Celebrate local art: Tahoe Art League’s 10th annual Artist Studio Tour begins this weekend | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Celebrate local art: Tahoe Art League’s 10th annual Artist Studio Tour begins this weekend

Autumn Whitney
Stevenson works on his dye-on silk creations. He also specializes in wearable art, such as painted silk scarves.
Courtesy / Walt Stevenson |

Bead weaving, watercolors, woodworking and more can be seen at the 10th annual Artist Studio Tour, which kicks off this Friday, July 29. Lasting for two consecutive weekends, the tour celebrates local artistry and includes work from over 40 artists in 21 studios on the South Shore.

“Most of the people are painters,” Tahoe Art League publicity chair Rande Szromba said. “Watercolor is very popular — and oils. There’s a couple people who carve gourds. I do bead weaving. There’s silk painting on scarves. There’s metal, silver, sculpture and wood. The venues are many.”

The self-guided tour takes place across South Lake Tahoe. While some studios are within walking distance of each other, a car is necessary to visit all 21 locations. Maps are available at the league’s office or on its website.

“You can pick which ones you like or you can see all of them, because it goes on for six days [total]. They’re clumped in different areas. If you go to one spot you can see nine [artists], and another you can see seven,” Szromba said.

The goal of the studio tour is to promote art in the community, according to studio chair and 10-year art league member Walt Stevenson. Some studios include demonstrations in which the artist teaches participants how to do their particular craft. Attendees are able to talk with the artists in addition to viewing their work.

“Part of our mission is to reach out to the community. The other part is encouraging artists to promote and sell their art,” Stevenson added.

Stevenson and Szromba will both be returning to the studio tour to showcase their art.


According to Szromba, roughly 90 percent of studio tour artists have participated in the event before. One returning artist is Cyndy Brown, who is displaying her work on the studio tour for the second year.

Brown works with a variety of materials, ranging from ceramics and polymer clays to stones and repurposed antique items made from silver. Using these objects, she often creates unique boxes with close attention to detail.

“My father was a biologist. He wanted to show [me and my sisters] there was more than just the big picture,” Brown said.

One box is made from an old violin and covered with small, decorative tiles. Each of Brown’s boxes is not only functional, but also tells a story — her inspiration for the violin box came from her love of playing the instrument. She places each tile by hand with industrial glue before baking it in a special oven to set the components.

“Because I make every single tile, it could take a few days to a few months,” Brown said.

Representing a different side of the studio tour is Szromba, who specializes in bead weaving. She often uses small seed beads and a peyote stitch to create jewelry.

“A lot of my ideas come from books and the outdoors,” she said.

Szromba recently began making amulets resembling feathers from bald eagles, hawks and blue jays. She also created a small tea set, including a pot and four cups, through bead weaving. To learn more about the process, Szromba recommends visiting her demonstration during the studio tour.

While Stevenson does some bead-stringing art, his dye-on silk work will be displayed during the studio tour. Dye-on silk can be used for a variety of artwork, and Stevenson uses it to both paint and create scarves.

Painting on silk is similar to painting on canvas, as the material is stretched tight over the frame before beginning the creative process. To create dye-on silk scarves, Stevenson uses the batik and shibori methods — both are Japanese forms of resist dying. Batik involves using wax to make patterns on the material, whereas artists using the shibori method twist and compress the silk to create patterns.

“There’s always a surprise,” Stevenson said in regards to shibori art.

Like Szromba, Stevenson recommends attending his demonstration to learn more about dye-on silk.

The Artist Studio Tour runs this weekend, July 29-31, and next weekend, Aug. 5-7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information and maps are available at http://www.thenewtalart.org or at the Tahoe Art League Art Center, located at 3062 U.S. Highway 50.

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