Approaching Susan Crane’s house, it’s apparent an artist lives there. A self-portrait in red clay peeks out from under a shrub. A vortex fountain, surrounded by a swirl of blue and white glass mesmerizes before stepping inside. Glass tile accents frame the fireplace.
Crane says her house is her largest work of art. You’ll see all that before ever stepping into her actual jewelry and fused glass studios, which will be open for viewing September 29 and 30 during the free and open to the public Stapleton Open Studios tour.
Tour founder and coordinator Lin Clark says artists in the event live and/or work in the Stapleton area and open their studios for visitors. Twenty-four artists will participate in this sixth year of the tour. With some pairing up, the tour has 16 stops. Clark feels visitors may feel intimidated about asking questions in a gallery setting. But, she says, “When people come into the artist’s studio, it’s very welcoming because they can find out more about how art is created.”
Susan Crane named her company A Crane Creation so it would apply to any kind of art she did, including jewelry, glass or polymer clay she usually works with. A psychologist specializing in children’s sleep issues by day, Crane frequently takes classes to learn more about art. “I’m so curious …and everything fascinates me,” she says. “I never lose interest in the old stuff, but anything new, I want to figure it out and put my own twist on it.” Her basement jewelry studio looks more like a stylish boutique than a workspace, with earrings, necklaces and bracelets set up on display forms, ready to be taken to shows where she displays and sells her work. Her fused glass projects happen in the garage, with a cabinet of forms and other equipment including upside-down cocktail shaker bases.
Her art provides balance in her life. At work, it can be hard to see concrete results. “But here, I have in my hand something I’ve created from start to finish. It’s so satisfying to feel it and to know what I’ve done.”
Fiber and quilt artist Rebecca Musgrave says visitors to her basement studio ask lots of questions about her long-arm sewing machine. “It’s on a 14-foot table so it goes almost across the width of my whole basement. It’s computerized so it lends itself to my engineering sensibilities,” says Musgrave, whose day job is working as a software test engineer. “I do a lot of computer work during the day so I really love that I can design my own patterns, and use other peoples’ designs. The computer is attached to the machine or I can guide it with my hands. It’s a way to bring art and technology together.” With it, Musgrave makes what she describes as pictures out of fabric, sometimes of animals, landscapes and scenery. “Think paint-by-numbers but with pieces of fabric,” she says.
Musgrave knows people have preconceived notions about quilting. “I think most people hear ‘quilting’ and their first thought is: ‘My Grandma did that, woop-di-doo.’” She likes seeing how surprised people are when they walk in and see one of her pieces and think it’s a painting. “I want to show people that quilting doesn’t have to be just a bunch of little old ladies quilting at church. I love that tradition and heritage, but in the last 20 years, it has really grown so much beyond that.”
Visitors on the tour often share with the artists that they dabble in art but say they haven’t pursued it. Crane loves those conversations and hopes the Stapleton Open Studios tour will inspire the visitors. “I think artists are so stigmatized about what it means to do art, and there are elitist terms about it,” she says. “But I believe we are all creative and have it in us.”
Free and Open to the Public – Stapleton Open Studios Tour
September 29-30, 11am–5pm
Opening Reception Sept. 28, 6–8pm
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages
Live music by Paris Swing Set
The Cube, 8371 Northfield Blvd., Suite C
Pick up a free map at the Cube starting Sept. 1
For more information visit StapletonArtists.org