Kutztown Middle School art teacher Kris Tuerk and Kutztown University Professor Johanna Forte are juried craftsmen in the Hidden Treasures Artisans Studio Tour & Sale on Nov. 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuerk and Forte are among about 30 artists in the Lehigh Valley displaying and selling their artwork on the self-guided tour’s 21st anniversary. The tour features seven studios from Bethlehem to Kutztown.
“We hope that you will join us again for this unique shopping experience where you travel to various artist studios and buy directly from the artisans who created the items themselves,” posted on the tour website, www.hiddentreasurestour.com.
According to the tour website, “‘Hidden Treasures’ refers to a group of talented artists that reside and create their works in our communities and it also describes their original, exquisite creations.”
Started in 1994, Hidden Treasures was created “to showcase distinguished local artists and artisans and expose their talents to the Lehigh Valley,” according to the website.
Tour attendees are invited to visit artists in their studios, see works in progress, demonstrations, talk to artists and buy directly from them. The tour includes fibers, pottery, fused glass, carved and turned wood, hand hammered aluminum, basketry, porcelain, hand-painted silk, jewelry, stained glass, mosaics, hand knitting, hand weaving, and sculpture in various media according to the website.
Forte’s fibers art will be displayed at Studio 5 in Allentown. Her pieces include eight varying styles of aprons, constructed from vintage patterns ranging from 1920 to 1960.
“The fabrics are mostly vintage exemplifying the same time periods. Some aprons include matching pot holders,” said Forte.
There is also a Kimono, drafted from a vintage 1930s Kimono. The fabric used in construction is a vintage rayon dating back to the 1940s, she said.
“Being a Costume Designer for over 30 years has taught me a great deal about the use of vintage fabrics and vintage patterns,” said Forte in her artist statement. “As an artist of wearable garments I try to incorporate this knowledge and passion into my work.”
Her Felted Birdhouses she describes as whimmsical and functional, knit from 100 percent virgin wool then felted. “They are meant to withstand any type of weather conditions and are waterproof.”
Tuerk displays her fibers art in her Kutztown home, in Studio 7. Also showing in Studio 7 are Svetlana Howells with her sterling silver jewelry inspired by nature and Asian themes and Judith Moore who creates floor cloth painted canvas rugs.
“The final product presents complex surface textures with particular attention to design balance and movement,” writes Howells about her sculptural, organic jewelry. “(My) own conceptual approach, combining geometric lines with unexpected soft floral elements, creates surprising and bold statements for the lucky woman wearing her designs.”
Moore has been a floorcloth artist for more than 10 years.
“My designs are inspired by Roman mosaics. Recently I have been exploring geometric designs in the style of Piet Mondrian, and also producing my own designs,” writes Moore. “What is a floorcloth? It is painted canvas used as a rug. It is not a ‘mat’ or painted rug. It is a floorcloth. Washable, very durable, and beautiful art for the floor.”
Tuerk was approached by Forte, thinking she would be a good fit for this group of fine artists and craftsmen. There was a juried process with a group of about six artisans who visited Tuerk’s studio and viewed her work.
“Not only were they looking at my work but looking to see if my home would be appropriate for a studio location. Both were accepted, allowing me to feel quite secure in the art that I have been creating after so many years on hiatus due to the structure of art education, and gaining my art degrees at Kutztown University. (B.S. Art Education 1984, B. F. A. in Textiles 1994, and M. Ed Art Education 2009) and teaching for 20 years at Kutztown Area School District,” writes Tuerk.
Tuerk describes her fibers art.
“My new body of work captures the essence of my garden and how it inspires a philosophy to create visual imagery in fibers. Working physically in the garden while painting with wool through the process of wet felting is most important in my continued 30-year journey of En-Plein Air Painting (19th-century style of painting in the open air),” she writes. “But now, I have chosen to utilize the material and technique of wet felting to provide this impressionistic image of the space while creating in that space.”
Tuerk explains that Wet Felting is a medium that allows heat and friction to entangle the fibers, becoming a wooly matted textile. These pieces can be used as table runners and art pieces for the wall. She also will have Market Bags and hand crafted felted owls along with aprons for sale on the tour.
“Each piece is created within the garden that redefines and recreates. It eliminates and dissolves old patterns, while stimulating, color, texture, shape and form that come together to create something beautiful,” writes Tuerk.
“Solitude is important to me in watching the ever-changing natural environment. My garden provides and recognizes the capacity to slow down and find stillness,” she writes. “It’s seasonal and has a temperament of its own as well as a changing color palette. I have found over the years that my garden is a Restorative Niche with a path of living color that renews itself year after year, while renewing myself.”
For more information about the tour and other artists, visit www.hiddentreasurestour.com.