Holiday Studio Tour showcases regional artists
LUVERNE -- In its fourth year, the Holiday Studio Tour in Luverne continues to get bigger and better. This year, 16 regional artists and six studios/galleries are included on the tour, which is planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Luverne.
The event showcases artisans in their studio environment, and provides shoppers an opportunity to purchase locally hand-crafted items perfect for holiday gift-giving.
Jerry Deuschle and his wife Kathy have been participants in the Studio Tour since the event was first launched in 2008. Jerry is a potter, specializing in Raku and wood-fired pots, while Kathy makes crocheted beaded jewelry. The two work out of a studio on the north edge of Luverne, which is currently in the midst of a major remodeling project. Once finished, the former horse riding arena will be converted into their retirement home, potter's studio and showroom.
During the studio tour on Saturday, Jerry and visiting potter Bill Gossman of New London plan to demonstrate their work at the potter's wheel, while Kathy will assist people in the showroom with Cindy Reverts, a Luverne potter who will also bring some of her works there to display.
The studio tour gives artists like Jerry Deuschle an opportunity to showcase their work in an event. Like most of the other artists on the tour, he has a full-time job and isn't able to have regular gallery hours.
In addition to owning Harold's Electric, Deuschle is an instructor at Minnesota West Community and Technical College's Jackson campus.
He teaches in the electrical program there, and also teaches classes in ceramics and Raku pottery at the Jackson and Worthington campuses.
His summers off from teaching are filled catching up on electrical work, while his three-day weekends throughout the school year provide him some time to work with clay.
An art major in college, Deuschle took his first class in clay in 1967.
After graduation, he taught in the Appleton and Arlington school districts for several years, and then settled in Rock County.
"When the Jasper school closed, I bought the kiln, refurbished it and did pots part-time," he said. "As I continued to better my skill, I got a SMAHC (Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council) grant and bought a bigger kiln."
Displaying his works in art shows soon followed, and Deuschle continued to hone his skill by learning new methods.
For nearly two decades, he has helped host an annual workshop in Luverne on Raku pottery, a specialized firing process that originated in Japan and became Americanized during the 1960s and 1970s. The workshop draws people from throughout the Midwest, stretching from the Dakotas to Wisconsin, and speakers have come from as far away as North Carolina and Texas.
Deuschle likes working with Raku because the coloring results differ with each piece he fires. The glazed pots are heated to 1850 degrees F. and then their appearance is manipulated with water or chemical spray before the pieces are put into a reduction chamber.
"You get a glaze response that you can't get any other way," Deuschle said. "You've got to be lucky to get two pieces alike -- and we're playing with fire and smoke, and what's not to like about that?"
In addition to Raku, Deuschle also makes items in a wood-fire kiln that the Rock County Fine Arts Association purchased several years ago, thanks to another SMAHC grant.
During Saturday's studio tour, the public is welcome to start out at any of the sites, where maps will be provided to mark the rest of the stops on the tour. People are encouraged to visit each place, as they can register to win one of 16 fine art prizes. The prizes were donated by each of the artisans featured during the studio tour.
Artists displaying works on the tour include Jim Brandenburg, Carol Ceynowa, Becky Feikema, Bill Gossman, Lori Hallstrom, Greg Hoogeveen, Diane Howey, Chris Nowatzki, Mary Petersen, Cindy Reverts, Natalie Sorensen, Kathy Vander Lugt, Marilyn Zimmerman and Rock County Opportunities.