieces with richly colored anodized aluminum. Their designs range from fun to formal, often structured so that pieces move in response to their wearer. Anne Larsen of Deerlight Studio makes jewelry, boxes, and flatware featuring one-of-a-kind stones, found objects, and enamelwork. Abigail Porter produces a signature line of looped earrings; she has also developed a clasp for scarves that does not pierce the fabric, but holds it gently in an ingenious embrace, making her work perfect for pairing with fine textiles. Blacksmith Glenn Horr at Highland Forge builds wonderful accessories for the home, including light fixtures, cooking utensils, door hardware and fireplace tools.
Kim Potter of Handwoven Designs creates exquisite scarves using loom techniques enhanced by surface applications of additional yarns, many of which he makes himself. He displays his clothing alongside the intricate quilts of Fiesta Fibers, whose dynamic designs feature fabrics altered by vat dye discharge, a method that artist Jane Frenke uses to develop subtle layers of pattern and color which she integrates into the larger geometry of her quilts.
Crawford Horne of Thistle Glen Pottery has built a large wood-fired kiln and explores the alchemy of smoke and glazes on his dishes and serving ware. David Flohr brings more than 30 years of experience to his potter’s wheel, where he throws bowls and vases to carry his distinctive glazes.
Between them, brothers Edward and Henry Palczewski have mastered an astonishing range of glass working skills. They make stained and fused glass windows, serving ware, and mirrors using unusual irridized and dichroic glass to bring depth to their designs. They have finished work for sale and also accept commissions.
Heath Studios showcases the oil and watercolor paintings of Jonathon Heath and the printmaking of his wife, Jan. Jonathon’s works are known for their whimsical view of daily life; Jan uses linocut, woodcut, monoprint, and collage techniques in her work, which features local wildlife, woodlands, and water. Painter Wayne Peterson’s impressionist paintings have graced the tour for many years, but he is retiring after this spring. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet a gifted man and passionate colorist. Finally, Richard Kaufman of Magic Mountain Studio combines his skills in the ancient Asian art of sumi-e painting with his love for the landscape and creatures of America. His work is both contemplative and vibrant, a unique combination of Eastern and Western aesthetics.
Berkeley Springs Studio tour is a free self-guided tour of artists in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. For more information, visit berkeleyspringsstudiotour.org.