Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour offers an inside look at the creative process
Every year, as the weather starts to cool from the highs of July and August, artists and craftspeople within a 30-mile radius of the small Ozarks town of Mountain View start to heat things up. They’re getting busy throwing and glazing pots, weaving rugs and shawls, spinning yarns, painting pictures and making brooms.
They’re doing this to get ready for the Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour. This once a year event which takes place on the third weekend in September offers visitors a unique opportunity to visit with artists and craftspeople in their homes and studios. Not only can visitors stop in and talk with the artist, but can witness the creative process in action.
I can be found sitting in my woodshop turning crochet hooks on my lathe or sitting at my tying table binding brooms. On the ledge of my shop are my computers displaying the websites I build. When a visitor comes in, I am happy to talk to them about any and all of it. Or, I send folks on to visit Jeanette.
Jeanette can be found in her studio weaving on any one of three looms, or further on in the house where her spinning wheel. She’ll not only talk to you about her products, but she is happy to take visitors outside to meet the critters the provide the fleeces for her projects.
But the tour isn’t about just the two of us. There are more than 24 studios, more than 30 artists.
To put this tour together, though, is a lot of work! Thanks go to Becki Dahlstedt for organizing the folks… herding cats is an easier task than organizing artists.
I put together the website. Dona – who has stepped off the tour for a couple years now – handles the money.
But we all – every last one of us on the tour – kind of live in a vacuum. We’re so busy with our studios, our businesses, our galleries, that we often neglect to find out what our visitors want.
That’s why I’m writing this. Take a moment and look at the Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour website, peruse the book if you have a copy handy or download a copy if you have the time, and give us some feedback. What would make our tour even better?