One of the easiest ways to sample the Door County art scene is to attend one of the several art crawls that area artists and galleries host throughout the year. The Lily Bay Artisans will showcase their work when they host their eighth annual art crawl July 15-17, 10 am – 5 pm.
At one end is Jane Faella’s jewelry studio and 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 County TT. Along the route, other participating artisans offer additional opportunities to view and purchase locally created art.
Described as an “informal grouping” by Sheard, the event is advertised on signs on nearby roads and at the driveways to the homes of the participants. This not only attracts those who have set out with the art crawl as their intended destination, but also passersby who notice the signs.
“We also put signs on the beach to catch the attention of beach walkers,” said Nancy Prange, who will be exhibiting her photographs at her home at 3506 N. Lake Michigan Dr., along with the art of a few other artists, including watercolors by Kerry Vavra, beaded designs by Jean Bass and vintage gemstone creations by Joanne Mast. A few doors away, Jim Hoyer will display tables, mirrors, wine racks and folk art that he’s handcrafted from twigs and driftwood.
“[The art crawl] celebrates our little community here on Lily Bay,” Prange said.
She also loves the chance to connect with visitors and the leisurely chats that happen during the crawl.
“I’m interested in people saying why they like a photograph, like mine of Shropshire sheep all looking up at me from in front of their barn door,” Prange said. “A woman said it was an image of all the sheep being at home that struck her. And that conversation has stayed with me. When you are in a more heavily attended show, you don’t get to enjoy leisurely conversations like that.”
The relaxed pace also allows visitors to ask 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 small plates or small casseroles, I start on my first piece and work through the 10, and by the end, I’ve usually found out something from the beginning that I like, and it gets incorporated in all the pieces one way or another.”
She pointed to three tall cylindrical pieces, not yet glazed.
“I have never done anything circular like this. It’s very simplistic, and I like it, probably because it is very simplistic,” she said, adding that she took several painting classes in college. “This is where I get to paint, although it is circular and not two-dimensional. The biggest difference is in working around something, rather than just working flat and having this negative space all around. You’ve got to keep your head together.”
Big pieces are a difficult sale, Sheard said, but they help to establish her as a serious artist.
“These are pieces that are bigger, and there’s much more of a commitment financially and for space in your house,” she said. “But as an artist, you need the big pieces for people to say, ‘This is artwork,’ which is what I want to be known for.”
The art crawl also offers the artists an opportunity to share their new experiments and the projects they’ve worked on during the winter. Jane Faella, who works with silver wire, silver sheet, Door County stones, beach glass and polished gemstones, worked daily throughout the winter off-season in her jewelry studio designing necklaces around stones.
“I did a lot of the stones just to challenge myself,” she said. “These were new this winter. It would just put the stone down and then just draw around it.”
This past winter, some elderly aunts gave Faella their collections of beach glass, and she went to work creating earrings.
“I like how light they are,” she said, referring to both their weight and the informal appearance of the 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, Faella’s work is available through Avenue Art on 3rd Avenue in Sturgeon Bay and Turtle Ridge Gallery in Ellison Bay.