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

 

20 Responses to “On ARTour: The passion of southern Minnesota artists”

  1. I wish that God had thought that I needed to be more creative in these kinds of ways. I guess I’ll just have to stick with words.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Love these posts that feature artists who use something other than the lens or their words! I totally get you on that one, Audrey. I could have probably snatched up that bird necklace….lovely.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It’s just fun to visit with these artists and see where they create. There’s such passion, such energy, such creativity.

      And I love that some of the artists featured in today’s post are upcycling.

  3. Lover of anything bird as well as unique jewelry:) Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Jackie Says:

    Loved the unique jewelry pieces, and the lady at the knitting machine…some people are so creative!

  5. Hotly Spiced Says:

    I haven’t seen a knitting machine in years! I love all of this and would love to take a tour of all these wares and I completely agree, you need to have passion to be an artist xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, Charlie, you would definitely enjoy this tour. I hit only a small portion of the studios. It really would take two days to see all of them. Of course, I always have to visit. But that’s part of the experience, to chat with the artists and learn more about their crafts. Watch for several more posts on the artists I met.

  6. Judy Onstad Says:

    Besides visiting one of my sons today who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, you are the highlight of my days lately. I’m so glad I found you. Thank you for sharing and I love the passion behind the art also. I feel inspired to start painting again.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Judy, thank you for stopping by with your kind words. If I can bring joy, inspire, inform, entertain through Minnesota Prairie Roots, then I’m pleased.

      To have a son suffering from Parkinson’s disease would certainly be difficult. But I am sure you bring him much joy with your visits.

      Tell me more about your painting. What do you paint and what media do you use?

      • Judy Onstad Says:

        I started painting about 2001 until my husband passed away sept of 07. I did portraits and still life’s in oil mainly but used acrylics also. I haven’t been able to paint since Jim passed away but I’m going to try to get back since I think it would be good therapy.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Judy, I am so sorry that you lost your husband. To lose one you love…

        Yes, I agree that painting may be good therapy. To get lost in one’s passion can lead to healing. It will be interesting to see how your painting evolves, whether you continue with portraits and still lifes or choose other subjects. Best wishes.

  7. Judy Onstad Says:

    thank you Audrey for your kind words and I don’t know what I’ll paint but my passion will lead the way for sure.


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