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Self-guided tour of studios is Dec. 7-8

Take a journey the through arts

POSTED: December 2, 2013 12:27 a.m.
Crystal Ledford/

Jayme Teague uses a pottery wheel to create a new piece in her studio.

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Jayme Teague is always up for an adventure in the world of the arts. So much so, she named her James Burgess Road business Artistic Adventures.

The small shop, which Teague created 11 years ago from a converted ranch-style house, offers a range of classes for anyone interested in learning more about drawing, painting, glasswork or Teague’s main love, pottery.

There’s also a gallery in which Teague and other local artists display their work for purchase.

“I wanted to open this studio to give people more of a one-on-one learning experience and to give them a place where they could feel safe in learning something new,” she said.

Teague is one of six Forsyth County artists who are taking part in a new artistic adventure Dec. 7-8 when they become among the 44 stops on the second annual North Georgia Art Ramble.

Founded in 2012, by members of the Georgia Clay Council, the Art Ramble provides a venue for artists to open up their home studios and galleries to the general public.

Participants in the Art Ramble, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, pick up a brochure with a list of all the stops and their addresses from any participating artist. They can then make their way to as many or as few of the stops as they wish.

Robin Miller, another participating Forsyth County artist, was one of the founding members of the event. She said the inaugural ramble last December featured 27 stops in six northeast Georgia counties with about 40 artists participating.

After word spread throughout the north Georgia arts community, this year’s event has grown to 44 stops throughout 11 counties with more than 70 artists taking part.

Miller said the ramble grew out of a desire by artists to “think like business people.”

Teague took her first pottery class about 20 years ago.

“I was in a class with 19 other people and there were a lot of times when I needed extra help, but it would be time to pack up and go home so I didn’t get it,” she said.

She then started “cutting out pictures from magazines since we didn’t even have the Internet then” and working on her own at home to learn different techniques.

Teague said she would use a method of trial and error until she mastered each new skill, adding “so basically I’m self-taught.”

“I wanted to open this studio to give people more of a one-on-one learning experience and to give them a place where they could feel safe in learning something new,” she said.

In May, Teague opened what she called the second part of her dream, gallery space where local artisans can have a venue from which to sell their work without paying high fees.

“The gallery space is called Always a Festival because people go to festivals to better afford art and artists go to festivals to make money,” she explained.

Miller said an open studio tour concept was developed after artists pinpointed that they sold the most work at times when customers were able to learn more about them.

“We are not psychologists; we don’t know why it works,” Miller said. “We just know from experience that it does. Maybe the buyer can connect with the piece; maybe the art becomes more approachable. Maybe they just want to tell the story about the quirky person who showed them around her studio and talked about her bizarre life experiences. Who knows?

“All we know is that as the potential buyer learns more about the artist, the techniques, the time and the inspiration that goes into a piece, the more likely they are to buy. What better way to do this than in a personal studio?”

Apparently, that approach worked well during last year’s event as survey results from the participating artists showed that on average they each sold 15 pieces over the two days.

Total sales for the weekend were around $30,000, according to survey results.

Miller was one of just three Forsyth County artisans who took part in last year’s Art Ramble. This year, that number has grown to six. The other four Forsyth artists taking part include: Paula Chambers, Melie Ratz, Valerie Stickles and Kristine D. Straukas.

They’ll be showing off a range of artistic techniques and mediums such as paint, glass, color pencil, clay and jewelry.

On Tuesday, Teague was busy at her potter’s wheel creating new unique pieces that she’ll feature during the Art Ramble.

She said she’s looking forward to the event since she always likes to take advantage of any avenue that helps others learn more about the work that goes into creating true art.

“A lot of times people will come in and they’ll pick something up and flip it over and go, ‘Oh, I can get something twice as big for half the price,’” she said.

“But what they don’t realize is that I’ve taken a tool and done my shape by hand and then come in with a knife and carved all the detail out. So I work for less than minimum wage when you factor in all my time.

“It’s great to let people see the process of art … and [the Art Ramble] is great exposure for what we all do and hopefully will give people an appreciation for it.”

 

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