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June 12, 2012 > Local artists inspire at Open Studios

Local artists inspire at Open Studios

By M.J. Laird

Mission Trails Artists Open Studios happens the weekend of June 15-17, when 12 award-winners come together to display original art and gift items at two Fremont studios just off Mission Boulevard in Fremont. The garden setting show is free to the public; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Seven artists will display watercolor and mixed media paintings, digital and hand-pulled prints, photography, art quilts, painted gourds, wood-turned pieces, ceramics, hand-made paper, jewelry, wearable art and a range of gift items at the home studio of Denise Oyama Miller at 270 Tordo Court.

At 1423 Deschutes Place, the artist studio home of Cindy Sullivan, another six artists will show abstracts, pastels, silk paintings, photography, oils, metal work, handmade felted and silk scarves, soaps, jewelry, among other items.

The seeds of this art show began in 1999 when seven artists who showed their work at a local gallery came together to create an open studio show in 1999 at Sullivan's home. The next year, the all-women's group named themselves Artists 7. They picked up a few more members, and then lost a couple, sending their numbers up and down until they returned to seven.

Since their beginnings, they have expanded from one home studio on tour to two, serving refreshments and gathering a following of more than 200 family, friends, and newcomers each year. This summer event is one of four or five shows in which they participate together each year.

Given that the best transit route from the Sullivan studio to the Miller studio lies on Mission Boulevard, three years ago the show became known as Mission Trails Open Studios. While each artist is excited to show her work, there is a curiosity about fellow artists' show pieces.

"It is always exciting to see what wonderful things a creative mind can come up with. Viewing one thing triggers another idea and then another. It is like seeing and participating in the evolution of art: always changing, always growing, always expanding. The show is inspiring," says Cindy Sullivan, whose work appears on Oakland Museum's web site in "The Art of Seeing Exhibit" and at Gallery Concord. Sullivan will show a one-of-a-kind silk and wool felted scarves during the Mission Trails Artists Open Studios.

The show also draws on a diversity of artistry, with hanging art to wearable art. For some the show has become a launch pad for holiday shopping.

Judith Oyama Olson, driving down from Oregon with her artist family, raises sheep that she uses in some wool felted items. She will also show ceramic pots, porcelain buttons and gourds. Her husband, Rodney Olson, will display wood-turned bowls and lidded jars. Their daughters, Wendy and Melissa, will show mixed media paintings and ceramic sculptures, respectively.

P. Kay Hille-Hatten, associated with the Olive Hyde Gallery in Fremont, will show photography and exquisite jewelry; print maker Adriane Dedic will show Geisha prints.

In addition to her scarves, Sullivan will also display realistic watercolors and mixed media paintings. Husband-wife team, Kathy and John Reis, will feature their photography, oil painting and metal sculpture for this year's show. Susan Helmer will show silk paintings and jewelry; Francie Shaw has developed a variety of gift items, including jewelry, knitted scarves, and pin cushions. Marge Barta Atkins of Castro Valley will show mixed media abstracts, realistic watercolors, and silk scarves.

While Artist 7 has created camaraderie with travels together and a focus on art as they move across the state, working as an artist is still a solitary endeavor.

"Open Studios is a wonderful opportunity to share our artwork with the community we live in," says Denise Oyama Miller, who paints in watercolors, makes art quilts and creates art-to-wear. "It provides feedback on our artwork and offers a chance to visit with other artists, friends, and neighbors." Having offered several demonstrations and workshops prior to Open Studios, Oyama-Miller has combined mediums for mixed media collages using paper, fabric thread and paint for the show. Information on the techniques she uses often appear on her website where she has a blog:

Spend a weekend enjoying a variety of wonderful art and supporting our local artists.

Mission Trails Artists Open Studios
Friday, June 15 - Sunday, June 17
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
270 Tordo Court, Fremont
1423 Deschutes Place, Fremont

Photo Caption: Adriane-geisha: Adriane Dedic

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