Artists at work

A Steamboat studio tour

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Perhaps it is true that a person's home is her castle, but in Steamboat it's just as likely that anyone's home is his or her art studio.

Pass through stained-glass artist Georgian Kalow's living room and down her spiral staircase to find a well-organized collection of glass samples, geode slices for her signature lamps and open workspace.

Or visit David Winters' wood shop that encompasses the full-size basement below his family home and two bays of the garage, as well.

Dixie Coyle used to use hook rugs in the greenhouse at her home, but she recently tore that down to make way for a hardier, more substantial studio space equipped with kitchen and storage facilities.

And for Wayne Kakela, who creates sculptures at his ranch in Strawberry Park, sometimes the art gets mixed up with the daily chores of what he calls his "ranch-type thing."

"Sometimes I'm working on a baler, or a tractor -- or art," Kakela said.

All of these studios are stops on the Steamboat Springs Arts Council's fourth annual Steamboat Studios Art and Culture Tour on July 31. Fourteen working artists will invite people into their studios throughout the day, which often means meandering through their homes to explore spaces where Steamboat's artists get inspired.

In addition to the artists mentioned above, this year's tour includes visits with potters Deb Babcock and the Ceramic Design Group; architectural tile sculptor Jan Willman; weaver Wendy Kowynia; photographers Jim Steinberg and Ken Proper; painters Deb Proper, Zanobia and Pat Walsh; and mixed-media artists MB Warner and Keri Searls.

The tour starts with breakfast amid the SummerArt 2004 exhibit at the Depot Art Center. It breaks mid-day for a picnic lunch, homemade pie and live entertainment by local singer and songwriter Carrie Elkin at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. Between studio visits, the self-guided tour will lead participants to various cultural points of interest across Steamboat.

Throughout the day, the studio tour is an opportunity to see local artists at work.

A stop at Winters' home studio likely will catch him turning local woods such as aspen, cottonwood, willow or scrub oak on his new lathe. Winters, who won best in show for his category in SummerArt 2004, makes decorative furnishings, bowls, wall mirrors and cutting boards from a variety of woods. If you lurk around the lathe long enough, he also has plenty of stories to share about surfing the Grand Canyon or skateboarding down Rabbit Ears Pass.

Venture into Kalow's stained-glass studio and you are likely to get a crash course in stained-glass appreciation. She'll be working on a new window she is creating that features a large, thin slice of a geode embedded in the center of the stained glass.

The studio tour is a great opportunity for education, Kalow said.

"When you're making a piece of stained glass, you need to make it so it lasts forever," Kalow said. "All these things that are hand-done by artists take a lot of work and appreciation of the final project."

As people visit rug-hooking guru Coyle, she will be working on a rug called "The Ligionier Duo." It is a reproduction of a rug featuring two cats that originally was hooked between 1870 and 1890, she said. Visitors will see first-hand how Coyle works in a self-described "primitive style" with flat patterns and wide cuts of woolen fabric strips that she dyes herself.

And when people venture out to Kakela's more rural studio, where he will be creating a flock of life-size iron sheep to cross the Stock Bridge, he will encourage people to explore his abstract iron work and the studio he calls a "wander around kind of place."

For many artists, the studio tour is a chance to bring the community into their secluded creative worlds.

"It's is an opportunity to let people know you're still around doing things," Kakela said.

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