Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

On ARTour: The passion of southern Minnesota artists October 21, 2013

An art sign hangs above metal artist Julie Wolcott's garage-shop, rural Northfield.

An art sign hangs above metal artist Jennifer Wolcott’s garage-shop, rural Northfield.

THE TOUR ENERGIZES ME.

And I’m more art appreciator than artist in the sense of how the general public would define an artist.

Sure I create art with my words and my photos. But not at the level of the 44 artists featured in this past weekend’s South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour based in the Northfield/Faribault/Cannon Falls area.

Yet, no matter the scope of artistic endeavor, I can relate to these artists and their need to create. I could hear it. I could see it. I could feel it. That passion which drives those of us who are creative types to do what we do.

The entry to Wolcott Art.

The entry to Wolcott Art studio.

Like Jennifer Wolcott, recently voted southern Minnesota’s Best Local Artist (through Southern Minn Scene). I visited the metal artist’s studio, just north of Northfield off Minnesota State Highway 3, among a select number I toured during the ARTour. I focused on studios I hadn’t seen during past tours.

Wolcott's political statement art sectioned like a cartoon.

Wolcott’s political statement art sectioned like a cartoon.

Wolcott shapes and welds steel into substantial sculptures, but also crafts smaller more whimsical pieces from old filing cabinets and such. As she explained the significance of a political statement art piece that hangs in her garage-shop, I could visualize the fire which fuels her creativity.

Birds cut from a filing cabinet and spray painted.

Birds cut from a filing cabinet and spray painted.

It is that fire of passion which flamed throughout the ARTour.

Tools of a metal artist.

Tools of a metal artist.

And, in my opinion, if you are not fueled by passion, then you cannot call yourself an artist.

Basking in the sunshine inside the Wolcott Art studio.

Basking in the sunshine inside the Wolcott Art studio.

THREE OTHER ARTISTS SHOWCASED their work at Wolcott Art. They—Heather Lawrenz of Lawrenz Jewelry, Annie Larson of Sleepy Bean Studio and Ian Baldry of Ian Baldry Knitwear—have found their niches in the art world by crafting jewelry and knitting textiles.

Heather Lawrenz upcycled leather belts into earrings.

Heather Lawrenz of Northfield upcycled leather belts into earrings.

And here Lawrenz creates bird necklaces punched from cast off silver trays (faded in the background in this image).

And here Lawrenz created a bird necklace punched from a cast off silver tray (faded in the background in this image).

Artist Ian Baldry of St. Louis Park creates a scarf on her knitting machine.

Artist Ian Baldry of St. Louis Park creates a scarf on her knitting machine with bamboo yarn.

Samples of Baldry's knitted textiles.

Samples of Baldry’s knitted textiles.

Earrings, featuring handcrafted beads, created by Annie Larson of Sleepy Bean Studio.

Earrings, featuring handcrafted beads, created by Annie Larson of Sleepy Bean Studio.

FYI: Check back for more photos from the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling