Discover Talented Artists During Hidden in the Hills


Arizona largest and longest-running artist studio tour, the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour and Sale, returns for a 23rd consecutive year during the last two weekends of November (Nov. 22–24 and Nov. 29 – Dec.1). A signature event of the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, the free, self-guided tour takes place from 10am to 5pm at 47 private studios throughout the scenic Desert Foothills communities of Carefree, Cave Creek and North Scottsdale.

Phoenix gourd artist Jan Downey and Gold Canyon mixed media/paper artist Karen O’Hanlon are two of 199 artists participating in the popular tour. While their art is very different, both are inspired by remote cultures and countries they have visited.

The first gourd Downey fell in love with was in Ethiopia. At the time, she was working as a cultural anthropologist with the National Museum of Ethiopia, helping them with their ethnographic collection.

“It was a gourd used by women in the very hot, remote desert to carry butter, and I was struck by how even a utilitarian object was designed and embellished,” Downey said.

A Chicago native who moved to Arizona from the Midwest, she was always fascinated by the multitude of ways humans have expressed their creativity.

“Humans have used gourds from prehistoric times as containers, dippers, bowls, spoons, tools and even musical instruments. Their many versatile shapes and sizes lend themselves to utilitarian service, but also makes them a great medium for artists,” she said.

After she retired, she devoted her time to creating unique gourd sculptures. She uses a variety of processes in her design work including pyrography, carving, painting with acrylics and ink dyes, and embellishing with natural materials.

Downey, who will exhibit her work at Judith Freeze’s Studio #46 in Cave Creek, has been working on a new series called, “The Village it Takes,” a play on the phrase, “It takes a village.”

O’Hanlon is the designer of Japanese paper miniature kimonos created in the same detailed fashion as full-sized traditional robes. Each is unique because the kimonos have the appearance of fabric, but they are actually paper. The high-quality papers are made by master craft artisans in Japan using traditional as well as modern tools and techniques.

As a regular visitor to Japan during her career as an international flight attendant, she became fascinated with Japanese paper art.

“I was fortunate to meet and study traditional Japanese paper arts under a master sensei, Yuriko Kodama,” O’Hanlon said.

It took O’Hanlon five years to master the art of the paper kimono. The exquisite and unique kimonos are constructed using kozo (mulberry paper) featuring popular designs from the Edo period (1600–1868).

“I use two types of kozo. One is chiyogami, which is decorated with brightly colored, woodblock-printed patterns. The other is yuzen, which includes patterns based on traditional silkscreen designs derived from the silks of the Japanese kimono,” she said.

During Hidden in the Hills, O’Hanlon will exhibit her work at Beth Zink’s Studio #27 in Cave Creek.

For complete details about the 2019 Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour and Sale, call 480.575.6624 or visit www.hiddeninthehills.org.

 

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