Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

On ARTour: Up close with two artists inside their Northfield studio November 4, 2013

Artist Sue Hammes-Knopf of Full Bloom Beadworks at work beading.

Artist Sue Hammes-Knopf of Full Bloom Bead Work beading.

HANDCRAFTED BEAD BRACELET dangling from her left wrist, Sue Hammes-Knopf slips specks of orange beads onto a needle and then onto a matching orange string.

An example of Sue's original earrings.

An example of Sue’s original earrings.

I marvel at her ability to do this—to work with the tiniest of beads in the spotlight of a long-armed lamp that looms over her work area. Natural sunlight from four floor to ceiling windows kisses her back.

A stunning beaded bracelet created by Sue.

A stunning beaded bracelet created by Sue.

I cannot imagine having the patience, steadiness of hand or vision to work with such fine beads, to create the beautiful bead work I see here, in this third floor studio in historic downtown Northfield during the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour.

Beading supplies.

Beading supplies.

And when I speak my thoughts aloud, Sue muses that she’s developed patience in 35 years of marriage and that she “feels” the beads as much as sees them.

The beautiful studio space of MRG Arts and Full Bloom Beadworks, 101 E. 5th St., Northfield. Maryrose Gondeck is on the left, Sue Hammes-Knopf on the right.

The beautiful studio space of MRG Arts and Full Bloom Bead Work, 101 E. 5th St., #305, Northfield. Maryrose Gondeck is on the left, Sue Hammes-Knopf on the right.

Across the room, Maryrose Gondeck also creates art. She’s worked in numerous mediums—graphite, oils, acrylics, pastels, pen and ink, colored pencils, photography…

Maryrose Gondeck's original corn art grace posters and promotional materials for the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour.

Maryrose Gondeck’s original corn art graced posters and promotional materials for the recent South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour. This sign directs visitors to her studio and two others on the third floor of an old building in historic downtown Northfield.

Her drawing of ripened corn on corn stalks was the visual symbol of this year’s Studio ARTour. A perfect fit for a tour of 20 studios featuring 44 artists in the rural region that encompasses Northfield, Faribault and Cannon Falls.

Among Maryrose's art supplies.

Among Maryrose’s art supplies.

Maryrose's graphite drawings showcased in a hallway.

Maryrose’s graphite drawings showcased in a hallway.

What a plethora of gifted artists we have here, in this area of Minnesota I call home.

I noticed this signage outside  Maryrose and Sue's studio as I exited. Theirs was the final studio I would visit during the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour.

I noticed this signage outside Maryrose and Sue’s studio as I exited. Theirs was the final studio I would visit during the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour.

FYI: This concludes my series of five posts on the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour. To see previous posts showcasing selected artists on the tour, check my recent archives.

The work of 44 artists was shown in 20 studios during this annual October event. This year I chose to peruse the work of some artists I had not seen on past tours. And I know, in that selective process, I missed out on viewing other incredible art. Next year.

I’d encourage you to visit the Studio ARTour website to learn more about all of the participating artists.

Also, check out the upcoming Fine Craft Collective, a collaborative gallery show at 506 Division Street in downtown Northfield open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday and from noon – 4 p.m. Sundays from November 14 – December 24. You will find the works of 17 local artists for sale at this annual event. Click here for more info.

No matter where you live, I hope you will support local artists by attending events like the South Central Minnesota Studio ARTour and the Fine Craft Collective, by encouraging and asking questions, and, if you can, purchasing art.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s in rural southwestern Minnesota, with minimal exposure to the arts. It was the times as much as the distance and lack of money which isolated me from the art world. That is why, perhaps, I appreciate the arts as much as I do. Absence, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

13 Responses to “On ARTour: Up close with two artists inside their Northfield studio”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    More fabulous art tour pictures!!! Boy I loved that bracelet!!!! I may have to check out that Northfield show—-gonna see how far that is for me to go to……

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Beth Ann, Northfield is exactly 22 minutes from my house. Randy works there.

      I’m sure you’ve seen the Northfield exit along Interstate 35, by the truck stop.

      Northfield reminds me in many ways of Decorah, Iowa. It has an historic downtown with lots of quaint shops plus two prestigious private colleges, St. Olaf and Carleton. You and Chris would love it. You two should spent a night/day there sometime.

  2. Oh My Goodness – love the beaded jewelry – that could be dangerous in just picking one item!!! I remember trying my hand at cross stitch and I think I stuck myself more than anything – ha! Happy Week:)

  3. It always interests me to see how art supplies are often as photogenic as the art itself!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Glad you caught that, because I especially like how the “art supplies” images turned out, too.

  4. Jackie Says:

    Beautiful beaded jewelry…I would not have the patience, but I’m glad some do. It was enjoyable seeing your posts on the ARTour Audrey, a lot of talent in our state wouldn’t you say!

  5. hotlyspiced Says:

    I love the look of that art space. It looks like a very warm and creative place to be. You would have to have so much patience to work with all those tiny beads xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It was a beautiful studio location in an old building. All that light flooding into the space really appeals to me and, I’m certain, to the artists.


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