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Drive down scenic back roads, wind through woods decked out in their finest fall colors, and discover art on the 21st annual Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour.

While you’re here, you can follow links to this year’s participating artists, download a printable 2-page letter-size map, and learn about our sponsors.

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Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour

Kathy Sparks considers herself a “fiber artist”. Fiber can come in many different forms, and she has explored just about everything out there.

“I have been working with fiber since childhood,” says Kathy. “If it came from a natural source and could be twisted, woven or interlaced, I was exploring how those strands came together.”

At her home studio, The Hand Maiden, Kathy currently makes traditional Brown Ash Baskets, in the form of Shaker or Taconic styles; hand spun yarns, either as skeins or used in knit or woven items; and traditional primitive hooked rugs.

Kathy was drawn to this particular kind of craft by history and the thirst to know how people discovered and continued to embellish ordinary fibers over time. “I wanted to know how individuals used the materials they had on hand,” Kathy says, “whether it be a fiber for yarn or a wood product to make some utilitarian container such as a basket.”

Kathy's studio will be open to the public during the month of October for the 21st Annual Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour.

More information about Kathy and her work can be found at: blog.browncountystudiotour.com/kathy-sparks/

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MK Watkins works in a range of mediums, including acrylics, oils and watercolors. She chooses the medium based on the subject matter she wants to paint.

“It does seem like I feel more like watercolor in the summer and oils in the winter,” she admits.

She is also self-taught, which to her has meant a lot of practice – and mistakes.

“I have made every single mistake you can make,” she says. “I am still learning. Mistakes are great teachers.”

Looking at her finished paintings, which range in subject matter from bold sunflowers to tranquil scenes to portraits, one would never be aware of all the mistakes MK gives credit to.

MK's studio will be open for the 21st Annual Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour during the month of October.

More information about MK and her work can be found at:
blog.browncountystudiotour.com/mk-watkins/

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Lory Winford began drawing with pastels as a young child.

“I’d buy a box and spend a lot of time drawing pictures,” she says. “I liked the texture and feel of the pastels on paper, and I really liked the closeness of using your hands.”

She still loves it, and today primarily creates landscape paintings with pastels on sand paper.

“I also love color,” she says. “I’m always working on ways to have color speak out in my pictures.”

Lory studied art in college and became exposed to different artists and types of paintings. But she really loves the Impressionist painters and their way with light and texture.

“I have always been drawn to the way light affects a painting,” she explains. “I try to make my paintings beautiful, or a beautiful rendition of the scene I’m working on.”

Lory will be a guest artist on the 21st Annual Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour during the month of October.

More info on Lory and her work can be found at:
blog.browncountystudiotour.com/lory-winford/

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About

19 studios. 28 artisans.

Drive down scenic back roads, wind through woods decked out in their finest fall colors, and discover art on the 21st annual Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour.

In addition to the T.C. Steele State Historic Site, eighteen working artists’ studios will welcome visitors throughout October. Twenty-eight juried artisans, a true representation of the arts in Brown County, will share a special glimpse into the lives of working artists and craftsmen.

The Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour is a free, self-guided event designed to showcase the arts and crafts created in the present-day “Art Colony of the Midwest.”

Watch artwork take shape before your eyes, with artists and craftsmen demonstrating daily. Talk with artists and explore the spaces that inspire them. At some studios, you might even be able to take part in the creation. Educational and designed to broaden public understanding of the arts, the tour is an art celebration for the whole family.

This is a unique opportunity to meet artists doing what they love and to purchase artwork directly from those who made it. Collectors will relish the selection of new work available especially for this event.

Studios are generally open 10am – 5pm daily in October, but some studio hours vary.  Check the artist listing here for hours for each studio.

Most studios take credit card payments, but some do not, often because of poor internet service in their studios.  So bring your checkbook or some extra cash along, just in case!

Blog

Behind the Scenes: Kathy Sparks Uses Natural Dyes to Infuse Local Wool with Color

The day threatened rain, but so far was dry, so Kathy Sparks was outside her studio, The Hand Maiden, dyeing wool yarn. She has a graduate degree from Western Washington University in dye chemistry, where she investigated the effects of mordants (fixatives) and temperatures on different fiber combinations, and she treats dyeing like a science. …

Contact

To learn more about the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour, please send a note to us. We’ll get back to you promptly.