Studio tour gives community an inside look

MARIETTA – Artist Kate Mulligan of Marietta is truly one of a kind.

And, so is each piece of her jewelry.

Mulligan, 61, designs and creates her bejeweled accessories.

“I create it and never make it again,” Mulligan said. “I always engrave an ‘MS’ on the back for Mulligan Stew Jewelry.”

That way, she can tell if something has been copied if she sees a familiar piece somewhere.

Mulligan and about a dozen other artists took part in the second annual Artists Studio Tour on Sunday at Riverside Artists Gallery, 219 Second St., and other studios in Washington County and Parkersburg.

Mulligan said when she retired from an information technology job, she needed a hobby. She tried one thing after another. Eventually, she found a beat-up bag of beads and an old book.

That was about four years ago, and there’s been no stopping her ever since.

Bill Lyons, 62, of Williamstown, is a volunteer at Riverside Artists Gallery.

“A lot of people have come in, asked questions and signed up for art classes,” Lyons said.

Lyons and Mulligan said all the tickets had been sold for the event. The gallery already is planning the third annual studio tour for 2014.

Also retired, Virginia Killian, 68, of 3407 Packard St., Parkersburg, said the tour seemed to be successful.

“We had quite a few,” Killian said. “We had a lot of people in and out. It was encouraging.”

A retired art educator for Wood County Schools, she describes herself as a busy person. Killian works in paint, some ceramics and mixed media sculpture.

“I just make stuff,” Killian said. “I have always done it. It’s a way I communicate a lot better than words.”

Another stop on the artists tour Sunday afternoon was REsolve Studio, 332 Franklin St., in Marietta.

The studio features work from a growing number of local artists, including Geoff Schenkel, Alice Stewart and Todd Morrow.

Schenkel has been an artist for several years, having created the Harmar and Wakefield murals in Marietta. He said the starting point for many of their works is found objects.

“Even when it relates to a photograph, often it is the starting point for other art work,” Schenkel said.

The large painting he was working on Sunday featured a photograph of a small garden next to his home at 214 Putnam Ave. and the painted environment on canvas several feet tall and wide.

Morrow had created a sculpture of a hand in a manacle, for which he won a national award. Stewart photographed the sculpture, and Parkersburg artist Michelle Watters transferred the photograph to a piece of cloth. The cloth then will be part of an upcoming exhibit.

“That’s a good example of how we cross-fertilize our work,” Schenkel said. “We feed off each other’s ideas.”

The artists at REsolve also are preparing for a show at the Majestic Galleries in Nelsonville.

“They have figured out you can’t just make it in Marietta,” said Jane Ryals, 70, of Marietta, who also sews items she sells at Riverside Artists Gallery.