Talent Pool

Studio Art Tour puts spotlight
on area’s creative talent

Artists in Switzerland, Ohio counties
to display, sell their artwork during event

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

April 2010 Indiana Edition Cover

April 2010
Indiana Edition Cover

(April 2010) – Rick Starker has a talent for taking a lifeless scrap of wood and breathing life into it. The end result is a piece of furniture that has been painstakingly crafted into a useful, aesthetically pleasing object.
Starker learned a lot of what he knows from his mentor, Denver Markland, a noted woodworker and teacher. The rest of his woodworking knowledge he acquired through experience.
From his shop in Vevay, Ind., Starker, 52, works 16-hour days to craft commissioned pieces and complete antique repairs. In addition to his job as a hotel manager, woodworking is as “full-time a job as you can get for me” he said.
Starker is from Lawrenceburg, Ind., and has lived in Switzerland County for the last 40 years. The fact that his woodwork is “totally customer designed” makes it appealing to a wide variety of people, said Starker.
He uses real hardwoods and no manufactured materials. His pieces are made out of woods such as walnut, cherry, oak and popular. He can stain or paint a piece of furniture when requested.
Starker said he got hooked on woodworking when he bought his own place and began building furniture for it. Others saw his work and commissioned him to do various pieces for them. Eventually, he took his woodworking to a professional level.
Starker is just one of 40 artists scheduled to participate in the Creative Spaces Rural Places Studio Art Tour. This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 24-25, in Switzerland and Ohio counties in southeastern Indiana.
Approximately 31 locations are on the tour, showcasing a variety of mediums, including paint, glass, sculpture, basket making, fiber, wood, steel and photography. Participating artists will have their artwork available for sale.

Creative Spaces logo

• April 24-25 in Switzerland and Ohio counties in southeastern Indiana
• 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. each day
• 40 artists to show and sell their work at their studios. Galleries and shops also feature their work.
• Free admission
• Tour Headquarters: Switzerland County Welcome Center, 128 W. Main St., Vevay; Rising Sun-Ohio County CVB, 120 Main St., Rising Sun.
• Information: 1-800-435-5688 (Vevay) or 1-888-776-4786 (Rising Sun)
• Visit: www.CreativeSpacesRuralPlaces.com

During last years’ Studio Tour, Starker crafted a grandfather clock out of cedar so that guests could see him working in a natural environment. The year before that, Starker rebuilt “a 200-year-old spinning wheel that had been in the same family for 200 years. The family had it shipped overseas from Holland,” he said.
The tour is in its third year, according to Kendal Miller, public relations spokesperson for Switzerland County Tourism. “Local, as well as out-of-state art lovers, visit us during the event.”
In talking with the participating artists, one will learn that many of them are not originally from Switzerland or Ohio counties, some not even from the state. “This is an added benefit to those taking the tour,” said Miller. “Not only will our guests have the opportunity to experience an artist’s “artistic influences” from the combination of what they learned in their past experiences and locales, but what inspires them now while living in Indiana.”
A good example is Tony Catanzaro, who is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y. A former engineer, he came to the area because of work and ended up staying, something that “was not planned,” he said.
Catanzaro is drawn to the river and can always be found working in his outdoor studio and sculpture garden. He sculpts artwork from recycled metal, incorporating a lot of wood and stone in his pieces. Many times he finds his metal in or along the river or people give him metal to retool.

David Attaway

"The environment is integral to many of the artists’ works."
– David Attaway, Switzerland County CVB director

Farmers often donate old machinery they no longer need and he has even crafted artwork from old barges found in the river. “The materials I use are pretty old,” said Catanzaro, a fact that makes his work unique in itself.
The largest piece he ever sculptured was 13 feet tall. All of his pieces can be placed inside or outside. “I always wanted to sculpt,” said Catanzaro, 61.
He knows a piece is finished when it just “feels good.” He doesn’t use any sketches, relying only on the visual image in his head when it comes to a particular project.
He automatically knows what to do when he finds a piece of material. “The material draws me into what it will become,” he said.
The Studio Tour is a “great opportunity for artists to not only promote their work but to inspire others in their particular field of expertise,” said Miller. Artists will appear on site at their studios, an art center, gallery or hosting business.
“There have been varying forms of studio tours around for awhile,” said David Attaway, executive director for Switzerland County Tourism. “But ours is unique in the way it is featured. The environment is integral to many of the artists’ works.”
The Switzerland and Ohio County Tourism Departments received a grant to create and enhance a website for this tour, said Attaway. A new interactive map is on the website. Under the umbrella of the Ohio County Tourism, the project received a $10,000 grant from the Indiana Artisans.

Ann Farnsley

Photo by Don Ward

Ann Farnsley paints and creates
ceramics at her studio at
301 W. Market St. in Vevay.

Both Attaway and Sherry Timms, executive director of Rising Sun-Ohio County Tourism, worked together before on assembling the Southeast Wine Trail. The counties teamed again to produce this Studio Tour, which Attaway said has been successful enough in the past to “keep building, while people keep coming back for it.”
A contest will be held during the tour awarding a “Stay ‘n Play Package,” featuring a two-day, one night stay and gift and dinner discount through the Creative Spaces Rural Places Art Tour website. A second contest will award a “Lodging Package” that includes a two-night stay with the second night half off at select Bed and Breakfasts and Inns, plus $30 in “Artist Bucks” to be used toward the purchase of artwork along the tour.

Meredith Luhrs

Photo by Don Ward

Meredith Luhrs paints
and operates Luhrs
Studio on the
third floor of the
building located at
120 W. Main St., Vevay.

Some of the participating artists are located along the Ohio River Scenic Byway, while others are located in the downtown areas of Rising Sun or Vevay. Visitors will be given the chance to enjoy the beauty of the area while on the tour.
“This is a wonderful way to see what hidden treasures are waiting to be discovered in both our talented artists and our two counties,” said Miller.
There are several Indiana Artisans on the Tour. “To be selected as an Indiana Artisan is a wonderful honor,” Miller said. One is Jerry Wallin of Wallin Forge. Wallin was a noted Kentucky Artisan before moving to Indiana. “He is a very significant artist that bridges the river for us,” said Attaway.
Ann Farnsley is another artist that has customers and collectors from Indiana and Kentucky. Farnsley grew up in old Louisville and moved to southern Indiana in 1970. She’s been painting seriously for the last 45 years.
Farnsley works in different mediums, mostly painting and ceramics. “This past winter I did a series of palette knife paintings using oils, so I’ll be featuring them on the tour,” she said.
Over the years, she has developed a personal style she labels “fantasy art.” Farnsley describes this artwork as “childlike images, floating animals and spacescape environments.” During the tour, she’ll be working outside at her easel on a new fantasy painting.
“The Creative Spaces Tour and the Original Oldham Studio Tour and Art Sale are very similar,” said Farnsley, who has participated in both studio tours. She shared the brochure from the first Oldham Studio Tour with Angie Satterfield, Attaway’s assistant and retail coordinator of tourism-operated stores in Switzerland County. Satterfield was confident that this could be done in Indiana, “so our tour with both Switzerland and Ohio Counties was born,” said Farnsley.

Rick Starker

Photo courtesy of Kendal R. Miller

Rick Starker is a noted woodworker
who creates his masterpieces
at his home studio, located at
111 Cheapside St. in Vevay.

“Though our tour is not exactly the same, we thought it was a perfect idea,” said Timms.
By partnering with Switzerland County, a more diverse group of people will be represented on the tour, said Timms. She said there are some interesting folks in Ohio County that craft guitars, harps, kayaks, dolls, eclectic sculptures and “we have a lot of painters here. It is an interesting group of artists and craftspeople.”
The tour presents many “economic and personal opportunities for the artists,” Timms said. Many stops will have multiple artists present, such as the Pendleton Art Center. Because of this, sometimes one day on the tour is not enough time to see everything, she said.
“It’s a nice way to spend a weekend,” said Timms. “People are always surprised by how interesting it was.”
For artists like Farnsley, the studio tour is a great tool for “seeing old friends, meeting new people and sharing my artwork with them. I also like the camaraderie and interaction with other artists.”

Back to April 2010 Articles.



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