Oxford Studio Tour offers plenty of ‘artistic magic’

May 4-5 tour will feature 24 artists from throughout Oxford County

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It’s not that the 2024 Oxford Studio Tour marks an official changing of the seasons.

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But in a year during which winter hardly happened, briefly departing before an unwelcome extended return, the spring ritual provides an enjoyable jumping-off point.

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“It’s definitely a sign of the coming season,” Woodstock stained glass artist Barbara Lowik said of the May 4-5 event.

“Variety” makes Oxford’s tour stand out, said Lowik, who found inspiration in meeting and getting to know artists and the courage to join as one of this year’s first-time exhibitors.

“To know their methods and the why. Why did they do this work? What inspired them? And the answer is always different.”

Lowik’s “why” came during her initial stained-glass experience, working with colour and textures to create something “even more beautiful.”

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“It’s like magic,” she said.

The artistic “magic” as part of the 2024 tour will include stained glass, oil, acrylic and watercolour paintings, graphite, pen and ink drawings, mixed media, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, photography and digital arts, weaving, fibre arts, encaustic, collage, gourd and woodworking.

Tour patrons can expect 24 artists’ wide-ranging interpretations within those disciplines. Descriptions, along with maps, are featured in full-colour brochures available at art and tourism facilities throughout Oxford County or at www.oxfordstudiotour.ca. Red signs will lead to exhibitor locations during the tour, active from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Information is also available by calling 519-842-6151.

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The tour also marks a seasonal change from work to exhibition for many artists. Functional stoneware and decorative porcelain creator Ruth Hartley will be “emerging from hibernation” in her basement studio, said her smiling “pottery widow” husband, Bruce.

“It’s a yearly thing,” agreed pencil, watercolour and mixed media artist Margaret Charron. “In the winter. I’ve got to paint.”

Charron is also an enthusiastic gardener, and relatable to the emergence of spring flowers, she and fellow artists are pleased to showcase results from their winter productivity.

Artistic pursuits have proven deeply productive for Woodstock sculptor and ceramic artist Holly Jo. The Kiln Room Ceramic & Art Studio owner is showing support, solidarity and enthusiasm for becoming a part of the county’s vibrant creative community by joining the 2024 tour.

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Inspired by community, diversity and “and people’s stories,” Holly Jo has found teaching others also teaches herself.

“I really enjoy seeing people challenging themselves and doing something outside of their comfort zone,” they summed up.

The positive ramifications from Oxford artists envisioning connection with the public through a studio tour continue nearly two decades after its inception. Execution requires

considerable effort, concedes full-time professional Otterville-area watercolour artist, tour founder and annual exhibitor Sue Goossens.

Her gallery, just south of the community, is stocked with an extensive collection of original work inspired by vistas from across Canada, Ireland and Italy, as well as her home, Oxford County, depicted on paper and canvas. It is open year-round by appointment, but participation in the tour remains a concentrated and appreciated mutual tradition between Goossens and others in the county’s artistic community and the public.

“It’s a chance to welcome back people you have known for years and to meet new ones.”


What: The 2024 Oxford Studio Tour

Where: Various locations throughout Oxford County

When: Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information, including a map of locations, available at www.oxfordstudiotour.ca and local artistic and tourism facilities

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