Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale Returns

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Visual Arts Issue: November 2015
Group Free

Photo courtesy Camelback Studio TourHome tours are chockablock in the Valley of the Sun, and for good reason – whether it's mid-century marvels or lavish dream homes, we have a lot of stylish nests here to explore.

The Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale stands out because it offers an inside peek into not only living spaces, but artist studios as well. The tours happen daily over three days (November 6-8, 2015) in the Sherwood Heights neighborhood, located between Thomas Road and Oak Street. Bonus: Lots of local art and goodies are available for purchase so you can get a jump on holiday shopping.

We chatted with tour founders and hosts Vickie Morrow and Lynn Gustafson, both artists and residents of the creatives-saturated 'hood, about the tour, fun things you find in artists' homes, and their personal homes and creative spaces.

What was the genesis of the Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale?

We recognized an opportunity void for artists to showcase and sell their work in South Scottsdale outside of the Old Town Arts District. We wanted to create a welcoming, friendly, not-gallery venue to sell our artwork and give other artists the same opportunity. We had a vision to showcase our studio and artwork and share our spaces with other artists. We also knew there were other like minded artists in our neighborhood who might open their studios as well.

I think people might have a few preconceived notions about artists' homes and studios. What are some that you've encountered?

Many people anticipate the artist works in a spare bedroom, the dining room or the garage and the rest of the house is normal, neat and tidy. There are lots of pictures out there of pretty studios.

Are people usually surprised by what they encounter? What are your thoughts on artists' spaces in general?

People are surprised and delighted by what they encounter at Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale. Each studio is completely different. Our studios are working studios with raw materials, lots of equipment, parts and tools, kilns, torches, slab rollers, lots of canvases, finished work, and always work in progress. None are confined to a spare bedroom.

Our guests are interested in seeing artists' work spaces. They want to see how we organize, how we set up our work flow. People like being in our spaces and seeing what inspires us and what might inspire them. Always, they are amazed how organized we are.

Lynn and I love going in others' studios. We can always use a better space, storage or display solution. We hope we are giving a vision to our guests who set up their own studios.

Do you have a favorite home or studio of a fellow Camelback artist you like to visit? Whose space do you find the most inspiring?

Our returning guests seem to have a favorite studio or something from each studio that inspires them.

Studio One: Lots of people like visiting Studio One. It starts with Vickie Morrow’s Garden Art at the front porch. Her home is set up as a gallery for the tour and open for all to enjoy. Many guests are wowed by her handmade tile kitchen backsplash. Some are amazed how much stuff she can fit into her studio space. Mosaic artists Linda Zeien and Lila Maden, jewelry artist Mary Jo Mauritzen and pottery artist Pam Harrison fill her back porch and back yard. Guests enjoy meandering through her creative spaces.

Studio Two: Guests like the diversity of work from J and S Jewelry, to batiks with Valerie Hildebrand, goddess sculptures by Karen Stecker, and many especially like visiting with oil and pastel artist Julia Patterson while at her easel painting.

Studio Three: Every glass artist who visits Lynn Gustafson’s studio says, “Her studio is to die for.” It is set up so well with all of her materials, torches, and display area. The shaded outdoor area is fully equipped with kilns, sand blaster and all the other equipment one would want. She shares her space with three other glass artists, Abe Haight, Anita Farrah and Anne Mello and mixes it up with gourd artist Margaret Sullivan and ceramic artist Jane Husted.

Studio Four: Wow! Allison Shock always has nature inspired ceramics and new works for the tour. This year Allison and visiting artist, Jackie Roliardi, will be set up in Allison’s fabulous desert back yard. Guests are always raving about the inspiring space and make a point to visit Allison Shock’s studio every year.

Studio Five: Bernard Nienaber’s studio is all inspiring with the architecture of his home/studio, the cool space he uses as his studio and the number of paintings he has available. For me, he has the best view of Camelback mountain in the whole Valley!

How would you describe your personal homes and creative spaces? How do they inspire or contribute to your art and artistic processes?

Studio One: Vickie Morrow
I now live in my studio instead of my studio being in my home. My original “Studio” room just off the great room was where it all started. It is filled with thousands of handmade tiles, interesting treasures from construction sites, estate sales, and other castoffs. All are organized, artfully displayed and stored waiting to go into an art piece. My slab roller is in the adjoining room with storage for all the things I need to create my mosaics and hand-built pottery. The garage houses more treasures, canvases, two kilns and my prize 10 foot-long work table that was my father’s. (I can still park my car in the garage.) In the back yard is my rust garden and a great work table in a shady spot.

Because of the diversity of my work and the mess while work is in progress, I migrate to empty horizontal spaces with good natural light. That means the dining room table and now the huge table under the window in the living area.

I am inspired by the desert we live in, the bright colors of my handmade tile kitchen, the shapes and stories of my collected treasures. I start most days with a walk in my back yard with a cup of coffee, then find myself at one of my tables creating.

Studio Three: Lynn Gustafson
From the moment I walked into this house 7 years ago, I knew this was the spot for me. It is located in a beautiful mid-century desert oasis in the middle of town. The former owner was also an artist, so the “art spaces” were set up and ready to go. I am fortunate to have a space where I can close myself off from the world and create. It is my art oasis in the middle of my crazy life. I tend to be messy when I create, and having my own space allows me the opportunity to work and create in a way that makes me happy.

What are you most looking forward to about this year's tour? Anything in particular you want to tease/let readers know about?

Lynn and Vickie always look forward to the studio tour to see returning friends and collectors and meet new guests. It is such a pleasure to see people so excited about the perfect gift they purchased for someone from one of the artists knowing it was handmade and personally created.

Our tour gives the artists a great place to show and sell their work. It is a fabulous place for people to support local artists, buy directly from the artist. There are wonderful original affordable works of art and gifts all handmade and artistically created.

The studio tour guests can expect to find artworks and gifts from $15 to $2,400. There is Garden Art including totems and plant sticks, mosaics from skulls to mirrors, table tops and bottles, glass work from beautiful bowls, totems, art pieces, beads and jewelry. There are abstract paintings, landscape paintings, still life and favorite pet paintings. There is recycled, repurposed assemblage art and sculpture, Southwest-inspired gourd art, and a wonderful selection of art jewelry.

We so appreciate the time people take out of their busy lives to come to the studio tour and appreciate those that buy each artist’s work for themselves or as gifts.