NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 8, 2012

Afternoon for the arts

Open Studio Tour draws bigger, younger crowds

For several years, Jensi Rogers has been watching the crowds come through her doors of the Amesbury Open Studio Tour.

And Rogers, who owns Crafters Quarters at 428 Main St. with ceramics artist Marc Lisle, has noticed two big changes.

“More people are coming from farther away, we’ve got a much bigger reach,” Lisle said. The tour, which is sponsored each year by the Amesbury Cultural Council, is also drawing more younger faces, she added.

During the tour, set for Saturday and Sunday, artists in 13 studio spaces and galleries around the city will open their doors to the public. Artists will be on hand to answer questions, talk about their pieces and explain more about their mediums and crafts. Various musicians will also perform.

The annual tour begins at the Amesbury Cultural Center in the Upper Millyard. Participants can pick up a map of the tour stops and a schedule of events at the center, which will also have activities throughout the day, including raffles and a cookie-decorating table for children.

A textile artist with a focus on quilting, Rogers was introduced to art during her childhood. Her mother is a fine arts professor at a university. Drawn to work with fabric due to its versatility, she said she enjoys the challenges that come with the craft. When working with fabric, you can’t scrape it off and start again when a project goes off course, she said.

“You have to work within it,” she said.

Rogers said her studio seems to be getting the attention of young adults, who are becoming more interested in crafts with the emerging “maker movement” that promotes a “do-it-yourself” attitude. With the creation of websites like Etsy and Pinterest, where artists of all levels display their handmade projects, and television shows like “Project Runway,” a fashion show where contestants compete to create the best clothes, more people are becoming inclined to pursue their creative sides, she said.

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