In 1993, a grass-roots organization of visual artists opened their studios to the public for the first arts studio tour. Since then, thousands have visited each year to meet some of the areas most talented artists - many nationally acclaimed.
This year the Art Harvest Studio is celebrating 20 years and all we needed to do was drop into one of the participating studios, buy a badge for $7 and then visit as many studios we could take in.
We decided to head down Hwy 99 with our first stop in Lafayette, OR before turning north into the heart of Yamhill County towards Carlton. It was an absolutely spectacular fall day and any trip out to Yamhill County is beautiful, but last Saturday the smell of fall was in the air.
The first studio we picked was Elaine Walzl's Studio showing works by herself and Linda Workman-Morelli who does pit-fired pottery. I got stung by a bee, but Chick and I each walked away with a small treasure. A great first stop!
From there we headed north into Carlton and checked out Dwight Evalt's mixed media and sculpture work at his garage studio. He was very accommodating and opened up his home where he had other work showing. He likes to use nature (pine needles), recycled materials and fire to create paintings and sculptures. Interesting guy.
Our last stop before for lunch was a home studio of husband and wife artists, Mike and Liz Santone. Mike shared his love for pottery by demonstrating how to make one of his wonderfully expressive masks. Inside her home studio, Liz demonstrated how to make felt from wool scraps. I bought a small decorative lapel pin and Chick picked up a $5 mystery bag containing several of Mike's masks.
For lunch we headed into the heart of Carlton and found a lovely wine/cheese bar called The Horse Radish. They have a great assortment of cheese, wine with an eclectic menu of soup, salad and sandwiches.
Out on the road and north again to the city of Yamhill to the studio of Susan Day, who has some amazing pastels depicting the Oregon countryside around Yamhill County. Her studio was tucked away in this amazing "secret" garden.
Our final art stop was at Linda Hayes jewelry workshop. Her pieces are one of a kind, some made with precious stones and jewels and each one a work of art.
Since we typically only head out to Yamhill County for wine tours, so this was a fun way to explore the art scene that makes this part of Oregon so unique.
One can't really tour "wine" country without one stop at a local winery. Off the beaten path just past the small community of Yamhill lies Kason Vineyards, where we were given our own private wine lesson and tasting (we each took home a bottle of Chardonnay).
It was a wonderful adventure and an event we hope to explore again next year!