Art lovers enjoy the studio tour in Chico on Oct. 16. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Creativity oozed from each location as we made our way along the self-guided 32nd annual Open Studios Art Tour in Chico last weekend.

The level of detail, the professionalism, the originality all were on display in various mediums. Photography, mixed media, paintings, drawings, clay, sculpture, glass, fiber, furniture, and jewelry were all available for purchase.

Participants could visit 39 locations throughout the city. Driving to areas new to me was part of the fun. In this way it became a bit of an architectural tour.

A clay outdoor planter created by William Flake. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Two artists in particular stood out to me. The first was William Flake, whose specialty is clay. The kiln in the back yard was impressive it itself. His work, well, was exquisite. Clearly he has been doing his craft for years. (His garden made feel like I was back in Baja with all the desert plants; it was artwork in itself.)

Next was the work of Don Bravo. The bench mom and I were taken with was already sold. We are hoping to commission him to build us a similar bench. It was that wonderful. The combination of using a slab of wood from the Camp Fire in Paradise and metal work using the Hooker Oak as a design element grabbed us both for a variety of reasons. We have the perfect spot for it.

Events like this provide a rare opportunity to meet the artist and possibly see where he or she lets the creative juices flow.

What stood out was the individualism of the art. It’s easy enough to buy something that is mass produced without heart. But it’s so much more special to have a few original pieces. It’s fun to now have some local art in our home, and have created memories from the shared experience of the art tour.

The studio tour is the Chico Art Centers’ major annual fundraiser. Since becoming a nonprofit in 1956 the center’s goals have been to “foster and promote the visual arts. The intent now, as always, is to help the community appreciate the importance of visual art in our society.”

The studio art tour continues Oct. 23-24. Tickets are $15, which were good for both weekends. For more info, go online.

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