Sharing local art on the annual studio tour | Bancroft this week

September 28, 2022

By Kristena Schutt-Moore

As autumn leaves color the roads and paint the landscape in hues of red, orange and gold, it’s easy to see how artists take inspiration from the views. Many of these local artists opened their doors and studios to the community and all art lovers during the 30th Annual Bancroft and Area Fall Studio Tour over the weekends of September 17-18 September and from September 24 to September 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. pm every day.
This year, 17 artists took part in the show and 10 places to visit, with some artists being invited to the studios and others for the tour. Location A was Amy Doole’s studio. Doole makes functional stoneware pottery. She describes her work as nostalgic and playful with bright, earthy colors, sculptural elements, unique textures and vintage imagery, turning everyday usable objects into works of art. Stephanie Park was a guest at Doole’s studio. Park owns Spark Pottery and creates original hand-turned and hand-turned pottery using centuries-old techniques. She says her work is inspired by the natural world and the beauty of the region’s wild landscapes.
At location B, the studio of painter and printmaker Ketha Newman offered visitors a spectacular view from an off-grid studio on a hilltop. Newman’s mixed media paintings, watercolors and Lino prints are inspired by life in the woods and she infuses them with a magical realism. Her guest on the tour was Teena Surma who uses paper pulp and fabric to create unique dolls. Surma takes her own imagination and brings dolls, animals and other creations to life. Each piece has its own personality and emotion.
Patrick Doherty had been at Location C. Doherty has been painting since 1990 and throughout his career he has experimented with various media and found satisfaction in combining unusual objects with traditional formats. Describing himself as an urban native, Doherty says he continues to evolve creatively but has strong roots in the traditions of his childhood.
Quilter and mosaicist Joanna Hankus was at location D. She specializes in quilts and mosaics, working with different mixtures of media. She enjoys combining old and new materials and assembling tesserae or fabrics to create new colorful compositions.
At Location E, two artists were waiting to greet guests, woodworking artist Lyle Collins and painter May vanRoon. Collins became famous for his sturdy branch salt and pepper shakers, made from branches he obtained from his own property. He lets Mother Nature do the design work and he takes found wood and produces unique educational tales, stands, charcuterie boards, magnifying glasses, coat racks and more. vanRoon’s passion lies in the color, shape and contrast of a painting. She brings both an abstract and expressionist approach to painting her favorite subjects and is inspired by nature. She works in both acrylic and chalk pastels to bring birds and flowers to life and create a pun in the title of each of her paintings.
Stone carver William Kafka and painter Nancy McKinnon shared Kafka’s studio at location F on the tour. Kafka enjoys working with the natural essence of his stone, using only hand tools to form a simple shaped sculpture. Much of its stone comes from Zimbabwe and is unique in color and texture. Kafka creates his sculptures outdoors overlooking the L’Amable stream. McKinnon is a landscape painter who is inspired by the “raw beauty” that surrounds North Hastings. His technique involves incorporating bold brushstrokes and vibrant colors in both acrylic and oil to show the dynamic landscape and nature of the region in his paintings.
Rene and Elain Butikofer, the husband and wife wooden artist team, were at location G. In their studio, they showed how their teamwork creates unique wooden bowls. Using an antique wood lathe and mostly magnifying glasses found in the Bancroft area, they showed guests who stopped by the steps needed to create a functional wooden artwork.
At Location H was glass artist Karen Istead. His work consists of infused glass and stained glass to capture the light thrown off by the water, sky and trees. She enjoys working with glass to create images that show the nature that surrounds her bunkie studio on Baptiste Lake.
At Location I, painter and printmaker Freddie Towe, painter and sculptor Ken Fraser, painter Barbara Allport and painter Carol Towe showed guests how different painting styles can truly complement each other. Treddie Towe’s innate sense of color is used with what he calls “a quirky interplay between humor and darkness”. Whereas Fraser is a self-taught painter who enjoys creating playful images as he tries to capture the wonders of the world around us by painting on old wood. He also creates sculptures from clay and found materials. Allport’s work focuses more on natural landscapes and is inspired by the rural marriage of his home surrounded by forests, water and wetlands. Carol Towe is an oil painter who is inspired by landscapes and still lifes. She says “My goal is to try to find a sense of mystery in my subject matter, with the use of light and perspective.”
The last location on the studio tour map was location J where painter Ken Balmer opened his gallery in High Falls. Through his work in animal paintings, Balmer tries to capture both the likeness and the essential spirit of each creature he paints. He works with both realistic and bold colors and abstract interpretations to achieve this mixture.
Although the Bancroft and area fall studio tour has ended for this show, plans are already underway for next year’s 31st show. Those interested in more information or artists interested in being part of the studio tour are encouraged to visit the website


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