Details from the 2015 Ames Area Studio Tour are below.
To find information on the current year's studio tour, please click here.
The Ames Area Studio Tour is being held with support from the City of Ames Commission on the Arts. Thanks, COTA!
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Meet The Artists
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2307 Timberland Rd., Ames
Dan received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbia College, Columbia Missouri in 1991, and majored in drawing and painting. He has been painting professionally for over 25 years.
His inspiration for his paintings comes from the beauty of everyday life. He uses acrylic paint on canvas, exaggerating colors, and altering form to create animation and energy. Although, he enjoys painting many different things, buildings are a prevalent subject matter. They are portraits of our urban and suburban landscapes, with personalities, humor, mystery, and stories to tell.
Dan’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows, and juried exhibits including Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Perlow-Stevens Gallery, Columbia Missouri; Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri; The Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, Iowa; Memorial Union, Ames, Iowa, and The Octagon Center For the Arts, Ames, Iowa. Dan’s paintings are in permanent collections; Central Methodist University Ashby-Hodge permanent collection of American Fine Art, Fayette Missouri; Columbia College, Columbia Missouri, and in private collections throughout the country.
232 Main St., Ames
Encaustic painting is the vehicle that I use to express what I have experienced. The expression of nature as the subject is poetic and not a literal interpretation. The subjects exist within the ambiguity of space or circumstance. The intention is to evoke an inexpressible longing or memory.
I grew up one block away from the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa. I am the youngest of 5 children and the first-born U.S. citizen of a German immigrant family. I dropped out of school after my first attempt at college to vagabond around Europe.
I received a BFA (1991) and an MA (1993) from Iowa State University and an MFA from Drake University (1996). I have been teaching drawing and painting at Iowa State University since 1993.
Mainly a painter, in 2002, I began experimenting with encaustic painting. Encaustic translates as, “to burn in “. It is an ancient technique (approx. 500 A.D.), which predates oil painting. The traditional medium is molten beeswax, in which pigment has been added. The wax, in its molten state, is transferred with a brush, to the surface to be painted. It solidifies very quickly.
My paintings have been exhibited widely in juried national and international venues as well as solo and invitational exhibits.
Greg Lamont / Northwood Clay Studio
CASA, 130 S. Sheldon Ave., Suite 101, Ames
My work references the Korean and Japanese folk pottery traditions and their influence on potterymaking in the last half-century. I make vessels that relate primarily to the preparation and serving of food and drink, and the beautification of one’s surroundings.
My journey in pottery began in a ceramics class during my sophomore year in college in 1972. After college, I took the occasional pottery class and eventually became a “basement potter”. In 2001, I, along with a few other local artists, had the opportunity to establish an artists’ cooperative, Creative Artists’ Studios of Ames (CASA). So, while making pots is quiet and personal experience I want to be reflected in the pots themselves, I now am also a potter in a community of potters and artists working in a variety of media and working alongside both students and peers. It is now hard to imagine myself as a solitary potter. Every day I share resources, experience, and perspective with my fellow artists. As part of a university community I’ve been given many opportunities to teach students with diverse talents and backgrounds. Teaching has let me experiment with new ideas and perspectives, challenging myself at the same time as I challenge my students.
Being a potter is a very balanced profession. As a potter I am a designer, a maker, a business owner, a laborer, a chemist, and a physicist. I love throwing, trimming, pulling handles, glazing and firing. And so… the journey begun forty years ago continues as I strive to create pottery that is fresh and alive in its form, color and surface, and performs its intended function well. I believe a substantial part of the beauty of handmade pottery lies in its use, and the pottery I create is intended to take an active part in one’s daily life. My wish is that you will incorporate my pottery as a part of your daily life and that you will sense the excitement and pleasure that I have enjoyed in making it.
Upper Story Studio / Molly Nagel
518 Broad St., Suite #3, Story City
Painting & Mixed Media Sculpture Artist
I received my BFA in Graphic Design from Iowa State University and returned to finish my MFA in Integrated Visual Art. The majority of my artwork explores themes of nature, animals and the individual spirit of the creatures we share our world with. I experiment with a wide variety of media and am always ready for an artistic challenge.
I believe strongly in striving for excellence and pursuing the things one is passionate about, and encouraging others in following their dreams as well.
Melissa Stenstrom Jewelry
507 Main St., Suite 1, Ames
Jewelry – silver, gold, gemstones & pearls
Melissa Stenstrom Fine Jewelry is a creative endeavor headed up by Melissa Stenstrom with the help of her amazing family. Melissa studied art including jewelry making while at Iowa State University, but has attributed much of her knowledge to experience. Always up for a new challenge and new skills to master, Melissa is always studying and looking for the next jewelry adventure.
"I make jewelry using silver, gold, gemstones, and pearls. I like working with a range of techniques such as anticlastic raising, forging, fabricating, casting, and engraving. I like to keep my work dynamic, so I look for new challenges and try to develop new skill sets. In addition, my own ideas, I also make custom work for a clientele interested in unique, personalized jewelry. Often, I work with recycled elements to make their pieces, such as metals or gemstones."
Stone House Woodworking / Brendan Zimmermann
1593 Xavier Ave., Ames
Woodworking – custom furniture
My grandfather was a woodworker who built beautiful things that we still use and appreciate every day. When I was very young, maybe five or six, my first “real” woodworking projects were carving wooden boats that refused to float. Grandpa Chuck traced the shape of a hull, helped my brother and me cut it out, and then he let us loose with a rasp and sand paper. Once we mastered pine boats we advanced to turning hardwood drum sticks and candle holders in his garage over summer weeks in Ohio. Since those early memories, I have never stopped building and making things. I built and remodeled houses, welded and fabricated metal, created scale models, pushed pixels as a computer modeler and animator. Now I have come full circle and have returned to creating things with wood.
As I have grown and traveled, my eyes and hands have led me to appreciate and respect the lines and proportions of the shaker style, the “truth to material” concept of the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as the simplicity of modern design. When I design a piece, I let the materials do the talking, combining shapes and textures that invite you to touch and sit.
Working as a computer modeler, I learned not only how to build things in the digital realm, but also how assemblies fit together and relate to each other. Building things digitally also provided me with a strong sense of scale. Because it is much easier to change the arc of a curve or the taper of a leg on a computer monitor than it is in the shop, I now design almost everything I build on the computer before I start cutting parts from raw lumber . It’s amazing to be able to make changes to design and joinery, and to see and share it all in three dimensions before cutting a single board.
Because I rely on my materials to show off their best properties, I put a lot of thought into the stories behind those materials and the craftspeople who make them. When available, I use materials sourced from people in my own neighborhood who take as much pride in their work as I do mine. I also like to use reclaimed or salvaged materials. Reclaiming lumber is not only better for the environment, but wood grown in a past era has properties and an appearance that you can’t easily find in some of today’s timber.
Clean lines, artful craftsmanship, a good story, and great materials are the things that I am passionate about and look forward to every day I spend in my shop. From that foundation, beautiful lasting furniture can be built.
Kristi Running Carlson
713 16th St., Ames
Painting, Drawing & Printmaking
I’ve always considered myself an oil painter and woodcut printmaker. More recently, I’ve made hundreds of small, graphite drawings of Iowa land that have won awards in regional shows. At first I used pastels or charcoal on approx. 10” square paper. Later I made 1” square drawings using mechanical pencils.
Most of my work is of Iowa land. I grew up in Decorah with an artist father and have lived in Iowa for most of my life. I look carefully at the land and record what I see, whether I’m drawing or painting. I prefer to work on location, and only occasionally work from my own photographs.
317 E. 7th St, Ames
From intuitive process drawings to immersive textile installations – an aesthetic of abundance guides my iterative studio practice. I build a material vocabulary through labor-intensive textile processes. These studies in mark making result in vibrant, expansive installations, which elicit wonder and kindle hope through color and beauty.
Using these pieces, I seek to create “filled” environments and situations that entice one to linger and ponder, enshrouding my viewers in fabric, string, and light. Through these works, I desire to ignite conversations about both the glory of God and our rich, but impermanent existence. I have always been fascinated with our transience. We are both physical and spiritual, existing within a body that grows old and eventually dies. Yet we move, we dance, we touch, we think – all things that are a far cry from dying.
The body is locus to this transitional reality – and fabric, like our skin and bodies, is fragile. It expresses the unique quality of impermanence, making it an apt material for the exploration of these ideas. Most decisions I make about my work are deeply linked to Christian theology. Yet it is my sincere hope to engage a viewer’s sense of wonder and contemplation rather than demonstrate rigid orthodoxy.
"For it is not, after all, really a question about whether you can know the unknown, arrive in it, but how to go about looking for it, how to travel."
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
2231 Storm St., Ames
Jennifer Drinkwater is an assistant professor with a split appointment between the department of art and visual culture and ISU extension and outreach. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally in juried and group shows, and she has had solo exhibitions in Iowa, New York, Illinois, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, and Washington, DC as part of the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. She has participated in several artist residency programs in Vermont, Nebraska, Illinois, New Mexico, and Minnesota. Throughout the past few years, she has partnered with communities in Iowa and Mississippi in various community art projects, programming and theatre productions. She helped to organize a community-wide steamroll printmaking event in Perry, Iowa, created installations in restored prairies in Nebraska, collaborated on public art projects in vacant sites on Iowa main streets, and painted two murals with middle school children on a juke joint in the Mississippi Delta. Her personal work and teaching have both evolved from an object-based art practice into one that seeks to explore how we bring artwork from the studio into the world, and accordingly, how this work can both build and shape community.
Ciccotti Art Glass
2306 258th St, Ames (Napier)
Art Ciccotti grew up in Southern California, married, and moved to Ames, Iowa. He attended Iowa State University and graduated as an Art and Design major with an emphasis in Art Education. While attending Iowa State, he became part of the glassblowing club, “The Gaffers’ Guild.” There he learned the basics of glassblowing. After graduating in 1987, Ciccotti built his first studio. Over the years, he attended workshops around the U.S. to learn different techniques and hone his skills as a glassblower. As years passed, Ciccotti moved to a smaller town outside of Ames and rebuilt his studio, which is now known throughout the Midwest as Ciccotti Art Glass.
I am mostly self-taught as a glassblower. Over the years I have attended workshops around the U.S., learning techniques and honing the skills that fuel my passion for this ancient craft. My current designs have roots in Venetian glass working techniques. The use of a roll up of glass (tocar pierre) allows me to put together designs that can vary from the random composition of a Garden Walk Platter to a very controlled design using cane and murrine. Bright colors and curvilinear forms are the design elements I prefer to work with. I enjoy exploring new color combinations, shapes, and functionality. As my skill level increases so does the complexity of the designs and techniques. I am not sure I can say that I have a favorite thing to make. Usually whatever I am making at the time is my favorite thing.
Making art is a passion for me. I blow glass because of the rush of seeing an object take shape from a white hot mass to a finished piece. After weeks of planning, sometimes months, the design comes together in a piece within a short period of time. It is intense! My objective is to produce a piece of work that not only is unique but that brings a sense of visual and tactile pleasure.
The theme running through my work relates to the natural world—flowers, weather, animals. My intent is not to recreate these things exactly, but to make visual reference to them. These things have a natural beauty to which we can connect.
Letitia Kenemer / Assembled Art
226 Northbrook Circle, Ames
I am a collector of objects, always searching for small items that look or feel interesting to me. I give order to discarded or forgotten items, reintroducing them to the world in a new way with a new identity. Finding ways for these treasures to interact is a constant process. Moving, rearranging, adding, subtracting…these assemblages are a work in progress until I feel that everything is in the “right” place. The search and process are just as important to me as the final piece.
Creative Artists’ Studio of Ames (CASA)
130 S. Sheldon Ave., Suite 108, Ames
Clay, Fiber, Encaustics, Metal, Paper, Ink, & Watercolor
CASA is a group of artists who work in clay, fiber, encaustics, metal, paper, ink, and watercolor. Our mission: To provide space for artists to work, to learn, and to share their expertise with the public.
Get Some Assistance--Visit the Studio Tour Headquarters
The Ames Area Studio Tour is being held with support from the City of Ames Commission on the Arts. Thanks, COTA!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)*
Where is the Ames Area Studio Tour? How does this work?
The Studio Tour is does not have a single location--instead there are participating studios throughout the Ames area. You provide your own transportation, use the map and visit one or all the studios during the open hours. Take a peek at the life of an artist!
How much does it cost to visit the studios?
You are invited to make the rounds to as many studios as you like--all for free! Artists will have their work available for purchase, so you can take home a little bit of the Studio Tour.
What will I see on the Studio Tour?
Have you ever wondered how a radio program is recorded or how a hand blown vase is made? The artists of the Studio Tour are inviting you behind the scenes to experience live demonstrations, ask questions, and see how the work is done. Ask the artists about where they get their inspiration, how they learned their craft, what they love about their work, what frustrates them, what their average day looks like, what they do when they can't seem to create and so on.
Are children welcome?
This is a family friendly event and a wonderful opportunity for children to learn. Please remember these are working studios -- children must be closely supervised at all times and parents/guardians are responsible for their children's behavior.
Are the studios handicapped accessible?
Unfortunately, many studios are in buildings with stairs. Handicapped accessible locations are noted with a symbol on the map and the descriptions above.
*Other questions? Please feel free to email us at email@example.com or jump over to the contact page. We can't wait to see you on the Studio Tour!