The 701 Center for Contemporary Art has lined up 45 artists willing to open their private studios next weekend – so many that we took the liberty of picking 10 “can’t miss” addresses, just to give explorers an idea of the diversity of offerings.
Need a full listing and map? See www.columbiaopenstudios.org.
A decade in the making, Ellefson has finally finished his home and studio at 1001 Huger St. in the Vista, a neighborhood he calls The New Frontier.
He’s looking forward to showing off his live/work space as much as his latest artwork.
“It has a light industrial feel, mixed in with a modern style and Bohemian spirit,” he said. “I call my house Bohemian modern. Isn’t it catchy?”
As for his art, Ellefson has been working on new designs for his trademark lamps. He’s also got some fun robots and robot heads.
Nora Floyd & Ruth Bayard
The longtime friends create handbags, necklaces and earrings using vintage materials they pick up at flea markets and antique malls. They especially love Cracker Jack charms.
“We have tons of stuff,” Bayard said. “We’re both military kids and our mothers spent our childhood throwing out everything. We have it all now; it’s all back.”
Their workshop and studio, A Checkered Past, is at 2930 Devine St. in Columbia, right behind Momo’s restaurant.
For 20 years, she has worked in a second-floor studio at 2065 Blossom St., overlooking Harden Street in Five Points.
Gilkerson said it’s got good vibes, with a Buddhist center next door, familiar shopkeepers nearby and connection to Columbia’s favorite sons, Hootie & The Blowfish.
In the run-up to Open Studios, Gilkerson has been doing a series of daily paintings of local landscapes. “Every now and then, a still life will creep in,” she said, “but mostly landscapes.” From the small pieces, she’ll develop larger ones – paintings of places that will be familiar in experience, if not detail.
His whole house is a studio, with different rooms dedicated to different mediums.
Primarily a painter, Mahoney also draws and creates small books of original photographs. Right now, he’s working on a series of realistic paintings of landmarks: the Rosewood Dairy Bar, Zesto’s and the Shawgate Pawn Shop just this side of Sumter.
Known mostly as a carpenter, Mahoney is one of several new artists coming to Open Studios this year. He works out of his home at 607 Deerwood St. in Rosewood.
This will be a working weekend for Parise, who will demonstrate printmaking for guests in his basement studio at 280 Tombee Lane in the Kings Grant subdivision.
“It’s very interesting to watch the process,” he said.
Parise tends to make large pieces, and he is working now on a collage made from leftover mat board. “Artists work with materials they have on hand,” he said.
Kings Grant is at Fort Jackson Boulevard and I-77, just before you hit the gates to the military reservation.
Soule is one of eight artists who joined together to open Studio Carlisle at 3146 Carlisle St., behind the landmark Christine Building along Millwood Avenue, a couple of years ago.
Now, their art space forms part of a core of studios, galleries, antiques and interior design firms that have congregated around and along Carlisle Street.
Soule, a watercolorist, gets energy from being part of a creative community. “Seeing what other people do, and getting criticism and encouragement from them, keeps me going.”
Stone’s car restoration work evolved into what he calls “hot rod furniture” – lamps, benches, tables.
“Right now, I’m making a couch out of the back of a ’51 Buick,” he said. And restoring a tractor.
When he got divorced in 2005, Stone wanted to switch to modern furniture so he started making it, mostly out of raw steel. He’ll have about 60 pieces on display at his studio, Cartoys Kustoms, 1419 Carnes St., just off Two Notch and Pine Belt roads.
One of the most popular stops along the tour, Thee’s home along Rockyford Lake is filled with his own artwork, the best known being his tromp l’oeil paintings.
Last year, 500 visitors trooped through the studio at 6196 Eastshore Road during Open Studios weekend. He arranged for hosts to show them the house in groups of 10, and plans to do the same this year.
Thee’s paintings create such illusions that one – a painted nest in a high corner of the living room – even fooled a bird that accidentally flew into the house. “Pretty good,” said Thee, who has a snapshot to prove it.
Mary Elliott Williams
Williams does portraits in pastels and oils primarily, but her works begin with a sketch.
“I have a north light window, and I do a pencil sketch ... to make sure I have the right idea of what the customer wants,” she said. “So I have some sketches to show.”
In addition, visitors will enjoy the beauty and hospitality of her home near the Saluda River at 1044 Hope Ferry Road in Lexington. “It’s quite a lovely drive,” she said, “and I’ll have light refreshments: fruit and cheese and cookies.”
Ellen Emerson Yaghjian
Working in copper, Yaghjian creates pieces to go on stands or hang on walls – or gurgle in the garden.
“I have a couple of fountains here,” she said.
Though she designs site-specific work, she’s bringing a couple of large-scale fountains to her courtyard at 2705 Lee St. in Old Shandon so people can see what she’s done. There are smaller pieces, too, that go inside or out.
Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.