“Murphy Farm, Egg Harbor, ca. 1920” by Kerry Vavra.
One of the easiest ways to get a taste of Door County’s art scene is to visit one of the several art crawls that local artists and galleries host throughout the year. Lily Bay Artisans will showcase their work when they host their eighth annual Art Walk from July 15 to 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At one end is Jane Faella’s studio and jewelry gallery at 4245 Glidden Dr., and at the other end, five miles south, is Linda Sheard’s Lily Bay Pottery, 3450 N. Lake Michigan Dr., near TT County. Along the route, other participating artisans offer additional opportunities to view and purchase locally created art.
Described as an “informal group” by Sheard, the event is advertised on signs on nearby roads and in the driveways of participants’ homes. This attracts not only those who set out with the art crawl as a goal, but also passers-by who notice the signs.
“We also put up signs on the beach to attract the attention of beach walkers,” said Nancy Prange, who will display her photographs at her home at 3506 N. Lake Michigan Dr., along with the art of several other artists, including watercolors by Kerry Vavra, beaded designs by Jean Bass and vintage gem creations by Joanne Mast. A few doors down, Jim Hoyer will display tables, mirrors, wine racks and folk art that he handcrafts from twigs and twigs.
“[The art crawl] celebrates our little community here in Lily Bay,” Prange said.
She also loves the chance to connect with visitors and the relaxed chats that happen during the crawl.
“I’m interested in people saying why they like a photo like mine of Shropshire sheep looking at me from their barn door,” Prange said. “One woman said that the image of all the sheep at home struck her. And that conversation stayed with me. When you’re on a busier show, you don’t get to enjoy relaxed conversations like this.”
The leisurely pace also allows visitors to ask the artisans about their work and their process.
“My work is always changing,” Sheard said. “I tend to work in a series of between five and 10. If I’m making things like these little plates or little casseroles, I start with my first piece and go through the 10, and by the end I usually find something that I like from the beginning, and it is included in all parts in one way or another.’
She pointed to three tall cylindrical pieces, still unglazed.
“I’ve never done anything circular like this. It’s very simplistic and I like it, probably because it is is very simple,” she said, adding that she took several drawing classes in college. “I can draw here, even though it’s round, not two-dimensional. The biggest difference is in the work around something instead of just working on a flat surface and having this negative space all around. You have to keep your head up.”
The large pieces are a tough sell, Sheard said, but they help establish her as a serious artist.
“These are pieces that are bigger and there’s a lot more commitment financially and for space in your house,” she said. “But as an artist, you need the big works so people can say, ‘This is a work of art,’ which is what I want to be known for.”
The Art Walk also offers artists a chance to share their new experiments and projects they’ve been working on over the winter. Jane Faella, who works with silver wire, silver leaf, Door County stones, beach glass and polished gemstones, works daily during the winter off-season in her jewelry studio creating necklaces around stones.
“I did a lot of the boulders just to challenge myself,” she said. “They were new this winter. He would just put the stone down and then just paint it.”
Last winter, some elderly aunts gave Faela their beach glass collections and she set about creating earrings.
“I like how light they are,” she said, referring to both their weight and the informal look of beach glass. “They’re a lighter look for people who want something more casual.”
In addition to her home studio/gallery, which is open by appointment, Faela’s work is available through Avenue Art on 3rd Avenue in Sturgeon Bay and Turtle Ridge Gallery in Ellison Bay.