Jeff Green | Aug 27, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - August 27, 2009 Inroads Tour – roots and innovationBy Jeff Green When the Inroads Studio Tour was founded 17 years ago, linking artisans from the Arden, Sharbot Lake, and Parham areas, the studios were connected not only by the Highway 7 and 38 corridors, but by historic back roads such as the Frontenac Road, and the picturesque Long Lake Road.
Artisans living in rural hideaways would meet at large shows in Kingston and Toronto throughout the year, and in 1992 they decided to open their studios for public viewing once a year.
Later the tour grew in size as artisans from neighbouring regions joined in.
This year the Inroads Tour will be more compact than in the past and it is taking place on new dates for the first time: Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Labour Day Weekend – September 4-6.
It will also have a focus in Sharbot Lake Village itself with a hub at the Soldiers Memorial (Oso) Hall in Sharbot Lake. Painters Ursula Ossenberg - a premiere landscape painter of the Mazinaw region, Jen White – who combines an enthusiasm for horses with her passion for colour in her paintings, and Paul Shuster – an award-winning photographer, will bring the hall to life. The hall, which is located within short walking distance of two restaurants and other village amenities, will also be hosting members of the Land O’ Lakes Artisan Guild, a 30-member collective of professional artists.
Other studios continue to be tucked in on picturesque back roads off main roads from Verona to the north. The Verona studio of the Joyful Beader Ann Brandly, featuring one-of-a-kind glass beads and jewelry that incorporates sterling silver and Austrian crystal, is the tour’s southernmost stop.
There are three studios in the Parham-Tichborne hub: LaurelLeaf Studio – jewelry and hollowware by Laurel Minutillo; Bridesmill Studio at the picturesque mill on Bobs Lake Road, with stained glass work and jewelry by Ron and Susan Wulf; and the Hallys’ studio at Maple Grove Estates on Bobs Lake itself, where woodworker Nick and jeweler Annette are always gracious hosts.
Near Sharbot Lake there are three studios. Multi-media artist and painter Carol Pepper is just off Road 38 on Ducharme Road at the Trillium Centre; innovative printmaker Martina Field is on the Tryon Road; and fine wood turner Ken Waller is on the Shibley Road. Ken will host a recent arrival in the region, potter Johanna Jansen (thrown & hand-built pottery, smoke-fired & raku work) as well as painter and woodcarver Jochen Mueller.
Towards Maberly on the Armstrong Line is the studio of painter and documentary film-maker Liisa Rissanen, a visual story teller.
Over by Mountain Grove, accessible from Sharbot Lake or Parham, is Stone Flower Studio where potter Lisa Moses has been incorporating her surroundings in stoneware and porcelain for 30 years.
In the Village of Arden are the Arden Artisans - painter Judith Versavel, batik artist Sarah Hale (Arden Batik) and potter Joanne Pickett (Arden Pottery), who are always happy to demonstrate how their work and lifestyles mesh together.
This year’s Inroads Tour features a change in dates, with a Friday opening, and a more compact route, but the joy of meeting artists where they work is the lynch pin upon which the tour has been built.
The ability to see the surroundings that inspire artists and artisans and get a first hand view of the tools and techniques that put structure to the artwork is still what makes the Inroads Tour special.
Tour guides are available throughout the area. For further information, call Sarah Hale (613) 335-2073, or visit www.inroadstour.ca