Tomorrow is the start of the 27th annual Tour des Arts! To those who aren't familiar with it, the Tour des Arts is an annual event here around the Sutton, Abercorn, Knowlton, West Brome, Brome, Bolton, Mansonville/Potton part of the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Visitors can drive from one artisan studio to another, around 40 artists participate each year, and check out their studios, talk to the artists, buy their products, learn about how they make their artwork and the creative processes that goes into it, and make special orders. It is always 9 days starting the third week of July, from 10am to 5pm daily. Each year there is a nice colour brochure (you can find just about anywhere in the area!) with a photo of a piece of artwork from each artist and a detailed map on how to get to each studio. There is also a website and large, very noticeable signs all along the roadways.
Farfelu Sutton is one of the patrons of Tour des Arts and will be open for the entire tour (instead of being closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as we usually are during the week)
I'm listing the members working that week in case you're doing the tour and there's someone you'd like to stop by and meet while checking out all the products from local artisans that we sell!
Friday 10: Marek Lanzman (sculpture, paintings, cards)
Saturday 11: Maaike Zuyderhoff (bookbinding, handmade cards, director of Farfelu)
Sunday 12: Don Lee (sculptures in hammered sheet aluminum)
Monday 13: Margaret Marshall (hand sewn cloth bags and totes)
Tuesday 14: Kara Needham(handcrafted Savonnerie de L'Estrie products, 'Folknobs' wooden hand painted door-knobs)
Wednesday 15: SusanGalusha (watercolour paintings and painted cards)
Thursday 16: Ophera Hallis (hand knit children's sweaters)
Friday 17: Don Lee (sculptures in hammered sheet aluminum)
Saturday 18: Susan Galusha (watercolour paintings and painted cards)
Sunday 19: Maaike Zuyderhoff (bookbinding, handmade cards, director of Farfelu)
A few of the artists on the Tour des Arts sell their products at Farfelu year round: Christina Steingruber (wooden puzzles), Anne Johnston (braided rugs), and my old high school friend Qita Reindler - Qita sells beautiful hand-spun pottery which is also very durable - I'm always accidentally dropping or bumping other dishes onto the big mug she made me, and even after a couple years of daily use it still hasn't chipped or cracked!! It also holds the heat in very well!
Farfelu member Marek Lanzman is often on the Tour des Arts and even though he isn't this year you can still find a lot of his creations at Farfelu, he will be working there today, and all next month he will have an exhibition of his work in our display room where the artist Lorna Mulligan is currently displaying her very popular paintings for July.
During the Tour des Arts there are also evening performances of live dance, dramas, readings and concerts, all listed in the brochure and website along with lots of restaurants, B&B's and businesses that help to sponsor the tour.
I'm always amazed that so many artists are willing to open their studios, workshops, homes and creative processes to the scrutiny of the public! My own studio consists of a cabinet my husbands grandfather made me for a wedding present when we got married twenty years ago, painstakingly painted by me that same year after the first and only painting course I've ever taken, in German bauermalerie, and recently transformed a few years ago from a TV cabinet into my tiny living room studio!! It really is all I need at the moment since most of my paintings, and my door knobs of course, are very small, and I can store my Savonnerie de L'Estrie bulk oils and tubs of clean pots in the bottom section, I can also close it up when I'm not working on something, but I think I would find it too embarrassing to invite the public into my house to look at it!! It would be nice to have a real studio one day though.....
"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you."
-- Maya Angelou
Kara Needham is the founder and creator of Savonnerie de L'Estrie, a small manufacturer of handcrafted, all-natural and affordable artisan skincare in unique folk-art packaging.