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ast of Asheville Studio Tour returns this Friday and Saturday

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5/1/2012 - East of Asheville Studio Tour returns this Friday and Saturday
by Asheville Citizen Times

It's time again for the spring East of Asheville Studio Tour, known as EAST, coming up this weekend, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. You will see big yellow signs pointing the way to studios in East Asheville, Swannanoa, Black Mountain, Old Fort, and Fairview.

I asked EAST artists, "Why do you do it?" and got a variety of answers.

My own is simple: I work better with a deadline, and the studio tour and the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands -- returning in July -- keep me on my toes.

Also, the studio tours force me to clean the studio and wash the floor twice a year!

Maud Boleman, the Swannanoa potter who started EAST in 2006, said she wanted to help emerging artists find their voice. "I wanted to be a part of the art community, and the community at large," she said.

Fairview artists Cat Vibert, a photographer, and Roger Klinger, a sculptor and photographer, answered jointly, saying, "It's a great opportunity to communicate and collaborate with other artists." They love the interaction with and the enthusiasm of their visitors, they said.

Catherine Murphy, who works in metal in East Asheville, said EAST gives her the opportunity "to share with the community what we create." She added it's "a rare opportunity to spend time in our creative workspace with our supporters, who make it all possible."

Peggy Taylor, a Fairview painter said, "I think there is a myth among nonartists that what we do is easy, simple and of little value. Inviting people into your studio allows them to see the heart and soul of what you do and who you are, so they can appreciate your work more."

"I like the interaction and feedback of people," said Lyn Miller, a Black Mountain artist who makes floorcloths. "It's a great way to make something new and see if it will fly."

"I enjoy meeting new people," said Fred Feldman, a woodworker and potter in Black Mountain.

Clay artist Chiwa, of East Asheville, agreed. "Plus, the outside gets all niced up," she said. "Truthfully, I love to have a venue for my bigger and newer pieces. It is my first show of the year, and I try to work new and fresh during the December-to-now time frame."

Some of the artists took the question to mean, "Why do you create art?"

Beth Dix, painter and scratchboard artist in Black Mountain, said, "For me, being creative is like breathing. It is something I must do. I feel complete when I create. ... I feel as if I am doing what I was created to do."

We probably all agree with that, but how many of us could have expressed it so meaningfully? Fred's simple answer was, "I have been making fun things for 55 years, and just plain enjoy doing it."

Amen, Fred.

One last quote from Lyn: "It gives me a reason to make cookies." Hmmm, did she say what kind of cookies?

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