Mindy Knapik at the potter’s wheel.

The Back Roads of
Brown County Artists and Craftsmen’s Tour

by Chris Gustin

Brown County is an autumn destination for many people. The blazing fall foliage is breathtaking and hundreds of shops are open and welcoming visitors. But on the back roads of Brown County, there’s a lot of activity, too. Many local artists and craftsmen offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the real art for which the county is famous.

This October event is an offshoot of the Studio and Garden Tour held the last weekend in June. Some artists wanted to be able to meet the public in a more relaxed atmosphere and the “Back Roads” tour was started three years ago. Thirteen studios will be open and in production for the entire month of October, and they have assembled a free, self-guided tour, “The Back Roads of Brown County—A Driving Tour of Artists’ and Craftsmen’s Studios.” Visitors can add to their experience by meeting the artists who carry on the tradition of Brown County’s heritage as the “Art Colony of the Midwest.”

A detailed map, available at most local businesses and hotels, will provide a guide through Brown County’s scenic back roads to the artists’ studios. Work will also be available for purchase.

Participating artists and studios:

Jennifer and Michael Burt—Burt Studios

Michael studied fine art at Eastern Michigan University and Jennifer took private painting, jewelry and stained glass classes.

Chris Gustin—Homestead Weaving Studio

Chris is a weaver and fiber artist with over 30 years experience. She weaves rugs, household accessories and wearable art in her studio. Much of her work focuses on recycling industry excess into affordable art.

Sandee Hazelbaker—Cabin Ridge Studio and Gallery

Sandee has a secluded teaching studio and gallery displaying original artwork, prints, cards and exquisite hand-painted ornaments. She teaches classes year-round.

Lynn Lynch Hughes—Memories to Keep, Ink

Lynn specializes in pen-and-ink drawings of buildings and pastels of animals. Many of the historical sites she has drawn are preserved in her work but have fallen to the wrecking ball.

Mindy Knapik—Carmel Ridge Clayworks

Mindy creates pots for use in and around the home. They are hand-thrown stoneware and are mostly wood-fired with some electric glazes.

A. W. (Amanda Wallace) Mathis

Amanda is the area’s resident primitive artist, creating imaginative, acrylic paintings incorporating themes of both the past and the present.

Anne Ryan Miller

Anne is a stained glass artist whose highly detailed glass pieces include a unique and unusual metal overlay technique she has developed over the past 20 years.

Cheri Platter—Faerie Hollow Pottery

Cheri’s functional wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery incorporates original floral designs, which she paints onto the glazed piece before firing.

Greg Schatz—Schatz Studio and Gallery

Greg produces wood-fired stoneware pottery created with a unique surface of natural ash glaze.

Larry Spears—Spears Gallery

Larry creates functional and reduction-fired porcelain and stoneware pottery in his studio located in a lovely valley setting.

R. Thomas Tedrowe, Jr.

Tom designs and builds meticulously crafted wood furniture and decorative objects from a diverse influence of classical and modern art forms.

Sheryl VanVleck—VanVleck Studio

Sheryl’s work is primarily sculptural clay pieces, but Sheryl also creates in pencil, oil painting, pastels and wheel-thrown pottery.

T.C. Steele State Historic Site

A visit to the historic home and studio of Brown County’s first resident artist, Theodore Clement Steele (1847–1926), takes you back to the days of the early Art Colony. The House of the Singing Winds, the Steele paintings, and the surrounding landscape continue to inspire generations of artists.

For more information about the participating artists visit <www.browncountystudiotour.com>.