Featherstone Studio Tour: a chance to drop in on artists at work

Featherstone Center for the Arts, in Oak Bluffs, will sponsor the third annual Artists' Studio Tour. — File photo by Gail Daman

Ever look at the work of a favorite Island artist and wonder how they did that? Featherstone Center for the Arts Artists Studio Tour is a chance to find out. Sixteen Island artists will open their studios Saturday, September 28 from 10 am to 4 pm.

Jeri Dantzig, former proprietor of Stripers Restaurant, will be in residence at her Vineyard Haven studio with fused glass tableware, window and wall hangings, furniture, and art pieces. Ms. Dantzig will be busy cutting glass and demonstrating the stages in production of her colorful glass art. Firing for her work can take from 24 to 36 hours in a kiln.

A year-round resident since 1999, Ms. Dantzig exhibits her work on-Island at the Artisans Fairs. She began taking classes in glass fusing at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., Urban Glass in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Austen Glass Fusing Center.

Ceramicist and print maker Nick Thayer turned the two-car garage at his West Tisbury home into a studio for making his Italian-style pottery, adding running water and bamboo flooring to make the space suitable for working year-round. He sells his pottery, prints, and paintings at Night Heron Gallery in Vineyard Haven.

A graduate of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School who taught art for many years at Milton Academy, Mr. Thayer eventually decided that he was spending more time manufacturing his ceramic work than creating, so he returned to his first love, printmaking, and adapted his studio to make room for it. He teaches monotype printmaking at Featherstone and serves as monitor for the printmaking open studio held there on Thursdays.

“It’s a great space, and I love to hang out there,” he says of his studio. He plans to spend the day of the tour printing copies of his etchings.

Painter Cindy Kane is looking forward to showing visitors to her Vineyard Haven studio a new body of work from a series she recently started. Called “Bride,” the paintings depict bridal dresses festooned with, or surrounded by, mythological symbols that appear frequently in her work, including birds, flowers, stones, and maps. “Fill the Void,” a movie screened at the recent Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, inspired her new work. The movie examines the dilemma of an orthodox Jewish woman who must decide whether to marry her late sister’s widower. “What could be more hopeful than a wedding,” Ms. Kane said.

She is happy to be back at work again after spending the summer making her first vegetable garden. “My garden became my palette,” she says. Her work has been on display this year at A Gallery in Oak Bluffs.

Other artists who will open their studios to the public include painter René Balter of Oak Bluffs, paper and fiber artist Sandy Bernat of West Tisbury, wood artist Deirdre DeCarion of Edgartown, mixed media artist Robert Gross of Aquinnah, printmaker Ruth Kirchmeier of West Tisbury, painter Harry Seymour of Oak Bluffs, painter Jeanne Staples of Edgartown, painter Donna Straw of Vineyard Haven, wampum artist Joan LeLacheur of Aquinnah, painter Richard Limber of Oak Bluffs, painter Elizabeth Lockhart Taft of Vineyard Haven, weaver Julia Mitchell of West Tisbury, and painter Wendy Weldon of Chilmark.

“We try to pick artists who have great studios in beautiful and diverse locations,” says Featherstone director Ann Smith. The Center also tries to include a wide variety of art forms, and to represent each of the Island’s towns. In an effort to make the tour more accessible, the Center lowered the price of tickets $50 to $30. Participants receive maps locating the 16 artist’s studios and can decide which studios to visit and how long to stay on the self-guided tour.

Third Annual Artist’s Studio Tour, Featherstone Center for the Arts, Barnes Road, Oak Bluffs. Tickets are $30. For more information and tickets, call 508-693-1850.