As members of the The Over the Mountain Studio Tour we often are asked “Who are these artisans? What might I do to be a part of this group of talented individuals?" We turned to Master Basketmaker Anne Bowers one of the founders of the Tour 33 years ago, to put on paper how the process works. This blog is one of two that will satisfy the curiosity of tour-goers AND encourage those who think they might want to become a part of this creative group.
“By way of a general introduction, the OMST is a group of artisans that has an annual tour in Jefferson County, WV on the second weekend of November” Anne writes. “Our numbers of artisans change every year, as some need to leave the tour for various reasons, (moving, health, etc), and we are always adding new artists and emerging artists (more about that later). We have a talented core group of Makers that have been part of the tour for many years. We are, in fact, the longest running studio tour in the state of West Virginia.
“Suppose you are a creative individual, seeing the tour for the first time. You notice the quality of the work, hear of the camaraderie among the tour participants and think to yourself ‘I wish I was part of a creative community.’ All of us in the tour have gone through the joys and pains of refining our work, and perhaps you are in that process, too. If you find yourself at a midpoint of learning your craft – somewhere in the vast land between intermediate and professional level, this might be the community for you. Are you increasing your knowledge through classes or other ways of learning? Do you have a body of work that is truly “you?” Perhaps you recognize that you have progressed so much in your field that you are currently teaching and sharing your knowledge and selling your work? Now you feel ready to approach OMST to learn more about our jury process. Please call us at 304-725-0567 or email us through the tour website – www:overthemountainstudiotour.com (in the overhead menu click Contact and a box “Contact Us” will emerge so you can send an email).”
Watch for more information in the next blog from Anne Bowers about the jurying process, what we are looking for in new members and the benefits and responsibilities of being a member in the next blog. Jurying will take place in late February or early March.