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Open Studio Tour offers 'backstage view' of artists at work

Susan Barrett looks forward to showing her pottery during Open Studio Tour. Susan Barrett looks forward to showing her pottery during Open Studio Tour.

FLAT ROCK — Henderson County's Open Studio Tour this weekend links art buyers and artists in a closer setting than usual.

"It gives people the opportunity to come and see how I make my ceramics," said potter Susan Barrett, whose studio at 7 White Squirrel Lane (off Kanuga Road at Little River Road). "I display the kiln and the wheel so they see what's behind the art — a backstage view."
Although the Open Studio Tour has been around for a while, artists took it over this year and tinkered with details to make it work better, said David Vorhees, who owns Hand in Hand Gallery in Flat Rock and makes wood-fired stoneware and porcelain pottery at his studio at 2212 Green River Road in Tuxedo.
Voorhees is one of 40 artists from Mills River to Hendersonville to Zirconia who will show and tell today and Sunday.
"It's a time where the artist can have direct contact with the customer and explain the process and show the work in our own location," he said. "This is the first year the artists have actually managed the event. We've worked to perfect it and we got a little bit of sponsorship money."
The Open Studio preview party and wine reception Friday night drew a good-sized crowd to Hubba Hubba Smokehouse at Flat Rock's Little Rainbow Row, where the aroma of wood-fired pork wafted skyward, singers Terry Wetton and Angela Heatherly performed and patrons browsed tables of art and chatted with painters and potters. Folks could enter a raffle to win a painting, sculpture or pottery piece. Proceeds of the raffle went to the Backpack program run by volunteers from the Episcopal Church of St. John in the Wilderness.
Barrett, who has worked as a potter fulltime for 16 years, mingled with visitors and recalled how she got her start in art.


"I had a corporate office job from 9 to 5 and I needed a creative outlet so I started taking pottery classes at the community college," she said. "I got bit by the pottery bug and the rest is history. I'm my own boss, for better or worse."
This weekend the artists step out from the inward-focused creative process and become hosts and teachers.
"It's a very casual and relaxed atmosphere," Barrett said. "It's nice to meet the people who enjoy your work and talk to them."

The Open Studio Tour, featuring paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, fiber art and other work, is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A brochure with a map is available at the Visitors Center at 201 S. Main St. or on the web at