Monday, November 15, 2010

One more studio

Actually the first studio that we visited on Saturday, but I have saved Steve Grice's studio for a post of its own.

When we pulled out the brochure and map for the Studio Tour on Saturday morning we were trying to decide which artists to visit, based on what looked the most interesting and knowing we probably wouldn't make it to all of them. Honestly, metal sculpture made from recycled metal was not high on my list, but we looked at the map, said "Gee, this is actually pretty close to our house and it could be good..." so that is where we started.

We headed up Cooper Mountain in the fog and mist and came to the Open Studio sign next to a graceful archway over a narrow dirt road that wound back into a motley collection of old farm buildings.

As we found the area marked "parking" I looked around and could see no signs of people. We got out of the car, tentatively, and suddenly a woman burst out of the back door of the house. "Oh, gosh! Nobody greeted you! Welcome! The artist is around here somewhere—I'm his wife." She hurried down the porch steps and guided us toward an ancient little outbuilding that serves as the gallery. Inside we found the work of Steve Grice.  Wonderful, whimsical metal sculptures of fish and birds and trees and full scenes of a wharf, with buildings and boats and water.I have seen a lot of this kind of rusty metal work, mostly at garden shows and craft festivals. Steve's work is really a cut above all that. He has an eye for pattern and line and humor and detail and the skill to create beautifully crafted works, made mostly from old oil tanks.

Steve Grice soon joined us and asked if we'd like to see his barn and workshop and we followed him through the mist to a huge barn filled with what he called his "antiques." There were old pinball machines and ancient hand crank washing machines and antique appliances and toys and farm equipment and furniture. "I like old stuff," he said in his quiet, understated way.

He showed us his studio, where he cuts and finishes the artwork and took us down into its basement to see his collections of tools and pieces and parts of whatever you can imagine. "I really like those old shower heads," he said, waving toward a wall displaying dozens of them.

Another small building held his collection of chains and pulleys and metal rods and straps.

I love how the corner of that porch is supported by a pile of rocks. That's the gallery.

As we wandered from building to building a big turkey and some chickens followed us and we passed emu and sheep and horses in fenced enclosures. The views in every direction were of misty vistas of tall trees and rolling fields. The cluster of old buildings houses a life filled with art and animals and children (8, he told us) and a lifetime of collecting. He seemed like a happy man. Our last stop was a tour through the old farmhouse and more of his art.

I was so glad we decided to visit. It was a little bit magical.


  1. Thanks for sharing the magic.

  2. Beautiful sculpture... reminds me of Peter Beerits gallery at the "Nervous Nellies Jams and Jellies" location in Deer Isle, Maine... lots of outdoor sculpture and a wonderful location in which to view them. I'm finding more inspiration OUTSIDE of the quilting world lately to bring to my artwork... glad to see that others do that, too.

  3. That looks like a wonderful place to visit! It's discoveries like that that make those studio tours so fun. He looks like a fun artist to know!

  4. All those lovely chains - I just want to rust dye with them!

  5. Wow, that does look like a wonderful place.