Giovanna Hesley uses Chinese calligraphy brushes for her art.
She dips them in dye, dabs off the excess and makes gentle strokes on fine silk stretched on big frames. When people say her work is pretty, she tells them it feels good, too. Some of it, after all, is clothing.
“That you can wear it is thrilling for me,” Hesley said.
Hesley’s scarves, quilts and silk paintings are just a few of the items that people will find during the Oracle Artist Studio Tour.
The tour, showcasing dozens of area artists, will feature everything from furniture to photography to encaustic wax — colored bee’s wax layered onto a surface such as wood.
Artists will welcome the public into their Oracle studios and homes for the occasion.
“We like to show off the community — get people up here,” said Sharon Holnback, an organizer. “It’s a great spot.”
The free, self-guided tour will take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5. Tour maps will be available at every stop. The first stop is Triangle L Ranch at 2805 N. Triangle L Ranch Road, off Highway 77. The Web site www.oraclestudiotour.com also has maps.
“The artists are going to have fun with this event,” Holnback said. “Instead of it being an intimidating experience for people to go to someone’s art studio, it should be really fun.”
Triangle L Ranch is expected to buzz with activity during the tour, with walks along a desert sculpture path, an eclectic mix of music spun by deejay Kidd Squidd — including pre-1920s music, jazz, punk and pop — and, on Saturday morning, a farmers market.
At other spots on the tour, artists will offer demonstrations.
Hesley will demonstrate silk painting at her studio at 1905 E. Mount Lemmon Highway, and she’ll give visitors a chance to try their hand at the art, as well.
“They will be able to mix colors on silk, do manipulations with salt, and experience the joy I feel when I put color on silk,” Hesley said.
Pottery artist Colin Budd will do wheel throwing demonstrations at 684 Campo Tranquilo Way.
Another noteworthy stop on this year’s tour is the artist community Rancho Linda Vista. The community is home to Joy Fox and Judy Stewart, who both show their work at Tucson’s Davis Dominguez Gallery; Andy Rush, founder of The Drawing Studio on Fourth Avenue in Tucson; and other prolific artists.
Items for sale will range from $10 to $10,000 and will include ironwork for home and garden, watercolors and oils, prints, mixed-media works, clay pottery and sculpture, mosaics, jewelry, handcrafted woodwork, painted furniture, custom stained glass, photography and handmade note cards.
Many stops will feature work by more than one artist. Most of the artists hail from Oracle, but some will drive in from as far as Mammoth and Tucson.
“It should feel like a welcoming environment,” Holnback said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm on everybody’s part about sharing what they do.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Oracle Artist Studio Tour
WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5
WHERE: Artist studios, homes and businesses in Oracle