For the seventh year in a row, Natalie Prévost-Mero will be unable to tour any of the art studios on the Kissing Bridge Trail Studio Tour that she founded and has run each year. Instead, Prévost-Mero will be found behind her pottery wheel at her shop, The Barefoot Potter on Riverside Drive in Elmira, while hundreds of people, some local and some tourists, visit one or many of the stops throughout the area.
While Elmira might not be an “art Mecca,” Prévost-Mero noted, the area is home to several great artists whose works might go unseen because people simply don’t know where to look.
The tour, which enables visitors to stop in at several shops and art studios in Elmira, West Montrose, and Wallenstein to watch some of the artists in action, drew more than 500 people last year. Of the 10 studios on the tour, several different types of art are showcased, including clay sculptures, quilts, photography, acrylic and oil paintings and jewelry, to name a few.
One of the noteworthy spots on the tour, she said, is Danuta and Vlodek Tydor studio in Wallenstein. The couple creates handmade decorative and functional ceramics, as well as acrylic, oil and watercolour paintings.
Prévost-Mero began her career in pottery at only 21 years of age, after she took a job doing the ‘gofer work’ in another woman’s studio. She got hooked on the art form and has been spinning her own sculptures ever since. Typically, her self-proclaimed ‘artsy-fartsy’ items sell for anywhere between $40 and $400.
Noting that the slightly higher cost of buying local art, in comparison to that which is mass produced, does factor significantly into people’s decisions about where to buy, she said there are benefits to going that route. Even her own purchases aren’t made lightly due to the cost, she said, adding she truly values the importance of buying local products and supporting her fellow artists.
“It’s a purchase I have to think about. But buying local supports the economy, it supports your neighbours, and the things you find are one-of-a-kind.”
The tour is running both today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information can be found online at www.kbtstudiotour.ca.