Local artists are part of WNC Open Studios

Barbara Hootman
Sarah Vekasi, owner of Sarah Sunshine Pottery, works in her studio creating her unique pottery.

The WNC Open Studios Tour through Oct. 16 offers art lovers a chance to see artists at work in their studios, as well as the chance to buy unique works of art.  Four Black Mountain visual artists are participating in the WNC Open Studios Tour, which started Oct. 1.

Sculptor Tekla Howachyn at Black Mountain Iron Works shows off one of her newly created pieces.

Black Mountain Iron Works, known for its hand-forged designs for homes and gardens, is again opening its studio. Dan and Tekla Howachyn, recognized artists in their fields, turn wrought iron into chandeliers and lighting fixtures, handrails and banisters, driveway gates and doors, fire screens and fire tools, pot and wine racks and garden and wall sculptures.

Dan is an iron and blacksmith artist, and Tekla creates sculptures inspired by ancient cultures and expressionism.

“We think the pen studio tour is fun,” she said.  “It gives prospective buyers a chance to see artists in the process of creating a piece.  It is also a great form of advertising.”

Sarah Vekasi at Sarah Sunshine Pottery specializes in wheel-thrown functional pottery with rich, unique glazes.  The dinnerware is food-safe and ready for the microwave and dishwasher.  Her studio is open year-round by appointment.

“The tour gives me a chance to share the magic of Black Mountain with local art enthusiasts," Vekasi said. "Studio tours are fun for me because I get to demonstrate how I throw pots and make glazes from scratch.”

Marianne Shepardson, a fused glass artist, is participating in the Open Studio Tour again this year.  Shepardson Studios creates contemporary and colorful fused glass lighting and tableware, as well as work for walls and windows.

Steve Miller, a wood artist, specializes in turned wood vessels embellished by carving, texturing, painting or burning.  He turns platters, wall hangings, hollow vessels and wood vessel sinks, wine stoppers and open bowls.