Artistic Effusion along the Blue Coast
Boating, fishing, golf, dining, shopping, hiking, sightseeing: You might be drawn to South Haven for any number of reasons.
Blue Coast Artists 30th Annual Fall Tour of Studios
October 5 and 6, 2019 / 10am–6pm
www.bluecoastartists.net / Facebook
In the early 1970s, the city attracted Chicago artist Mark Williams, who saw the Haven as an ideal location to pursue his passion for pottery.
Years later, he and two other artists were holding open houses on the same weekend. Recognizing the advantage of such timing, they decided to form a group of studios. It would have set regional boundaries and include art media as diverse as the artists themselves. They would name the group Blue Coast after the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Thus began the Blue Coast Artists Fall Tour of Studios, a free event entering its 30th year on October 5 and 6. A South Haven point of interest, it currently includes eight studios between South Haven and Douglas, the tour treats you to a rich exploration of local culture within a connected route cutting through southwest Michigan’s serene rural landscape.
In addition to displaying finished pieces, each studio will offer you opportunities to meet the artist and discover how the work is made in its distinctive environment. Many studios will be serving refreshments as well.
If you aren’t able to see all of the tour’s eight studios, you can still visit them separately at different times of the year. Here’s a glimpse into what makes each artist so singular.
Words to live by: I do this to breathe, which for me is creation. I follow my heart and my truth. If I do it for me with love for what I do, I can give my best to anything and anyone. I also believe that if I’m doing the right thing, the way will be made easier by a power or a spirit I might not know or understand.
Original Blue Coast member Mark’s handmade stoneware pieces are well known for their exploration and representation of textures, such as bowls and platters featuring his signature leaf-printed designs. Blue Star Pottery is also renowned for stoneware mugs, selling as many as thousands in a year.
Mark’s work is particularly popular with visitors from throughout the Midwest, including Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis and Indianapolis. In addition to seeing his creations in their showrooms, you’ll be able to walk through his workshop, learn about his process and even handle clay that he uses.
Words to live by: Pottery can last for thousands of years. My work will far outlive me, so I hope it represents quality, care and artistry to anyone who might find it or pick it up long from now. I hope it serves a purpose for them and that they enjoy it as much then as someone might today.
Words to live by: There is always a way to make something work. If you see something you want to make, or hope to make, if you look at and think about it long enough, you’ll usually discover how to do it. Never give up. If you’re blocked in one way, try another.
Words to live by: We are all responsible for our own journey and our own happiness, and there is no beginning or end: There just is. The question becomes what do we do with the is, and we don’t always have to think we need to stay inside the lines to answer that.
A native New Yorker, Brian specializes in turning global exotic woods and creating beautiful, functional work from personally harvested local hardwoods. Having never seen himself as an artist, he discovered his talent by chance several years ago when he made a pencil and a pen with the Michigan State University colors for his wife for Valentine’s Day. From there he continued learning and teaching himself to the point of becoming a Roycroft Master Artisan.
Words to live by: Even though you might be doing something serious, always have fun with it, and you’ll always enjoy it. Also never be afraid to try something. Just let it happen, and you might be surprised. No matter how many pieces I turn, I am always amazed by what comes off of the lathe.
Khnemu Studio celebrates the styles and possibilities of handmade pottery and fine crafts as dreamed and shaped by Michigan artisan Dawn Soltysiak, who has been around clay and pottery since the age of two. The gallery features a range of functional and decorative pieces by Dawn and different artists. Khnemu also offers special events as well as classes and workshops in its professional studio with multiple kilns.
Words to live by: Embrace that art involves constant failure. Many artists wrestle with the struggle for perfection. We can’t let that stop us from finishing something and moving on. As long as we have an inner drive to learn, improve and problem-solve, we can find fulfillment and growth in creation.
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Blue Coast Artists6322 113th Avenue
Fennville, Michigan 49408
Blue Star Studio of Wood & Glass1684 Blue Stay Highway
Fennville, Michigan 49408
Khnemu Studio6322 113th Avenue
Fennville, Michigan 49408