For art lovers who enjoy a bit of wanderlust in their weekends, the recent Cape Ann Artisans Tour—one of the oldest tours of its kind in the country—was just the ticket. With maps in hand, many such spirits meandered a lengthy stretch of Route 127 beginning in West Gloucester and looping around Bearskin Neck, Annisquam, Lanesville, and Gloucester proper. Tucked into corners and crevices from harbor side to riverside to secret backyard gardens, were 26 artists’ studios open to curious onlookers.
In Rockport’s charming Dock Square, participating artist Pat Lowery Collins, whose moody pen-and brush paintings depict the region’s rocky shores, was as welcoming as could be. In addition to her hung works, she had set out a number of children’s books she has authored. “I used to do all the illustrations for my books, too,” said Collins, “but now I focus on my paintings and just write books.”
Moving away from the hub of Bearskin Neck—a hot bed of galleries and artisan shops—and following the map towards downtown Gloucester, tour goers hit studios along the way showcasing print seaweed silk scarves by multi-media artist Camilla MacFadyen; enchanting mosaic birdbaths made with local granite, plus jewelry and oil and pastel street scenes by Judith Wright; intricate wire sculptures and “wall drawings” by Margaret Rack; and cutting-edge, coast-inspired wood carvings by Pia Juhl Nadel—all within a walkable radius of one another.
Truth be told, there was so much to find, see, and contemplate that it is a good thing there will be another opportunity in October when artists will, once again, open their doors and share new works. Fall tour dates are October 11-13. For more information visit capeannartisans.com