Fiber artist Karen McInturff has been working with felt for as long as she can remember.
When people come to her studio each year for ARTrails, she invites them to stay and make a small piece of felt.
The process takes 20 to 30 minutes.
“I think they’re fascinated by how quickly they can take all that fuzzy stuff and put it in water, shake it for a few minutes and have them feel how it starts to change and all those fibers start to stick together and before you know it you have a soft piece of felt,” said McInturff. “And that’s always fun and then they want to decorate so we get out the felting needles and decorate if they wish to, or put a design on it and children especially like it.”
Making felt is just one of the ways to experience art at this year’s 16th annual ARTrails. The studio tours will be held Sept. 15 to 16 and 22 to 23. The event takes place over two weekends to give participants time to see every artist.
ARTrails is a free event and is open to all ages. A map is available at http://www.artrailsofsww.org/ studio-tour/.
The event starts with a gala reception at the Exhibition Gallery at the Centralia Train Depot. From there, the map guides participants to each open studio, where an artist will be waiting to show off their work. Various types of art will be represented, such as watercolor painting, wood carving, jewelry, photography, beading and instrument production, just to name a few.
McInturff has been a part of ARTrails since it started in 2003. She works on her fiber art every day and her larger pieces can take up to two months to make. She makes patterns and landscapes, but really enjoys the figures she creates.
Thirty-eight artists have been working to prepare pieces for this year and almost half will offer demonstrations or lessons during the open tours.
Marcy Anholt is a stained glass and mosaic artist who started with ARTrails in 2011. At her in-home studio she will be demonstrating her work on a mosaic mural for River Bend Pet Center, as well as a stained glass window she is making for a church. The glass she will be using for the window was donated to her and is from the 1900s.
Her projects can take up to three weeks, or longer, to make and can range from 1 foot to 5 or 6 feet. Anholt said she likes ARTrails because she gets to create the images people have in mind and show them her work that’s for sale. She has created animals, landscapes, people and plants.
Anholt said she also likes the way ARTrails brings in the community.
“I like the map and that I can send people to the next spot,” Anholt said. “So I’ll say don’t forget to keep going to see Stuart.”
Along with allowing local artists to showcase their craft, ARTrails also gives scholarships to students. Last August, Hannah Berg, studying art at Centralia College, was the fifth annual scholarship recipient. People can also donate to the event on ARTrails’ website.
For more information go to http://www.artrailsofsww.org.