The Toe River Arts Studio Tour will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 6–8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all days. Artists across Mitchell and Yancey counties will open their studios for the self-guided tour. Additionally, a Toe River Arts Studio Tour exhibition is on display at the Spruce Pine Toe River Arts Gallery through the end of the year. A meet-the-artists reception will be held Friday, December 6, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at the gallery.
Wood and metalworker Mark Woodham, whose studio is located in Burnsville, will be featured on the tour. “I enjoy being part of the fellowship and community that Toe River Arts provides, and I also consider it a privilege and honor to be included in such a prestigious organization,” he says. “It’s impressive that Toe River Arts has more artists per capita regionally than any other tour and that it’s so well organized.” Woodham uses no stains or paints on his wood and metal, keeping it as true as possible to its natural state. “I enjoy transitioning the materials in ways I’ve never seen,” he says. “I think that people enjoy the creativity and freshness of my work.”
Also in Burnsville, Richie Crowder will open his instrument studio, Crowder Guitars. Crowder says he’s usually working on an instrument while people visit his shop, which provides a fascinating insight for instrument lovers. “The art of lutherie is not just about building new instruments or new instrument design,” Crowder says. “Just as important is the repair and restoration of instruments. It’s a great feeling to be able to build someone a brand new guitar that they’ll enjoy for years, but just as satisfying is being able to repair or restore an old family instrument for someone whose family had enjoyed it for years before them. It’s important to preserve that heirloom for the future generations.”