Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Open Studios is for me...

Participating in Open Studios for the first time last June was one of my favorite activities.

I am usually at the Glass Art Society annual Conference which conflicts with NCOS. When it became apparent I wouldn’t be able to go the conference last year, I signed up. After all, I’ve been a committee member for several years.

It turned out to be one of the highlights of my year. It was fun, inspirational, and definitely surpassed my expectations.

In preparation, I cleaned my studio, made new pedestals, added lighting, and rearranged work areas, temporarily turning them into display areas. I was pleased with these long over-due studio activities necessary for inviting the public into my studio.

I told myself if even a few people showed up, it would be worth the effort. Instead, the flow of people all weekend was constant. Opening my studio provided the opportunity for people specifically interested in my work or my media of glass to visit. It was a chance to share our experiences. When participants saw and understood my process, they were surprised how much goes into it. My work, materials, ideas opened up dialogs on shared love of materials, travels, past experiences, relationships, everything imaginable and some unimaginable. I loved every minute of listening and communicating with the wonderful people that stopped by.

There were purchases of my work as well. As an artist making a living from art, that’s always a good thing. However what was especially interesting was what people wanted to purchase that I hadn’t considered selling. People had novel ideas for how they wanted to display pieces they purchased. The comments, ideas, and surprises regarding sales, was extremely worthwhile.
I could write a long narrative encouraging artist participation if you are at all on the fence. The same thing goes for visitors to artists’ studios. The once a year North Coast Open Studios has something to offer everyone and shouldn’t be missed!

Susan Bloch
Glass artist, NCOS participating artist and steering committee member

Pictured above:
Susan Block

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